Lester Bangs

Posted by Miss Ess, April 13, 2007 06:13pm | Post a Comment

So I don't know if you all are fans of Lester Bangs or not, but I am a huge fan. Lester Bangs kinda sorta "invented" rock journalism as we know it today. He was a passionate and talented fellow, who took his inspiration from the Beats and from nyquil, among other things. In his pieces he rambles from one brilliant point to another, all the while insulting everyone possible and tearing down your expectations. He's also incredibly tender about the things that have really moved him.

My favorite piece he ever wrote is, not coincidently, about one of my favorite records:  Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. You can check out the entire piece he wrote here. (And you should.)

Lester's writing style can't be beat in my book. It's so upsetting that he died so young, pretty much burned himself out, cause it would be so fantastic to have him here today, railing against the dull- as- tombs stuff that passes for music writing these days. It would be so interesting to hear his take on the world we have now, a world in which the internet (here we are) means that anything, any bit of information or connection we want we can have at our fingertips, instead of that long, weary and ultimately rewarding search we used to have. I think if he was here lester would still see and point out the beauty in that brand of now- old-fashioned journey.

If you have not read a collection of his work, I would say start with Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung. There's also a fantastic and absorbing biography about Lester called Let it Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America's Greatest Rock Critic. It's by Jim DeRogatis. In the grand, gonzo tradition of Lester himself, I think I read the whole thing pretty much nonstop over about 3 days. His life was exceptional, brash, and full of passion and being in the right place at the right time. Doesn't that kind of living just make the best kind of biography? 

R.I.P. L.B. 1948-1982
They sure don't make em like they used to.

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