The scary genius that was Lou Reed

Lou Reed, who is reported by Rolling Stone to have died aged 71, was the most terrifying rock star I have ever interviewed. Partly it was his look that was so unsettling: all those amphetamines in his rock n roll years had taken their toll. His sunken cheeks, intense staring eyes and perpetually macerating jaw gave him the look of a malevolent praying mantis in a poodle fright wig. Partly it was because he took especial delight in giving the journalists who came to see him as hard a time as possible – especially if, as I was, they were young, nervous and clearly out of their depth.

Before the interview I’d asked Tony Parsons to give me a steer on what I should be asking him. Parsons said the key thing was the…

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