Merrill Reed Weiner, the late Lou Reed’s younger sister, is in Cleveland to attend the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony this weekend and she tells Billboard she’s happy to finally set the record straight about assumptions and perceptions that have long been made about her family.
In an essay published earlier this week via Medium magazine, Reed Weiner hoped to “provide clarity and context” about many issues related to her brother’s upbringing, including that her parents approved of him having electroshock therapy when he was allegedly having psychological problems.
Reed Wiener told Billboard during Friday’s induction eve VIP party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum that she’d actually penned the essay shortly after Reed died during Oct. 2013 and “gave it to certain biographers and said, ‘Look, don’t misquote me now.’ I felt that depicting something as complicated as what actually happened in a cartoonish way, a sensationalized way, from lyrics and interpreting them as truth had reached a point with so many biographers circling around that I needed to make a statement. I was so enraged. There’s a book that came out by a guy named Jeremy Reed (Waiting For The Man: The Life and Career of Lou Reed) that says that my father beat my mother and a host of other things. It’s just so ludicrous, and for someone to be that facile in interpreting lyrics as truth is… I mean, do we take D.H. Lawrence and assume everything is authentic?”
Weiner added: “So I wrote it and then my son, the media savvy guy, said, ‘Mom, we can put it on the Internet.’ So I said, ‘Why not? Let’s set the record straight,’ and that’s what I endeavored to do and I feel like I did it. And I knew Lou always wanted me to do that.”
Weiner said the Reed family will be well represented at Saturday’s ceremony, which will be attended by his widow Laurie Anderson and second wife, Sylvia Morales. “For him to be honored by his peers in this kind of way, I know how much it would have meant to him — not that he would have let you know it,” cracked Weiner. “He wouldn’t be smiling quite the way I am, for sure. I think he would be amused. I think he would be sardonic and I think he’d be secretly delighted, really, really delighted. [Music] meant the world to him, and I wish he were here to see it. It’s amazing for him to be recognized in this way.”