March 2, 2013 by sw00ds
Lester Bangs interviewed by Sue Matthews, May 1980.
Category: Lester, YouTubes
This is amazing, thank you. When I go too long without confronting Bangs in a primary textual way I drift into under-rating him as an overly emotional, drunken, late-Kerouac kinda fart. But he sounds robust as shit herein, not least in his pertinent but agnostic application of political economic analysis to rock n’ roll.
I love how high he was on PiL. More trivial but oddly telling is the bilious treatment afforded Willie Nile. Clearly far too much stuff was getting lumped under the category of “new wave” and it was driving Lester bonkers.
Anyway, grand times. Thank you. Between this and the hours of amazing Roxy podcasting, rockcritics.com has been practically curating the listening/thinking life of this frustrated dissertator.
Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, Bangs goes into some really interesting things here — the politics, and also (related) the stuff that starts off the interview, about the economics of the music (and every other) industry. The interviewer, Sue Matthews, deserves credit: she pushed certain topics far, and asked Bangs fairly non-typical questions.
As for Bangs on new wave, I’m a bit torn on that. He’s 100% right, of course, about how silly some of the stuff under the banner of “new wave” was, but I don’t understand his hardened stance on all this, really. I get his not placing any stock in Robin Lane and the Chartbusters as something that mattered in any way whatsoever, but I don’t get why he couldn’t even begin to enjoy it on those terms — why everything had to matter as intensely as (to him) the Clash or the Stooges or Astral Weeks did. He didn’t seem to have a problem in earlier years making the case for the Troggs and Count Five, knowing full well they were not the Stones or the Beatles. (I haven’t heard Robin Lane, so maybe it’s simply that they were godawful. He’s more or less saying the same thing about Blondie, though.)
BTW, I don’t know who Sue Matthews is, and I don’t know what this interview was for. (I actually came across an mp3 of it years ago, but was glad to find that someone decided to post it on youtube.) Anyone out there happen to know the answer to either? Was it conducted for a profile in a British publication?
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