New Voices

Lou Reed and the Weepy Hipster
Written by Marissa Brostoff
For generations of Jewish girls, Modern Lovers frontman Jonathan Richman was the attainable rock star crush. Turns out he wasn’t so attainable after all.

Lou Reed in high school. Image reprinted from Transformer, by Victor Bockris.
When I was a teenager, I had two favorite rock stars. One was Lou Reed, because he was a suburban Jewish kid who escaped the suburbs for a life of urban depravity. The other was Jonathan Richman, because he was a suburban Jewish kid whose favorite rock star was Lou Reed.

Richman was still in high school in 1969 when he made his way from Boston to New York to hang out with Reed’s band, the Velvet Underground. Reed, nine years Richman’s senior, accepted the short-haired, drug-eschewing aspiring musician into his famously wild cadre. Richman stuck around until he couldn’t take it any more. Then he went back to Boston and started the Modern Lovers, a band that synthesized the Velvet Underground’s grating, grinding sound with lyrics about the frustrations of being a serious young man who wanted an equally serious girlfriend…..check out for the rest!


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