Thursday, December 23, 2004


There is a long article at Lou Reed's website about someone he mentors. Here are the interesting parts:

Towering well over six feet tall, Antony Hegarty, known as Antony, can be an arresting sight to the uninitiated: a bit like an outer-borough beat cop dressed up as an ethereal Cat Power, and singing like Nina Simone. He may not go over in the provinces—but he is just as surely the authentic voice of the city in popular music today, so much more than the “vintage” 70’s sounds that are dominating the current scene.

Just ask Willem Dafoe, who wept when he heard him. Or Lou Reed, his mentor and supporter, who has called him an “heir to the sublime Jimmy Scott.”

The artist and producer Hal Willner introduced Antony to Mr. Reed during an audition as a backup singer on the Poe-inspired album, The Raven.

“I was told that if Lou didn’t like me, I would be escorted out of the studio,” Antony recalled. “He would walk into the back room and I would be escorted out—Hal warned me.”

But Mr. Reed liked him. A lot.

His whole life, he said, he had thought of New York City as an “island of lepers” where he would one day end up—a haven from the rest of the country. He was angry with gays who fought for marriage during the Presidential election and ended up playing into the hands of the conservative right. For him, gay was different, and therefore powerful. As a result, he said, “The gays haven’t really embraced me as a masthead for their agenda, because I’m a little too weird and complicated.”

The cover art on the new album features the first publication of a Peter Hujar photograph of legendary New York transsexual Candy Darling lying on her deathbed in 1974. Since Antony met Mr. Reed, the prickly, leather-clad hipster—who wrote “Candy Says” for Darling in 1969—has become his friend, mentor and collaborator, singing and producing on a stirring new single called “Fistful of Love.”

“And I feel your fist,” quavers Antony, his words punctuated by rising R-and-B horns, “And I know it’s out of love!”

“He’s become my greatest advocate and mentor in a way that I never could have imagined,” said Antony. “There’s isn’t anything he hasn’t been through. He’s really sage in all that stuff. And he cares about me. He’s a man of passion. And he devotes himself to the things he really cares about.”

At a 2002 performance at P.S. 122 in the East Village, Mr. Reed performed the Velvet Underground classic “Candy Says” in public for the very first time—at Antony’s request.

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