Posted by: willenvelope | September 20, 2008

“I don’t give a jackal.”

I got this via file sharing, not slush, but I felt like transcribing it here. This speech starts around the 5:30 mark. As you read, imagine the band in the background, endlessly vamping the two chords of “Walk on the Wild Side.”

Springsteen is all right, by the way. He gets my seal of approval—I think he’s groovy. You notice the way the critics turned on him, like, after they were on him, right? When he needed them, they weren’t there. Critics. What does Robert Christgau do in bed? You know, is he a toe-fucker? Man, anal-retentive—The Consumer’s Guide to Rock? What a moron! A Consumer’s Guide to Rock, man! I object to the fucking liner notes. Start studying rock ‘n’ roll? I can’t believe it. “Baroque Rock: A Study by Robert Christgau.” John Rockwell, man. Wow! You know how heavy it is to get reviewed by Rockwell, and he says you’re intelligent? Fuck you! I don’t need you to tell me that I’m good. “Mr. Reed.” You know, you say, “Oh, man, I’m in The New York Times, it said ‘Mr. Reed.’” Fuck you! Your doorman wouldn’t kiss my ass, man, I don’t give a jackal. He, right, he studies at Harvard, right—monologue—but dig this, man, opera! A fucking opera guy, man! And that’s the critic for The New York Times that makes and breaks the best rock bands that are very heavy and intelligent. Notice there are no colored rock groups? Certainly not in The New York Times with John Roberts [sic]—he wouldn’t go there, man, he comes to CBGB’s with an armed guard: “Don’t touch me, man.” And he’s a big dude. Somebody should say, “John, don’t be afraid.” And Christgau is like an anal-retentive. Nice little boxes. “B-plus.” Can you imagine working for a fucking year and you got a B-plus from an asshole in The Village Voice? And you don’t gotta take this shit. You don’t have to talk to the fucking journalists, man. And they get in for free, and the best seats, in case you’re interested—and there’s no way we can do anything about it. The club owners want the good review. So you get the asshole right up front, looking bored. He’s going, “When is this shit over, Marty? You got some coke?” Oh, boy. Anyway. I know you’re not interested in my problems: Neither am I….

- Lou Reed, “Walk on the Wild Side,” from Live: Take No Prisoners ( 1978 )

- Robert Christgau’s reviews of Street Hassle (B+) and Live: Take No Prisoners (C+)


Responses

  1. Go Mr. Reed! Thanks for taking the trouble to transcribe. Don’t you just hate critics?

  2. [...] pretty plain that I was starting to feel ambivalent about writing record reviews. Listening to Lou Reed go off on Robert Christgau and John Rockwell was probably the beginning of it; that led me to start the Rubbish Reviews feature, possibly [...]

  3. [...] pretty plain that I was starting to feel ambivalent about writing record reviews. Listening to Lou Reed go off on Robert Christgau and John Rockwell was probably the beginning of it; that led me to start the Rubbish Reviews feature, possibly [...]


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