Reed's wild, wild walk

Reed's wild, wild walk
Lou Reed

There is a famous saying about American rock icon Lou Reed's seminal 1960s band The Velvet Underground - only 30,000 people bought their first album but all 30,000 of them formed their own bands.

Some of these bands can be found right here because Reed, who died on Sunday, made quite an impact on the pioneering generation of home-grown musicians in the alternative rock scene in Singapore.

That was how influential The Velvet Underground were, for their devastatingly effective simplicity, their tackling of dark and risque themes, and their daring experimentalism as part of the New York pop art scene.

DJ, singer and songwriter Chris Ho calls Reed the "great teacher of my rock 'n' roll ways" as well as a "big moulder of my singing voice".

Ho's early 1980s new wave band Transformer, credited as being one of the local music scene's earliest alternative rock bands, was named after Reed's acclaimed 1972 solo album.

He says: "He was my patron saint of rock 'n' roll."

The marketing director of Universal Music Singapore, Mr Lim Teck Kheng, says Reed and The Velvet Underground refused to set limitations on themselves and were not afraid to experiment with their music.

"His death is a loss of a great legend who influenced generations of musicians and music fans," says Mr Lim, 42, who became an avid fan after he heard The Velvet Underground on Ho's radio show with then Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), now MediaCorp.

"I was still a teenager then. And almost three decades later, I still get excited whenever I put on music by Velvet Underground or from his solo albums."

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