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Transformer, by Victor Bockris

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Lou Reed has used his songwriting and sociopathic P.R. persona to tell the world more than anyone could have wanted to know about a middle-class Jewish kid from Long Island who just happened to revolutionize rock’n'roll. So why does the world need another soon-to-be remaindered rock-bio?

Two reasons. One: Reed changed his personalities more often than his underwear, contradicting himself and opening as many mysteries as he solved. Two: Victor Bockris has done a damn fine job of playing Boswell to Reed’s drugged-out bisexual Dr. Johnson. Collating endless reviews, interviews, and other views of Reed’s life and work, Bockris has used his considerable literary skill to form a coherent, insightful narrative from Reed’s often incoherent chaos of a life.

Bockris has an authorial voice that’s lively yet restrained; his writing takes a back seat to the biography, but his brisk style and intelligence are worthy of Reed, America’s most literary rock star. Rock journalism needs a Victor Bockris almost as much as rock music needs a Lou Reed.

About Sean Cunnison Scott

  • HW Saxton

    This book was a really fascinating read.
    Lou comes across exactly as you would
    expect. For better and worse. Definitely
    he won’t be going down in music history
    as one of nicest guys in the biz.He may
    be one of the most interesting though.

    This book is best when read in tandem w/
    “Up-Tight:The Velvet Underground Story”
    also written by Victor Bockris.There is
    plenty of insight on both Lou & The V.U.
    that compliment each other well in both

  • Jim Carruthers

    One of the key reasons Bockris’ books on Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground give an insider’s feel is because he was an insider at the Warhol Factory and the New York scene they came out of.

    Contrast with his bio of Keith Richards, which is rather dull, and is mostly a chronology without much insight or feel.