“Fear of Everything”

So of course I always thought Talking Heads were about the individual human units (ha!—and fuck you, Fripp) response to cybernation, depersonalization, the effect of corporate consciousness on individual identity, all those great contemporary questions nobody can seem to come up with any real or workable answers for. Richard Hell was about the same thing on a darker, more hermetically selfenclosed/obsessed/possessed level, in fact the … Continue reading “Fear of Everything”

Bangs Bio on Kickstarter

Richard Riegel, in a Rock’s Backpages post about A Box Full of Rocks, the Lester Bangs movie I mentioned a while back (it’s directed by Raul Sandelin), notes that the movie is actually a Kickstarter project, something I wasn’t aware of. More info about how you can contribute (and why you might want to) here.  Contributions have been slow, and there’s only a few weeks … Continue reading Bangs Bio on Kickstarter

A Box Full of Rocks

“You’ve seen him depicted in the Academy Award winning film Almost Famous. Maybe you’ve read him in Rolling Stone or Creem magazine. Now, see where it all began — El Cajon, California. A Box Full of Rocks: The El Cajon Years of Lester Bangs is a new documentary by Grossmont College instructor Raul Sandelin. The film chronicles the childhood years of famed music journalist Lester … Continue reading A Box Full of Rocks

Was Creem a Bastion of Anti-intellectualism?

“The writers [Creem] propelled to stardom — Lester Bangs, Dave Marsh, and Nick Tosches being three of the most celebrated — explored rock with a bombast that was smart but anti-intellectual, ‘amateurist and faux lowbrow,’ positioning themselves between the studious class of New York writers and the deference that came out of San Francisco.” “If Goldstein represented the quandary of what critical practise should be … Continue reading Was Creem a Bastion of Anti-intellectualism?

Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, Good Times

Sometime on Friday 30 April 1982, in an apartment somewhere in New York City, Lester Bangs dies. He is found lying on the floor. He is approximately thirty-three-and-a-third years old. He had been suffering from the ‘flu and had been taking Darvon and NyQuil. It was suggested that his immune system was shot due to an over-zealous cleaning-up of his own body following a lifetime … Continue reading Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, Good Times

From the Archives: Lester Bangs (1980/2001)

Everyone’s a rock critic: The lost Lester Bangs radio interview

In 1980, following the release of Blondie, Lester Bangs was interviewed for a radio program called “News Blimp.” A copy of the tape was sent to me anonymously by someone who “fished it out of the garbage.” The interviewer is unknown, and my searches online for “News Blimp” also pulled up nothing. I’ve been advised by someone who was close to Bangs that there’s really no issue with my running it on this site, especially given that the source is a mystery. (And yes, it’s the real deal.)
– Scott Woods, 2001

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Interviewer:   First let me ask you if it was difficult writing a biography without the help of the people that you were writing about?

Bangs:   You know, in a way it was and in a way it wasn’t because there’s something that happens when you get the collaboration, or the cooperation, of the people you’re working with; all of a sudden you’re on their side, they take you into their confidence and you’re all buddy-buddy, and you’re almost like a recruit to the cause. Whereas if you have absolutely no cooperation at all, then you know that you at least can maintain your objectivity, you know?

Interviewer:   Lester, is this the first book you’ve written?

Bangs:   Yeah…Well, I wrote a novel in 1968 when I was in junior college called Drug Punk about drinking Romilar cough syrup, but this is the first book I’ve written that’s been published.

Continue reading “From the Archives: Lester Bangs (1980/2001)”

Bangs Audio II (now with transcript)

What a few minutes on Google will learn you: I mentioned in a recent post that I wasn’t sure who Sue Matthews was, or what publication (or radio station) her 1980 interview with Bangs was conducted for. Turns out this information has been available online for a few years now, at the website, Cousin Creep, which also includes a transcript of the interview. Which was … Continue reading Bangs Audio II (now with transcript)