Lou Reed Follows Bush In Austrian Protest

Lou Reed has followed in the footsteps of Bush singer Gavin Rossdale in becoming the latest artist to protest Austria’s new right-wing coalition government.

Reed has cancelled a pending performance in Vienna, citing the inclusion of the far-right Freedom Party in Austria’s government. The party is generally viewed as anti-immigration and Nazi-sympathetic.

The legendary singer-songwriter told an Austrian radio station over the weekend that people are free to elect someone such as Freedom Party leader Joerg Haider, but that it doesn’t mean that other people have to voluntarily choose to be near him.

Reed’s concert in Vienna was originally targeted as a stop on a European tour booked for April and May; The Velvet Underground co-founder is scheduled to release his new album, “Ecstasy,” internationally the first week in April.

On February 4, Bush frontman Rossdale recited a Jewish prayer onstage just prior to his band’s encore at a performance in Graz,
Austria. Rossdale, whose paternal line includes Jewish émigrés from Russia, later told Reuters that it was to offer condolences for people having to deal with the country’s political situation.

The Freedom Party finished second in the balloting with 27 percent of the vote and helped form a coalition government that was sworn in last week, a move that has led to international protests and rioting in Austria.