This Month in Rock Writing: Bangs, Kent & Williams

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March 27, 2008 by A.C. Rhodes

Paul Williams’ book, Outlaw Blues, has an interview conducted with Doors producer Paul Rothchild, from March 1967, after the band’s first record release. It has to be the most unspoiled interview since nearly all of the infamous lizard king shenanigans have yet to occur.

The following year, in “I’m Not A Juvenile Delinquent: The Death of Frankie Lymon,” Bill Millar writes a lovely obituary for Frankie Lymon in Soul Music Monthly, March 1968, mentioning all family, including his three wives, yet not by name.

In Keith Altham’s piece in the March 1970 issue of, Fusion, he deems The Nice “perhaps one of the most controversial groups on the pop music scene today,” before going on to say how they are, “praised by many for relieving us from the excesses of guitar-oriented heavy rock they are condemned by others for relying too heavily on theatricality and riffs stolen from Bach.” Powdered wigs for Keith Emerson not included.

That same year, Amon Düül gets a review with ‘premature heat’ in Creem Magazine from Lester Bangs, who later rather characteristically, recanted somewhat. To wit: “Amon Düül is the monstrosity. I don’t know who at Prophesy ever dreamed that this album deserved the States, but that man is lost in space. This record, which was called Psychedelic Underground in its German edition, is thirty minutes of the kind of clattering ‘space jam’ that is likely to result anytime you get a bunch of amateur musicians together with huge amps and too much dope for them even to say something musical by accident.”

The next year, Lester makes a telling observation with his account of a New Year’s Eve party in his Phonograph Record piece. “I attended a great party thrown by someone I didn’t know and inadvertently fell into a protracted conversation with this nearsighted social worker about 20 or 25 who kept babbling about his Volkswagen until I finally had to say: “Wait a minute. Are you telling me that the owning of a Volkswagen is a social, or a political act?”

At Lou Reed’s 1973 Buffalo, NY show, Crawdaddy! reported, a fan(atic) rushed the stage and bit the punk godfather in the ass, screaming, “Leather!” as he rushed security to get to the pre-punk icon (Bangs’ whereabouts being unknown at the time, but he would publish a big fat story about Lou two years later). One wonders what the nibbler subsequently thought of Rob Halford.

In 1975 Mick Taylor split from the accounting firm of Jagger & Co. causing little girls everywhere to Jones for a blonde Stone. “No doubt we can find another 6 foot 3 inch blonde haired guitarist that can do his own make-up,” opined the brainier Glimmer Twin to reporters. Tell that to Ron Wood, you thick-lipped Beelzebuba.

The same year, Nick Kent is amid his four-part story, “Brian Wilson: Last Beach Movie,” for the NME. Highlights include Van Dyke Parks telling Wilson to “write a fuckin’ middle-eight,’ and Wilson crying at the Whiskey before later breaking into song on stage.

While discussing his disinterest in Mick Ronson, David Bowie, tells Chris Charlesworth from Melody Maker in 1976, “Anyway, I’m not a great Dylan fan. I think he’s a prick, so I’m not that interested.”

In “Simple Minds,” from the March issue of ZigZag, Lindsay Hutton enthused that he’d “NEVER BEEN this goddam (sic) excited about a rock’n’roll band for ages,” going on to say that, “The monster media called NEW WAVE is almost finished and the climate is right for an upheaval to break the monotony of bandwagonning (sic again) ex-heavy metal losers and bozos that overindulge in calculated weirdness.” Hutton stated this, perhaps prematurely, in 1979.

In “Part-time Punks: The Buzzcocks,” a retrospective and interview by Paul Lester for The Guardian, March 2002, Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley spoke about recording together again, and falling in love – the latter with another woman.

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