Lou Reed’s studio engineer reveals the story of an explosive recording session

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Lou Reed’s studio engineer reveals the story of an explosive recording session

Slade narrates the animated video, the final in a series for Berklee Online, describing the hilarious episode recording Reed’s overdubs of the monster powerchords heard in the classic track.


“He hit the pedal and increased the volume exponentially… He had shoved the meter way into the red and smoke started to pour out of the tweeters in the monitors,” Slade says. “The assistant engineer started to scream. Literally scream.”



Reed had fatefully replaced the studio’s monitors for the sessions with his own custom made monitors. Slade labels Reed a “gear fanatic”, indulging his iconoclastic international status and wealth with the best and most expensive gear he could buy. 


“We had it set up for one level and he had increased the volume so much that the system couldn’t handle it. The engineer thought we were going to break the tape recorder, and he went over to turn the tape recorder off and I said no, no, no, don’t touch it! I literally grabbed him.”


Terrified, Slade tiptoed into the booth to tell Reed of his monitor’s explosive demise, waiting to be met with a fit of rage. Reed however, was far more interested in whether or not the blow was on tape.


“He didn’t care that we blew up the speakers, in fact, I think he was secretly pleased.’



The video is the fourth in a series by Berklee Online instructors regailing similar tales of studio miracles they’ve had in their careers, including Prince, Notorious B.I.G. and civil rights anthem ‘We Shall Overcome’.


Check out other videos in the Berklee series here.