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There are several songs on the box set that you wrote with Lou Reed. Did they come about because of Bob Ezrin, who produced you in 1979? Previously, he had worked with Lou.
“Yeah, Bob had a specific idea for that. I had some songs and was going to work on a lot of lyrics, but he said, ‘Why don’t we get some help from a master like Lou Reed?’ I thought that was a stretch, but we went by Lou’s studio and met with him. He was really friendly and said he was open to it, even though he hadn’t co-written before.
“I went to Lou’s apartment in Greenwich Village, and we spent a long night drinking and watching a football game. I was a big Redskin fan from DC and still am, and he liked the Dallas Cowboys. It was a Cowboys-Redskin game. We had a real healthy rivalry, two fans being really into it. But I can’t even tell you who won the game, which is a testament to how excited I was; the whole time I was thinking, ‘Is this gonna work? How are we gonna do this?’
“I had so many things written. I sent Lou a tape with of 13 songs with some lyrics, some half-lyrics, some titles and ideas, some with just some humming of the melodies. It was all up for being improved or replaced or altered, including the music. A month went by and I hadn’t heard from him. I was back in Garrett Park, Maryland, in a rental house. I was writing songs, improving songs, and I’d get together with Bob and go over what I’d done.
“Then one night Lou called me up at 4am. He woke me up and said, ‘Hey, I love this stuff. I’ve been up writing for three days and nights straight. I’ve completed 13 full sets of lyrics. Why don’t you put some coffee on, get a pad and paper and I’ll dictate them to you?’ So that’s what we did. I spent hours on the phone, being dictated 13 songs line by line by Lou Reed.
“I spent the next few days at this funky old upright and with my guitar, slowly and calmly putting Lou’s words to the music. Soon after that he said there were three of the things he wanted to use. Ezrin and I were fine with that; we used a few, and I’ve put out a few since then. Sadly, we lost Lou, which is a terrible loss, but I’m determined to go back and find the four or five other gems that no one’s ever heard and find a way to share them.”