Andy Browne Brings Lou Reed To Life

By Tripp Liles

Last fall I introduced you to Roswell resident Andy Browne. Browne was part of a band called Nightporters back in the 80s and today he heads a group called the Andy Browne Troupe and they have been busy.

During the 80s, Atlanta had an active punk rock scene that centered around 688 Club and the Metroplex and even famously hosted the Sex Pistols’ first U.S. show and in fact, Nightporters were the opening act for the The Clash. Today, the Atlanta musical landscape is as varied as its population and Browne is changing with the times as he has been busy in the studio working on new material and hooking up with old friends.

One of those old friends was famed Rolling Stone magazine feature writer and rock critic/author Anthony DeCurtis. DeCurtis has a new book out called Lou Reed: A Life that focuses on the life of famed rock icon Lou Reed. Browne has been in the studio with his band The Andy Browne Troupe and with both having new material out, some cross promotion is on hand.

Together they will team up for a special concert on May 12 performing the songs of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. They will do two sets with DeCurtis on lead vocals doing his best Lou Reed impersonation. While the stage is a natural place for Browne, for DeCurtis it will be new territory.

“When I launched my book in New York last October, Suzanne Vega, Richard Barone, and Jeff Ross (who played guitar with Lou in the Seventies) performed some Lou Reed songs with me, and it was a real thrill, said DeCurtis. “Just in the little bit I’ve done already, I’ve learned a lot about performance, a subject I’ve been writing about for close to forty years. I am nervous, because I want our shows to be genuinely good, not just a curiosity. But one of Lou Reed’s great virtues was fearlessness, and I’m acting in that spirit. There will be an immediacy and an intensity to our performances—I can guarantee that. Everyone will have fun; if I wasn’t enjoying this, what would be the point?”

For Browne, these shows provide an opportunity to spread his wings and perform with a author who is an icon in the rock world.
“I’ve been reading Anthony’s interviews since I was ’bout 15 years old; personally I think he’s the greatest musical analyst in modern times, he understands the ‘artiste’ perspective better than anyone I’ve ever seen,” said Browne. “We will give Anthony a band even Lou Reed would be proud to have behind him… it’s the least we can do.”

Andy Browne and Mike Mills of R.E.M.

The two connected through social media as Browne was in the studio working on new material. Recently they released a new EP called Elephants and they plan to go back into the studio after the shows with DeCurtis in May. The new material has a much more mature feel than Browne’s earlier work as he expands his musical horizons and takes in the diverse musical culture that exists in Atlanta. It’s fitting, however, to be paying tribute to Reed as the punk rock roots run deep.

“Just like David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, and The Clash, Lou Reed changed the course of Modern Music… love them all. Lou took chances, and did what he wanted to do. I push The Andy Browne Troupe to follow in those steps,” Browne stated.

Together they will perform two shows in the area. On Saturday, May 12 they will be at the 529 Club in Atlanta and on Sunday, May 13 at Cine in Athens. In addition to the shows, DeCurtis will read and sign copies of his book Lou Reed: A Life on May 12 at A Cappella Books in Atlanta at 2 p.m. Tickets for Saturday’s show are $10 and available at 529 and online at www.freshtix.com/events/anthony-decurtis. The Andy Browne Troupe’s latest release Elephants is available through all major platforms.