Ever the pillar of positivity in his time, in a 1987 interview Lou Reed pretty much said he thought very little of his musical contemporaries in the 1960s by saying bands like the Doors were “stupid” and the Beatles were “garbage.” This interview was discovered by the PBS Digital Studios series Blank on Blank, and set to animation. He also reflected fondly on his quiet life in New Jersey with his wife, and the times he pointed his shotgun at fans who snuck up on his property, like a punk rock Hunter S. Thompson.
Regarding other bands of the time during his Velvet Underground heyday, Reed said: “I’m saying, from my point of view, I know this sounds pretentious, but I just thought the other stuff couldn’t even come up to our ankles. Not up to my kneecap, not up to my ankles, the level we were on compared to everyone else. They were painfully stupid and pretentious. Then when they did try to get in quotes, ‘arty,’ it was worse than stupid rock and roll. What I mean by stupid, I mean the Doors.”
And on The Fab Four: “I never liked the Beatles. I thought they were garbage.”
Which, to be fair, should be taken with a grain of salt. Reed has a colorful history dealing with the press, often times saying things just to get a rise out of reporters. Or simply hanging up on them during interviews. He also said in this interview “If you said like, ‘Who did you like?’ — I liked nobody.” So, it probably wasn’t anything personal.
The interview also delves into his interest in being a novelist during his college years, his time in the Velvet Underground and how his early recording style had engineers walk out on the band and how he feared about potential damage to his ears from it.
Here is the video: