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Let it Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs Paperback – 6 Aug 2001
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Critics tend to lead fairly boring, sedentary lives. Infamous rock critic Lester Bangs, when he sat still long enough, thumped out 16 crackling pages an hour for the likes of Rolling Stone and Creem. His prose was distinctively streetwise, indulgent, corrosive and humane, the result of seeing rock'n'roll as an attitude rather than a style. Grounded in jazz masters such as Miles Davis and Charles Mingus, he championed the so-called alternative canon: Velvet Underground, MC5, the Stooges and the New York Dolls. His spats with his idol Lou Reed were legendary. The singer once said of Bangs, "He's fat and he's got a moustache. I wouldn't s**t in Lester's nose". Like the music he revered, he came from the suburbs, the product of an alcoholic father and a devout Jehovah's Witness mother. He took his inspiration as a writer from the Beats, especially Jack Kerouac, with more than a nod to Hunter S. Thompson and Charles Bukowski. Throughout his life, he hankered after creating the Great American Novel but also wanted to be a musician and the conflict sapped energies which were constantly maintained through a nauseous brew of cough syrups, drugs and alcohol.
Jim DeRogatis, early on in his labour of love, Let It Blurt, shrewdly relates the tale of when Bangs went on stage with the J Geils Band in 1974 and tapped away at a typewriter in front of 13,000 people. It was the epitome of his life--and he typed nonsense. Bangs would have been in his element with the Internet; as it was, he created the blueprint for a generation of bilious music journalists such as Julie Burchill and Nick Kent, whose book The Dark Stuff treads similarly rewarding ground. DeRogatis, who was the last person to interview Bangs before he died in 1982, has diligently undertaken prodigious research (though over 100 pages of appendices is too much) to reconstitute a life that its owner seemed determined to throw away. Read alongside Bangs' collected journalism Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, the American cousin of Charles Shaar Murray's Shots from the Hip, to catch the true spirit of his mastery of a vitally ephemeral medium. But, remember, as the song goes, "It's Only Rock'n'Roll". --David Vincent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
'It reads like rock 'n' roll' CAMERON CROWE
'It reads like rock 'n' roll' CAMERON CROWE
Lester Bangs was the great gonzo journalist, gutter poet, and romantic visionary of rock-n-roll writing Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Bukowski, and Jack Kerouac all rolled into one. Exploding out of a stifling upbringing as a Jehovahs Witness in a claustrophobic southern California suburb, he went on to revel in rocks excesses, draw energy from its din, and match its passion in his prose, charting (if not defining) the aesthetics of heavy metal and punk. More than any other writer, he personified the Noise and was treated as a peer by the artists who made it, including Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Captain Beefheart, Patti Smith, and Richard Hell.
'Jim DeRogatis' witty, affectionate and bittersweet appraisal of Bangs gets right to the rotten core of Lester (who died in 1982), making this as essential as breathing.' **** JOCKEY SLUT
'Let it Blurt is exhaustively researched . . . It was worth the effort . . .DeRogatis provides an overview not just of Lester's life, but of the times in which he lived.' ****UNCUT
Those already familiar with the man's work will find Let it Blurt an invaluable companion' QSee all Product description
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what he was about with great clarity. DeRogatis writes with passion (I mean,
he makes Lester's passionate sense of life come alive) and unlocks great
swathes of rock culture and rock literature that I had not been aware of. It
pleases me to know that Bangs was a kind person with integrity. The
afterword covers his legacy in the work of music writers, in the lyrics of
other artists, in his musical influence on certain alt-country bands, and in
the book "Psychotic Reactions," a compilation of his work by Greil Marcus.
The appendices include Lester's "How To Be A Rock Critic" and some of his
lyrics, and the book provides copious notes, sources and a wonderful
bibliography of Bangs' articles, reviews, books, contributions to
anthologies and encyclopedias, letters and recordings, plus articles about
him by other authors. It is well-illustrated throughout. Let It Blurt is a
classic, both as a fascinating life story and history of rock criticism, and
as a valuable reference source to Bangs' work.
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