SHOOT IT UP
Mick Rock unveils more most excellent images of Lou Reed in a new edition of his Transformer book.
n 2013, Genesis Publications released the limited edition book Transformer, wherein Lou Reed and his confidante and photographer Mick Rock illustrated Reed’s evolution from 1972 to 1980 in images and words. Reed’s last public appearances, in London and New York, were to promote it; upon his death on October 27, 2013, Rock put a stop to sales. Three years on, in time for the Transformer album’s 45th anniversary, it’s been decided to make it available once more. A hand-bound 11.5” x 15.5” large format volume in an edition of 2,000, each copy has been signed by Rock and stamped by the Lou Reed estate. It arrives in a slipcase with a facsimile lyric sheet, a 7-inch picture disc of Walk On The Wild Side and Coney Island Baby, and, excitingly, a new booklet containing 50 unseen images. “Yes, it’s something to take away and have a good jerk off to!” says Rock, down the line from New York. The unseen material includes images of Reed visiting John Cale at his west London basement flat in Holland Road in summer 1975. “Lou and John were getting on OK that particular night,” says Mick. “Lou and I had earlier been with
INico at Blakes Hotel, Lou had been trying to get all three together, believe it or not, but they were all a bit, shall we say… high.” Another is this bold set up of Reed in leather wielding a gun in autumn 1976 in a downtown NYC studio. “These shots were never actually seen,” says Rock. “I think that was when he turned me onto Larry Clark, whose book Tulsa he had, where you had these junkie kids, I think there were some guns in some of the pictures there. I don’t know if [the portraits] were really recreations of those shots, but it was the spark of an idea and we just let it roll. He’s also holding his brand new cassette player, which he was very excited about. It wasn’t a real gun – he wasn’t about to shoot the photographer. “We had a very good relationship in those years,” reflects Rock. “We always got on. The truth is, other than missing his wedding to [second wife] Sylvia [Morales], we never had any issues. Our sessions were never heavy. We’d just be buggering about trying different things, different hand movements, different faces. It was playtime.”
“WE’D JUST BE BUGGERING ABOUT TRYING DIFFERENT THINGS… IT WAS PLAYTIME.”
Transformer by Lou Reed and Mick Rock, the limited edition book, is available from Genesis Publications at www.transformerbook.com. Tel: +44 (0)1483 540 970.
Visions of Lou: (clockwise from main) Reed lets ’em have it, NYC, ’76; with Mick Ronson at Ashley’s Bar, NYC, September ’76; with John Cale in London, summer ’75; from the Transformer cover shoot, Kings Cross Cinema, July 14, ’72; at Blakes Hotel, London, autumn ’74.