Transformer: The Lou Reed Story

Victor Bockris, Author
Victor Bockris, Author Simon & Schuster $24.5 (446p) ISBN 978-0-684-80366-1
Reviewed on: 03/29/1999
Release date: 04/01/1999
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-306-80752-7
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Bockris, biographer of William S. Burroughs and Andy Warhol, presents a detailed portrait of former Velvet Underground frontman Reed. Born in 1942, the only son and eldest child of a Jewish middle-class family from Long Island, Reed still harbors resentment toward his parents for having raised him in a suburban lifestyle, according to Bockris. An ``outsider'' fueled by a desire to belong and to control, the singer developed, then destroyed, relationships with his mentor Warhol, former bandmate John Cale and glam-rock superstar David Bowie. A bisexual and former speed addict, Reed is accredited to be the godfather of punk. Though the author relies on too many cliched phrases, he provides insight into the private life that led Reed to create many of rock's memorable songs, including ``Heroin'' and ``Walk on the Wild Side.'' As a bonus, Bockris concludes with a 1979 episode in New York City when he introduced Reed to Burroughs, an amusing anecdote in which the writer assured the rocker that ``it is not very often that a writer will have to actually make it with his publisher in order to get published.'' (Aug.)
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