Transformer: The Lou Reed Story It was the Velvet Underground that fully ushered a darker musical persona into '60s rock — a counterpoint to the saccharine of psychedelia. Manic and… Transformer: The Lou Reed Story It was the Velvet Underground that fully ushered a darker musical persona into '60s rock — a counterpoint to the saccharine of psychedelia. Manic and… Biography Music Simon & Schuster
Book Review

Transformer: The Lou Reed Story (1995)

EW's GRADE
A-

Details Writer: Victor Bockris; Genres: Biography, Music; Publisher: Simon & Schuster

It was the Velvet Underground that fully ushered a darker musical persona into '60s rock — a counterpoint to the saccharine of psychedelia. Manic and mercurial, charming and petty, Lou Reed was the Velvet whose own life most closely mirrored the group's vivid, abrasive art. Victor Bockris has written a very readable portrait of a man ''growing up in public,'' one whose life and career are interwoven, the stuff of an ongoing musical autobiography like Transformer: The Lou Reed Story. A biographer of Keith Richards and William S. Burroughs, Bockris studies Reed's life in flight from his Long Island, N.Y., home and parents he alternately rejected and adored; his drift into Andy Warhol's wild orbit; his clashes with John Cale; and his painful emergence as a solo artist. Blending informed biographical narrative with abundant quotes and a dishy, conversational style, Bockris captures the many moods — and mood swings — of a true rock & roll chameleon. A-

Originally posted Aug 11, 1995 Published in issue #287 Aug 11, 1995 Order article reprints