Ben Sisario of The New York Times recently conducted an interview with members of METALLICA and legendary former VELVET UNDERGROUND frontman Lou Reed about their musical collaboration, “Lulu”. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The New York Times: Did you ever think this was a crazy, oil-and-water combination, or did you feel that it was going to work?
Lou Reed: Never thought that. Always thought it was going to work. I sent the guys examples of the idea: “Here’s this thing I want to do.” I did a version of it for Bob Wilson at the Berliner Ensemble Theater. There’s this idea I’ve had almost forever of something I wanted to do, but it required a certain ability I didn’t have at the time for singing, and a certain kind of sophisticated rock muscle in back of it that wouldn’t truncate it. So I sent it to Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer] and James [Hetfield, METALLICA frontman] and said, “What do you think? Could we take a crack at this? Because in my head it works and I know we can do this.” And they came right back saying, “Absolutely,” and that was that. I never doubted for a second. No one would go to the trouble of failing.
Lars Ulrich: There was no question. This goes back two years to the awesome experience we had at Madison Square Garden. Lou turned around and in his goodbyes he said, “Let’s make a record together, let’s do this again.” There was no question; this has been lingering since that night.
The New York Times: That was the origin: “Let’s do a record?”
Lars Ulrich: Yeah. We had to finish our “Death Magnetic” endeavor around the globe a couple times, but this goes back to those awesome three days we had in New York in ’09 at Madison Square Garden.
Lou Reed: We knew then. No missing it. Takes one to know one, that kind of rock. You need people who love rock. So studio musicians — that’s gone — and 99 percent of the players these days don’t really like rock. They like pop, but not rock. Not what I call rock. Not what they do.
The New York Times: You were looking for something, that rock muscle?
Lou Reed: I was looking for them, and I found them at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame of all places. Who would have thought?
The New York Times: But you were writing these songs for a theater production, a totally non-rock band kind of situation.
Lou Reed: I had sent a couple of rock people over there [to Berlin] to try to move them along, but that wasn’t going to happen. We were doing it with electronics, having electronics move them that way. There’s no way over in Berlin they’re going to have a drummer like him or a guitarist like him. That’s not going to happen. They’re going to have the generic God knows what. That’s not going to happen. Not real rock ‘n’ roll people with real muscle. There they are. This is what I call a great thing. There are people who actually can do that. And everybody else — don’t want to name names — I would say for 99.9 percent, it’s not rock.
Read more from The New York Times.