So the story goes like this: In the spring of 1978, shortly after he’d released the amazing LP Street Hassle, Lou Reed was asked to host an episode of NBC’s late-night music program The Midnight Special. Reed was asked to submit lyrics to the songs he wished to perform, and, quelle fucking surprise, NBC balked at airing some of them. Rather than alter his work, Reed declined to appear, no harm done, except that an episode that could have been an all-time classic was instead ultimately hosted by—hold on to your lunch—Journey.
But Midnight Special did something exceptionally cool. Instead of just letting this matter pass quietly, they invited Reed on as a guest, in an interview segment hosted by Turtles/Zappa madcaps Flo & Eddie, specifically to talk about exactly why he wasn’t serving as the program’s host that night, and in the process they discussed censorship in broadcast media and the validity of “shock value” in pop music! At a generous seven and a half minutes long, the segment covered a lot of ground, and astutely at that. Perhaps because they were fellow weirdo musicians, Flo & Eddie got a genial, reflective Lou Reed, not the notoriously spiky prick who could and would unhesitatingly annihilate interviewers.
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Cranky Lou Reed interview from 1975 is full of hilariously nasty gems
‘Lou Believers’: Sonic Youth in the weirdest Lou Reed ‘tribute’ you’ll ever see
(B)Lou’s on first? Dangerous Minds sparks clash between Blue Man Group and Lou Man Group!