A new biography of late Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed delves into the musician’s alleged history of domestic abuse.
The book, titled Notes From The Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed, focus on Reed’s “creative process, his mental health problems, his bisexuality, his three marriages, and his addictions to drugs and alcohol”.
Author Howard Sounes, who has previously penned books on Bob Dylan and Amy Winehouse, describes Reed as a “monster” based on interviews with 140 of the musician’s friends, peers and associates about his life.
“I loved his music, but you have to go where the story goes,” Sounes told The Daily Beast. “The obituaries were a bit too kind, he was really a very unpleasant man. A monster really; I think truly the word monster is applicable.”
Bettye Kronstad, who married Reed in 1973, alleges in the book: “He would, like, pin you up against a wall. Tussle you. Hit you… shake you… And then one time he actually gave me a black eye.”
An old school friend, Allan Hyman also claims to have witnessed Reed striking a former girlfriend. “She would say something. He’d get pissed off at what she said and smash her around the back of the head,” Hyman claimed. “[My wife said,] ‘Lou, if you continue to hit her, you have to leave.’ And then he smacks her in the back of the head. So she said, ‘Get out!’”
The book also quotes Reed as saying “I don’t like ni**ers like Donna Summer,” while also describing Bob Dylan as a “pretentious kike”.
NME has approached Lou Reed’s estate for a response.
Notes From The Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed will be published on October 22.
Reed passed away from liver disease in October 2013.