Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music has a special place in musical history, alternately seen as one of the biggest commercial debacles ever, a spiteful contractual obligation fulfillment and the blueprint for the entire modern, experimental “Noise” movement. Despite its legendary status in avant garde music circles, the 1975 album — essentially two LPs’ worth of manipulated feedback — is usually the “go-to” record people refer to when talking about “terrible albums by great artists.” The bad vibes that surround MMM aren’t stopping Reed from doing the obligatory anniversary activities to “celebrate” the project’s 35th birthday. A remastered version of the album will be released next month in a variety of high-quality audio formats (can you say “lipstick on a pig”?) and Reed will be touring the UK and Europe with his “Metal Machine Trio.” The band won’t be recreating the album (Lou must have lost the sheet music), but instead will do, improv jams. Next up — in celebration of its 25th anniversary, the surviving members of The Clash will tour performing the Cut the Crap album in its entirety!
"Keith's Sober!" Shocker
You know you are an all-time debauchery legend when you make the news by putting to rest nasty rumors that you are (gasp!) sober. A rumor that suggested that Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards — who famously admitted to snorting the ashes of his dead father a few years ago — had quit drinking was squashed when Richards told Rolling Stone magazine that “the rumors of my sobriety are greatly exaggerated,” which may well be the best rocker quote of the past quarter century. Jack Daniels shareholders thank you, Keith.
Muzak Gets Canned
Like Metal Machine Music, we have no doubt that in the future Muzak (a.k.a. that mellow music you hear in elevators, doctor’s offices and hell) will experience a revisionistic revival. Hipsters everywhere will be jamming to silky instrumental versions of “No Humps” and “Welcome to the Jungle” while sporting fannypacks and rat tails and sipping Tab. Muzak’s heyday has passed (replaced by things like satellite radio and silence), but some haters in Oregon may be hastening its complete extinction. You know something is bad when one of the most insufferable places in society — the Department of Motor Vehicles — finds it annoying. Employees at various DMV branches in Oregon have been complaining about the Muzak being pumped into their offices, saying that it was making it difficult to hear customers (and the version of “Wind Beneath My Wings” always makes Janice in plate renewals bawl uncontrollably). Officials announced that several branches would stop using the service. So DMV’s historically horrendous reputation for customer service is OK, but innocuous background noise is such a hindrance it requires immediate action? Your tax dollars at work, people!