Sad news to report today as one of Rock's genuine pioneers has died at the age of 71. It would take at least two decades for the fruits of his influence to fully sprout, but Lou Reed pioneered so much when The Velvet Underground screeched waves of black noise across the Technicolor psychedelic late-sixties years. Someone may have eventually taken the initiative to invent punk, Goth, alternative, indie, and noise rock had Lou Reed and his band not helped do it first, but we'll never need to speculate about that since they most certainly did. In an age of legends, giants, and gods, The Velvet Underground are still something that not everyone might agree The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, and even Dylan and Hendrix still are: cool. And with his anti-hippie cropped hair, black duds, icy talk-sing style, and shocking tales of junkies, hookers, dealers, and death merchants, Lou Reed embodied that cool more than any of his band mates. He'd go on to a solo career that may never have quite lived up to the greatness of his work with the Velvets but was very often tough, challenging, and beyond the scope of popular tastes. And when he was done crushing your skull with Metal Machine Music, he'd put it back together again with songs like "Perfect Day" or "Vicious" or "Sweet Jane" that reveal the craftsman always lurking behind the outré hipster's shades.
We're still waiting to find out the specific cause of death, but Reed had a liver transplant last May and was reportedly "dying" at the time. So long, Lou Reed. You made the world a darker and cooler place.