Revisit Lou Reed’s infamous interview at Sydney airport, 1974
We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you a very special moment of rock and roll joy, or pain, depending on which side of the microphone you are sitting on. Lou Reed gives possibly the most sarcastic interview ever conducted.
In 1974, Reed arrived in Australia with a big tour lined up with the rock and roll scene desperate to see a new hero rise from the ashes of glam rock. Reed got off a long plane ride from America and was confronted by a flashing, jostling press conference. Not a great thing to see at the arrivals hall.
If you’re an up and coming musician in today’s world, you better be media trained to within an inch of your life because one slip can see you “cancelled”. With today’s glut of information and entertainment, you need to make sure you expertly traverse the range of cascading platforms or risk plummeting to the death of your career. In 1974, this was certainly not the case.
In fact, when Reed arrived at Sydney airport, the possibility that he would sit down and pleasantly answer a series of monotonous questions with a smiling face was not only unlikely but wholly unwanted. In the seventies, following the carefree love and peace of the sixties, the kids wanted danger and Reed brought it in spades.
At the time there were few artists as dangerous and decadent as Lou Reed. One time Velvet Underground innovator, Reed had been at the forefront of the highly-sexualised glam rock movement and now he was trying to move it along too. Alongside acts like David Bowie, Roxy Music, and T-Rex, Reed was yet again at the pointed tip of a new subculture.
The sixties may have been about mind-expansion but the seventies were about physical feeling. Reed arrived in Australia with his Bowie produced, 1972 album Transformer having put him back on the musical map. The live album, Rock and Roll Animal, grabbed even more kids by the scruff of the neck and cemented his place forever.
This was the issue that most of the press waiting for Reed at Sydney airport had in their back pockets. But while they tried to pin drug abuse, promotion of homosexuality and transgender ideals on Reed, the singer refused to play ball. Instead, he gave them as little as he possibly could. Rarely venturing beyond a two-word answer, Reed is beyond reproach and violently disdainful. It’s a brilliant watch.
The video below sees Reed expertly navigate all the mountainous questions he’s bombarded with. Rather than plummet to a career-suicide, he flies off into the night sky with all of us willing him along. It was a moment he’d repeat just a year later.
Watch Lou Reed’s sarcastic interview conclude as he proclaims he loves journalists as the final kick in the proverbials.