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Mainlines, Blood Feasts and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader [Paperback]

Lester Bangs
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Sep 2003
This companion to Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung compiles fifty-four of Bang?s pieces, including several that are previously unpublished. Lester Bangs was for many the most intelligent and influential critic of rock and roll. Twenty years after his death, interest in him continues, as shown by the recent critically acclaimed biography Let it Blurt, and his work still resonates with breathtaking insight and audacity. This marvellous book, edited by John Morthland, Lester Bangs? friend, literary executor, and fellow rock critic, contains exerpts from an autobiographical work Bangs wrote as a teenager, as well as cultural rants and obsessive rages, and incisive reviews from throughout his career - from Black Sabbath as a Christian band, to Anne Murray as sex object, to Bob Dylan as a fraud, and, of course, the Stones, Lester Bangs?s favourite band and bete noir. Endlessly entertaining, this book is a must for anyone with any interest in the history of rock and roll.


Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (18 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852428236
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852428235
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 572,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

?It?s full of the most insightful, passionate and keenly felt writing about music I?ve ever seen? Independent on Sunday ?No other rock writer can touch him for the sheer physical trip of his prose? Telegraph ?To read Bangs at his inconsistent best is to be subsumed into a tidal wave of passionate love and hate, joy and rage; a dazzling linguistic flood which approaches the improvisatory transcendence of a John Coltrane? Independent ?The core of the book is Bangs? wrestling with the loss of feeling and commitment that becomes increasingly apparent as the ?70s come to a close? Rock writing at its bravest? Books of the Year, Uncut ?This is an absorbing second collection? Bangs wrote fast and died young. Tell those transition year kids who say they want to be music writers to read this and then consider accountancy? Evening Herald ?Lester Bangs was arguably the most intelligent and influential rock critic of all time. He turned bad taste into an art form? opinionated, witty, rude, acerbic? What?s On in London ?Bangs, with his scabrous, funny and oddly elegant prose, was among the very best? Financial Times ?Any writer could learn from Bangs?s energetic imagination in terms of imagery, phrasing and frame of reference? Mojo ?A collection of the best writing from a man who basically invented modern rock journalism... Containing his teenage autobiographical writing as well as the best of his music criticism and essays, it?s a fast and furious read? Sunday Tribune (Dublin) ?Bangs was irresistibly irreverent, hyperbolic and honest, the everyman with a pen? Hot Press ?Fiercely passionate, heroically hedonistic and endlessly inventive, Lester Bangs towered over ?70s/early ?80s rock journalism like a handlebar moustachioed colossus ... Bangs was as much a chronicler of the changing social climate as he was of musical trends. Frequently funny, often dazzling and shot through with dangerous, rock?n?roll attitude, Mainlines... is a testament to a talent that all too briefly burned as brightly as the sun? Jockey Slut ?Bangs hit top form with demolitions of the likes of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and some expressive travel pieces that reveal his unique class as a writer... Bangs?s writing boasts vision, passion, style and, above all, truth? Q Magazine ?He was as astute and intelligent as he was entertaining... chemical genius? Maxim ?One of America?s best cultural commentators? Infuriating and engrossing? Choice Magazine ?Those who refuted the notion that a mere music journalist could be crowned the US literary king were usually unfamiliar with his fearless, white-knuckle, death of glory, arse-kicking prose? Westminster Times ?Bangs, who in this very book, maintains the startling ability to convince you beyond the grave that Black Sabbath were nothing less than the John Milton of rock. Genius!? Nude Magazine ?Just flick to a random page and you?re instantly transported into a mind sharp and fluid enough to cut through all those million hacks and their pick?n?mix boxes of assorted adjectives. If you care about rock?n?roll, buy this? Buzz

Still a byword for rock writing at its most unrestrained and passionate... his two posthumous anthologies... attest to his brilliance (John Harris Guardian 2009-06-27)

About the Author

Lester Bangs started out as a record reviewer for Rolling Stone, went on to write for and then edit the magazine Creem, before moving to New York and covering the burgeoning punk scene, writing in daily newspapers and the Village Voice. Bangs died suddenly at the age of 33 in 1982. A biography of Lester Bangs, Let it Blurt was published in 2001.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
'Mainlines, Blood Feasts and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader' is an excellent companion to the prior collection of Bangs' writings 'Psychotic Reactions & Carburettor Dung' and the Bangs-biography 'Let It Blurt'- both of which are great reads. I first heard of Bangs in Julian Cope's autobiography 'Head On/Repossessed', though prior to that he turned up as an R.E.M.-lyric in 'It's the End of the World as We Know It (& I Feel Fine)'- though is probably more well known as the guru-music journo portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman in Cameron Crowe's 'Almost Famous' (2000).
This collection has much shorter pieces than 'Psychotic Reactions..' - but no less readable, and plenty of the subjects here will be familiar from that book too: The MC5, Peter Laughner, Miles Davis, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, The Clash, PIL, Nico and of course his great interview jouster Lou Reed. The highlights here are the reviews of 'Horses' (Patti Smith), 'Metal Machine Music' (Lou Reed) & 'Doc at the Radar Station' (Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band)- the latter takes in and reassesses the Beefheart-back-catalogue and reasonably picks out the best works - 'Trout Mask Replica', 'Lick My Decals...', 'Clear Spot' & 'Doc at the Radar Station.'
The piece on Lydon/'Metal Box' is great, though like the gonzoid-spiel 'California' we can see him moving against Lydon here as he rejects Kraftwerk in 'California' - a move away from 'Kraftwerkfeature.' At times, Bangs comes off as a bit contradictory, contrary or hypocritical...which is fine where I come from!
The pieces on Miles are excellent, as are the pieces on Bangs-fave 'The Marble Index'/Nico & the review of Eno's 'Before & After Science.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Supercharged rock writing 9 May 2004
By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The rock writer Joh Morthland has compiled a companion volume to Psychotic Reactions And Carburettor Dung, the first collection of the writings of Lester Bangs, rock ‘n roll’s most influential critic and the one who defined the genre.
The book is divided into the following sections: DRUG PUNK, including previously unpublished writings on Andy Warhol and autobiographical ruminations on Bangs’ adolescence; HYPES & HEROICS includes pieces on the MC5, Beatles, Bob Dylan, Grace Jones, Patti Smith’s album Horses, Wire and Jello Biafra.
PANTHEON contains pieces on The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Captain Beefheart, Nico’s Marble Index album, Brian Eno, Jim Morrison and Lester’s famous review of Lou Reed’s notorious Metal Machine Music album. TRAVELOGUES includes impressions of his trips to Paris, Jamaica, Austin and California.
The last chapter is titled RAVING, RAGING AND REBOPS and contains writings on the roots of punk, The Mekons (Bad Taste Is Timeless) and an excerpt from the previously unpublished All My Friends Are Hermits from 1980.
Lester’s adrenalin charged writing has lost none of its appeal. He wrote with an enthusiasm that transcends the decades. I highly recommend this book to all rock fans that are passionate about the music.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A superb writer and true fan of rock'n'roll 30 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed this second collection of Bangs' articles almost as much as its more infamous prequel "Psychotic Reactions...". Leaving aside the miscellaneous benzedrine driven meanderings about music, sex, drugs and life in general that were discovered after his death and published here for the first time, the most significant pieces are his reviews and observations about inter alia, the Beatles, The Stones, Black Sabbath, Patti Smith, Miles Davis and Hendrix. Bangs was pretty forceful and honest about who he liked and disliked in the rock business, or rather he directed his inconoclastic pen more favourably at those whom he perceived as artists with integrity and worth (e.g Captain Beefheart and P Smith) and reserved healthy doses of bile for those whom he felt were artistically fraudulent in some way (he pans Keith Emerson and ELP with some well pointed invective and rapier wit about the band's obsession with their stage mechanics). In a series of articles about the Rolling Stones circa "Exile on Main St" tour it is clear he had a lot more affection for Keith than Mick. He writes about Keith thus "he looked like everything dark and tragic that the Stones trip had ever threatened:soul flattened, skin sallow, bone scraped, and behind the reflector shaded eyes the suggestion of a diseased intelligence too cancerous to spit imprecations anymore. Fxxked up. It was beautiful". In a subtle pastiche piece written about Hendrix in 1976 he imagines an interview with the ghost Jimi who admits to Bangs "the songs I wrote that had actual melodies, that you could hum or have a real zinger cover, can be counted on the fingers of one hand....the rest is mostly metal riffs, with mostly jive lyrics that I talked instead of sang... once the distortion and technology became a required part of the whole style and ,like, institutionalised, then it was all over". It was precisely this sort of provocative stuff that put Lester Bangs light years ahead of his peers in American rock journalism.
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5.0 out of 5 stars World's greatest music writer 8 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback
This follow-up to Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung doesn't quite hit the heights of that previous anthology, but is nevertheless utterly essential reading. Bangs writes so beautifully, and with such understanding, that he makes most other music journalists seem irrelevant. Isn't it time for a third volume now?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Bangs Magic 29 May 2006
By Pieter Uys - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The rock writer John Morthland compiled this companion volume to the brilliant Psychotic Reactions And Carburettor Dung, the first collection of the writings of Lester Bangs, rock `n roll's most influential critic and the one who defined the genre of rock criticism.

The book is divided into the following sections: DRUG PUNK, including previously unpublished writings on Andy Warhol and autobiographical ruminations on Bangs' adolescence; HYPES & HEROICS that includes pieces on the MC5, Beatles, Bob Dylan, Grace Jones, Patti Smith's album Horses, Wire and Jello Biafra.

PANTHEON contains pieces on The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Captain Beefheart, Nico's Marble Index album, Brian Eno, Jim Morrison and Lester's famous review of Lou Reed's notorious Metal Machine Music album. TRAVELOGUES includes impressions of his trips to Paris, Jamaica, Austin and California.

The last chapter is titled RAVING, RAGING AND REBOPS and contains writings on the roots of punk, The Mekons (Bad Taste Is Timeless) and an excerpt from the previously unpublished All My Friends Are Hermits from 1980.

The adrenalin charged writing of the legendary Lester Bangs has lost none of its appeal. He wrote with an enthusiasm that transcends the decades. This book is essential for devoted rock fans. I also recommend Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs by Jim Derogatis.
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