Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
FICTION (based on a true story)
on 5 April 2015
The author clearly dislikes Lou Reed and paints him in a very bad light. That's fine. From what I've read over the years, Lou Reed was not the nicest person in the world. That said, Brokris relentlessly compares Reed to reptiles within the covers of his book and frequently utilizes other similar and ridiculous similes. Was that necessary to make your point, Victor? There are ways of portraying an unsympathetic character without name-calling, which this book too frequently relies upon. Oh, so Lou Reed is "lizard-like" eh? He must be a bad man.
And it gets worse... made up quotes abound within the covers of this book. Bockris frequently puts quotes around statements supposedly made throughout Lou Reed's career. Thing is, how would he know what was said behind closed doors between Reed and his friends and acquaintances at Syracuse University in 1962? How can you quote a college friend when said friend died long before this book was written? Certainly, Reed himself did not provide Bockris with these lines. Needless to say, all of the quotes further paint Reed in a bad light, but since the sources are not given, one can only conclude these were made up by Bockris to further his agenda of discrediting Lou Reed. On my "favorite" page, Bockris states in December of 1971, Reed was a "chubby 30-something" and later on that same page, "fat" ...hmmm... for starters, Reed was 29-years-old in 1971 and photographs from that time indicate he was as thin as ever. There is so much made-up crap in this book that if there are indeed some actual facts included, one would never know. You cannot trust a word. Even if Bokris was right, what does Reed's age and weight have to do with his music?
There are also other numerous inaccuracies. One of countless examples is with regards to the Scepter version of the first Velvet Underground album, which Bockris states was the exact same version that was eventually released on Verve records. Such wasn't the case, but Bockris doesn't seem to care too much about getting it right. Instead, this book is nothing more than an attempt to sensationalize Lou Reed's career and if facts get in the way, he makes up his own. FYI... the Scepter version of The Velvet Underground and Nico album had multiple alternate takes and mixes, but why bother doing the research, right, Mr. Bockris? Obviously he never heard the Scepter version, so why he did comment on it when he had no idea?
Yet another complaint: This book gives an uninformed reader the impression that Lou Reed was a pretty talentless individual overall. The first two Velvet Underground albums were only good because of the collaboration with John Cale... the second two because of manager, Steve Sesnick... Transformer because of David Bowie... Rock N Roll Animal because of Steve Hunter... ad nauseum. Seriously Victor?! It never crossed your mind that these famous albums had something else in common that had nothing to do with collaborators? They were all Lou Reed albums.
I was going to give this trash 2 stars because it is fun to read. Victor Bockris is a fine fiction writer. The name-calling, totally made-up quotes and numerous inaccuracies makes Transformer nothing more than a fiction. So I almost gave it 2 stars for entertainment value, but couldn't in the end because the lies (one or more per page x 400+ pages) are just too numerous to justify it. This is truly an awful book. Unfortunately, some of the previous reviewers took it seriously.
Also unfortunate is the fact that there is not so much as one recent, detailed and unbiased account of Lou Reed's career available. Most, including this garbage, date to the 1990s and none really seem to get it right. That even includes the ones that gush over Reed, heaping praise and hiding the warts. That's not good journalism either. There's a new book entitled "Lou Reed: The Life" published 2 months after his death which indicates the thing was an apparent rush job to capitalize on Reed's recent death. Perhaps someday someone will pen a fair and comprehensive title regarding what was perhaps the most important musical career of the 20th century.