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Lou Reed Defends ‘Metal Machine Music’ Ahead of Album’s Re-Release


Lou Reed has defended his controversial album ‘Metal Machine Music,’ which, for the uninitiated, is composed purely of droning guitar feedback played at different speeds.

On its release in 1975, ‘Metal Machine Music’ alienated many critics and fans of the former Velvet Underground frontman, with Rolling Stone magazine describing it at the time as sounding like, “the tubular groaning of a galactic refrigerator,” and as awful to experience as spending, “a night in a bus terminal.” Many considered it a joke, or a grudging fulfilment of contractual obligations with Reed’s record label, RCA — and indeed, just months later, it withdrew the album.

But New York’s unofficial poet laureate has now made the decision to re-master and re-release the album, and to coincide with its rebirth, has been touring with his Metal Machine Music Trio.

Before taking to the stage at the Royal Festival Hall in London on Monday April 19, Reed defended the album, which it has been claimed, was pivotal to the birth of punk, heavy metal, grunge and even trance and techno, and by others, as the worst album of all time.

In an interview with BBC 6 Music, he said: “You could say ‘Metal Machine Music’ is dedicated to the proposition of the guitar as the single greatest instrument known to man, and it can’t get too loud, and you don’t need a vocalist or a drummer, and listen to this feedback, isn’t it great — a reflection of the glory of rock.”

Reed added: “I think it’s such a really profound music and I’ve been in love with it for a very long time. I did this album for me. I am trying to make something that I want to listen to.” However, the rock veteran admitted he had got “mauled” for his efforts.

If your ears can stand it, you can make up your own mind when ‘Metal Machine Music’ is released on vinyl on May 10.