Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – I is for Iggy and Lou

CamIt was probably this 1972 Mick Rock photo (Pictured below) that first alerted me to Lou Reed. I would have been 13 at the time and I imagine it appeared in Rock Scene or Creem! magazine. It may have been my first real impression of Iggy Pop as well, just being in the company of David Bowie made them both cool in my eyes. At that point I didn’t know who the Velvet Underground was and I didn’t own a Stooges record. Like any great artist Bowie led me to many others.

This photo, and many great others by Mick Rock are on display at the Templar Hotel in Toronto until November 26th. I have seen the free show and it is well worth twenty minutes of your time. The ultra-cool hotel is located at 348 Adelaide Street West just west of Peter.

Lou Iggy and David

Once again it was a sad week for rock’n’roll. Last week Facebook started working overtime on the sudden passing of local guitarist Mark Gibson. I met Mark quite a few times but I Mark Gibsonwould not say we were friends, although I am sure we would have been if we spent more time together. He was a dear friend to friends of mine, and is married to the amazing Helen Lee. He played with legendary local punk band Trigger Happy, Monster Voodoo Machine and, more recently, and along with Helen, Brooklyn Fletcher. My heart goes out to Helen and everyone who ever shared a stage with Mark.

It was on Twitter last Sunday morning when I first started to read about the passing of Lou Reed. After cross-checking a few legitimate sites it quickly became apparent the Lou had indeed died. It was not a complete shock with his Lourecent medical problems but it was still sad. It took me a long time to appreciate the entire volume of Lou’s work but there is no denying that he changed the face of rock. For anyone under the age of about 45 he might be known as the guy who made the weird album with Metallica or who had that golden oldie about giving head while the coloured girls sang.

Lou Patti and LesterI used to love to read Lester Bangs (L. with Patti Smith and Lou) write about Lou. Lester was obsessed and loved to antagonize him and I think the converse was true as well. The first Lou Reed album I bought, and what to this day I consider the greatest live album ever recorded was “Rock’n’Roll Animal”. In fact, I Lou Rock and Roll Animalwrote about that album right here at DBAWIS a few years back. When I put together the “50 4 50” compilation for my 50th birthday the celebration of the 50 songs that meant the most to me kicked off with “Intro/Sweet Jane” from the very same live album.

Metal Machine MusicOf course being the consummate record snob at high school, and always striving to have the most obscure record collection, I had to rush out and buy “Metal Machine Music” the day it was released. For the uninitiated it was a double album of nothing but grating white noise that was Lou’s way of saying “up yours” to his record company. This is a tactic that Neil Young and Graham Parker would also use but in a much more melodic way. One night, just so at times like these I could say I did, I listented to all four sides in their entirety. I will never get that hour or so back but I am glad I did it.

As with many great artists I heard a lot of Lou’s work as interpreted by other artists. “White Light/White Heat” came to me via David Bowie (with Lou) and I was introduced to Lou and Bowie“All Tomorrows Parties” by Japan. In all honesty I still prefer these versions to the originals as they were the ones that touched me first. I am sure that a whole generation feels the same way about the Nirvana version of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World”, sometimes the first hearing of a cut is the deepest.

I never had the chance to meet Lou and I am not sure I would have wanted to. He always scared me with his intellect and it is well documented that he did not suffer fools, or record company guys. I have been fortunate enough to meet the other two characters in the Mick Rock photo, and, if you would have told the 13 year old me that I would ever happen I would have shot chocolate milk out of my nose. Both of my conversations with Bowie were equally unreal and entertaining. I would love to have a recording of those conversations as I can hardly recall what we spoke about.

Iggy and Lou Creem MagazineI met Iggy (with Lou reading Creem Magazine) twice very briefly and other than a handshake and an autograph not much was said. In 2007 Iggy and I spoke over the phone for a close to an hour about the Stooges album “The Weirdness”. It may be the most entertaining interview I ever did. I wrote the story for Gasoline Magazine and, because of the timing of the interview, I needed to do it on a speaker phone at 6 PM from my office at XM Radio. After the interview my eavesdropping boss at the time Stephen Tapp commented that it was one of the coolest conversations he has ever heard.

sparksAs time marches on we lose so many of the artists who inspired and entertained us. Writing about them will keep their memories alive and hopefully inspire a whole new group of musicians much like the Velvet Underground did. If you are a fan of an artist make sure you support them when they perform live as you never know if they will be on a stage near you ever again. Wild horses won’t be able to keep me away from the Sparks performance this Saturday night at Lee’s Palace.

Lou Reed

Lou sez: “See ya ‘Round”

In honour of Iggy here are ten songs, other than “Lust For Life”, that you need to hear.

“Wild America” –

“Sixteen” –

“Raw Power” –

Candy” ––TA

“Real Wild Child (Wild One)” –

“Kick It” (With Peaches) –

“Pumpin’ For Jill” –

“The Passenger” –

“1969” –

“I Wanna Be Your Dog” –

Also, as today is Halloween, here is my October 31st playlist from a couple of years ago.

Freaks Come Out At Night Ed. Note: Most of these can be found on YouTube

“I Want Candy” (Bow Wow Wow)”, “Everyday Is Halloween” (Ministry), “Dead Man’s Party” (Oingo Boingo), ‘Ghost Town” (The Specials),  “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” (David Bowie), “Is There A Ghost” (Band Of Horses), “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (Bauhaus), “Weighty Ghost” (Wintersleep), “The Freaks Come Out at Night” (Whodini), “Vampire Rock” (The Fabulous Poodles), “Nightmares” (Flock Of Seagulls)and, for Alex, ‘Fairies Wear Boots” (Black Sabbath).


Cam’s column appears every Thursday

The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll are proud to be presented by The Bovine Tiki Bar. The bar and BBQ opens daily at 4 PM and the BBQ rocks until 10 PM. Cocktails available after 10. Time is running out to hit the patio so the sooner the better. If it is cold or rainy plant yourself at The Rock Lobster Food Co. in the former home of the late great Shanghai Cowgirl.

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DBAWIS ButtonCameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener,  The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

3 Responses to “Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – I is for Iggy and Lou”

  1. Hi, I liked your article. As someone who is old enough to remember Lou reed, but young enough not to know him…thanks for pointing to the Avenue. 🙂

    • Gary Stewart Says:

      Iggy rules. Did a couple of shows in the mid 80`s on the Party LP and Zombie Birdhouse tour. Iggy was still playing hard. Killer band. Clem Burke, Ivan Krawl , Carlos Alomar, Frank Infante et al. Got to hang with the posse as I was driver, buyer and a fan. Long John Baldry showed up at the gig and Jimmy was more than happy to throw his arm around my shoulders and introduce me to John as “this is my promoter man”. Teaser. Iggy hits the stage and out comes his cock waving to the audience. Smoking intense show with Iggy baiting the audience all night. Halloween no less. Nash opened. Still got the set list somewhere. When John Huey from FBI pitched me the date I could not believe it. Iggy Pop ? The real Iggy Pop? Great days when you could fly Peoples Express to NYC for $37.50 out of Buffalo go meet an agent as a 23 year old University buyer and actually get the show. Hail to the Ig.

  2. Smitty Smitro Says:

    Terrific article. Thanks for the memories.
    I look forward to reading your future posts.
    A friend of Radio Daryl Vickers.

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