Lars Ulrich pens Lou Reed tribute essay

METALLICA drummer LARS ULRICH has paid tribute to his hero and friend LOU REED in a heartfelt letter sent to publication Entertainment Weekly.

The rocker, who worked with the late singer/songwriter on his last major recording project - 2011 album Lulu, admits he was a huge fan of Reed and the Velvet Underground when he first came to America from his native Denmark, and recalls meeting him for the first time at a Scandinavian amusement park a decade ago.

Ulrich reveals his father was a huge Velvet Underground star, who would bond with his son over the short-lived but influential band's music.

He says, "I remember we had some pretty next-level sessions with Heroin and Sweet Jane, and with Rock 'n' Roll Animal... This was the first time I sat and got into it (music) on a different level, probably around 1980 or 1981.

"That type of stuff had a tremendous impact. I wasn't quite in tune with the cultural impact of the New York scene and what it all meant, but as a musical relationship, it was very rich, and I loved what I was hearing and I connected with what I was hearing...

"It was so ahead of what everybody else was doing at the time, and what was so cool about what they were doing was they were in their own world. They were completely unaffected, at least directly, by what was going on around them."

He adds, "I first met Lou in Copenhagen about ten years ago. He was in Copenhagen at an amusement park called Tivoli, and I was there with my kids and my cousin or something like that, and we were literally like, 'Oh, hey look, there's Lou Reed.' So I went over and introduced myself, or he came over and said hello to me, I can't remember... and we had a five minute conversation, and I think one of us had a hot dog in his hand.

"(Then), in 2009, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame asked us to host a segment for the 25th anniversary shows at Madison Square Garden (in New York). So we were hosting a segment, and one of the people we wanted to collaborate with was Lou. We just felt his energy and his attitudes and body of work and way of doing things would compliment what we were doing. So we reached out and he was in.

"A day or two before the festivities, we were in a rehearsal room somewhere in midtown and he walked in and didn't say a whole lot. He turned on his guitar and started complaining about everybody being too loud, and this was wrong, and that was wrong, and it was like, 'Ah! His reputation proceeds him!' Like, they didn't send a doppelganger - it really was him. He just cursed and complained and was annoyed for the next hour.

"We started fiddling around a little bit, and at some point we just had a conversation that was like, 'Hang on, let's just talk'. So we talked, and I was like, 'Listen, let's find a way to make this work'. And then somehow he thawed, and for the rest of the day it was beautiful...

"What was he like to work with? He's the most direct, pure person I've ever met. In every moment, he spoke his truth. I've never met anybody with less of a filter than him. Of course, there were times when he would speak his truth, and then ten minutes later he would speak his truth again and they would completely contradict each other. Stuff like that could drive me bonkers, because I'm quite a linear thinker. In the studio, being confronted with that kind of abstract approach was something that was actually really good for me, and it really was inspiring.

"I think every musician who marches to his own tune and is carving out his own thing and not just sucking up to the business owes something to Lou Reed. He's the Godfather of that. He's the Adam. He's Ground Zero. He's the Big Bang of people who do it their own way. So all of us who like to think somewhat out of the box, we all owe something to him."

Reed died on Sunday (27Oct13), aged 71.

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