Lou Reed Was a 'Good and Loyal Friend': Maureen Tucker

Former Velvet Underground drummer recalls her bandmate

Maureen Tucker of the Velvet Underground performs in Hilversum, Netherlands.
Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns
Maureen Tucker of the Velvet Underground performs in Hilversum, Netherlands.
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Former Velvet Underground drummer Maureen Tucker reminisced about Lou Reed in a tribute published yesterday in the British Sunday newspaper The Observer, recalling her onetime bandmate as a "great songwriter" and a "good and loyal friend." Reed was 71 when died in October of liver failure.

"It's just dawning on me that he's not out there any more," Tucker said as part of an essay detailing how she met Reed (through her older brother, who was a friend of Reed's from college), the Velvets' first gig ("a lot of people were bewildered") and a San Francisco gig where promoter Bill Graham told the musicians as they took the stage, "I hope you fuckers bomb."

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Tucker remembered listening to records in Reed's apartment in Greenwich Village where he impressed her with the subtleties he picked up from what she described as an "extraordinary record collection: old 45s of 1950s rock & roll and doo-wop singers I had never heard of."

Though she acknowledged Reed's grumpy side, she said it was a result of his perfectionism. "He didn't suffer fools gladly. That's just the way he was, but he was also incredibly encouraging and generous," she said.

Even after the Velvets split, Tucker and Reed kept in touch, she said. "It was one of those friendships where it didn't matter if you didn't see each other a lot," Tucker said. "We'd meet up after two years or five years and it would be like we'd seen each other last week. As you get older, you come to realize that that kind of friendship is rare, so I miss him a hell of a lot."