"I love to get out and see movies"
A Glimpse of Lou Reed's Life on the Upper Wild Side

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Since his breakout radio hit, 1972's "Walk on the Wild Side," Lou Reed's ambitious solo career has evolved in subjects, themes and styles while the former Velvet Undergrounder has remained a quintessential New Yorker: erudite, opinionated and fearless. Now 66, Reed is a practitioner of tai chi, an active photographer and blogger, and an inspirational figure to at least two subsequent generations of musicians, from U2 and R.E.M. to the Raveonettes and the Killers, with whom he recorded the song "Tranquilize" last year. He performs at a sold-out 9:30 club on Tuesday night.

-- Chris Klimek

Your recent projects are increasingly narrative. There was "The Raven," an album based on Poe's stories, and the stage show of your 1973 album "Berlin," which Julian Schnabel just made into a movie. You studied with the writer Delmore Schwar t z. Have you thought of writing prose?

Every time I do that, it ends up in a song. It's kind of strange. I get a kick out of the idea -- it goes all the way back to "Berlin" -- of making it something you can see through the music.

Do you get out to see a lot of films?

I love to get out and see movies.

Has anything lately caught your attention?

"The Assassination of Jesse James." "The Bourne Ultimatum." . . . That had one of the best martial-arts fight scenes I've ever seen. Astonishing. I bought it for that. Fight choreography? Yeah, what choreography? As action movies go, I don't know how you could do better than that one.

I wanted to ask about your interest in tai chi.

I've been doing that for a very, very long time. It takes up a lot of time, trying to do it right. It's a great discipline. Good for the body. Good for concentration. Pretty much good for everything. People think I do weight training. That's funny.

In your South by Southwest festival keynote last month, you spoke about the poor sound quality of MP3, the way so many people listen to music now --

It's a trade-off. They also have access to everything in the world, and then you can try to go get a really decent-sounding copy of it. I mean, when you listen to an MP3, you're not really hearing much.

You live-blogged the Klitschko-Ibragimov fight in February. How did that come about?

A friend of mine is with Madison Square Garden. He asked if I would do sports photography for that. It's on their blog, not mine. Although I should have put it on mine, Jesus.

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company