The most marvelous art tends to inspire the most marvelous prose, and such has been the case in the past 24 hours as news of Lou Reed’s death has spread. Among those paying tribute to the Velvet Underground founder is Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff, who penned a heartfelt obit for Gawker entitled “A Reason To Keep Singing.”
Sheff’s story traces his relationship with Reed’s music from his formative high school years up through Sheff’s own rise to minor rock stardom and the thrill of hearing from Reed’s manager that he was a big Okkervil River fan. It culminates in the time Sheff got to meet Reed backstage at a show, receiving a soft but lengthy handshake and a life-changing compliment: “You are a great rock singer. You’ve got a great rock voice. You can sing anything.” It’s a lovely read and especially wonderful for anybody who has ever dreamed of meeting a musical hero, so do click over to Gawker and work it into your diet of Reed remembrances.