( Download Book ) ☨ Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung: The Work of a Legendary Critic: Rock'N'Roll as Literature and Literature as Rock 'N'Roll ♼ MOBI eBook or Kindle ePUB free
Man, this was good! I had only read a few articles by Laster Bangs when I picked this up at my local That’s library, not tavern I am so completely blown away by how Bangs spoke about music This man was a huge music fan His writing stinks to high heaven of his love and respect for music, of how much music moved him Maybe that’s why he’s able to write so well about music, to say so much in the space of a sentence or by his choice of words Most critics’ writing, music or otherwise, is just the most banal, lifeless, arrogant, ignorant refuse but Bangs turns a review of a Van Morrison LP into an examination of the human condition I wish he’d written a novel, y’know, because it would have been such a pleasure to read.What strikes me most about this collection is that you can see Bangs sort of growing up as his writing goes on He put so much of himself into his work that his articles act as testaments to where he was at when he wrote them Some of this is the straightforward honesty he can’t seem to help but use in his writing He pulls no punches but he takes punches like a pro.I wish I could have met Lester Bangs He’s joined the short list of no longer with us people I’d like to have met Seems like he’d be a real kick in the pants to know Thinking about the conversations you could have with this guy about music makes me giddy.Calling Bangs a music critic is like calling Stradivarius a violin maker Bangs is to music critics what Gary Oldman is to actors or Jimi Hendrix to guitarists You find outabout yourself from his writing than you do about the subjects he writes about He came from a long line of no talent hacks and inspired a long line of no talent hacks but his writing is right there, bold and beautiful, a shining example of how to do it right! Not my jam.At all.Not only this isn't what I expected at all, but this is barely criticism These are long, chaotic tirades about drugs, the music industry and sometimes there is a cool story about a musician inserted in there like when Iggy Pop picked fights at his own show, but otherwise This is very lean on interesting material Bangs even brags about not saying whether or not Lou Reed's album Metal Machine Music is good in a 5,000 words column It's frustrating to read People shouldn't use the term gonzo to conceal terrible writing.There are some interesting writing Especially in his Village Voice pieces, which areheavily edited There's a great article on Elvis' death among others, but if you're looking for criticism, staaay awaaaay. Lester Bangs is the only rock critic whom musicians truly accepted as one of their own It’s no wonder: He lived like them and he died like them, overdosing on pills at age 33 Most importantly, he wrote as they played His wildly energetic prose reads unlike any other contemporary writer, much less a music critic: Words seemed to spill straight from his brain onto the page in the wonderful cacophony of an Ornette Coleman sax solo or a Captain Beefheart tune He was, in some ways, a rock ’n’ roll Hunter Thompson, thrusting himself into the middle of every story And he wasn’t above starting a concert review with a totally Gonzo introduction like, “I decided it would be a real fun idea to get fucked up on drugs and go see Tangerine Dream.” Psychotic Reactions, compiled by “the Dean of Rock Journalism,” Greil Marcus, five years after Bangs’ death in 1982, collects arguably his best stuff, including a series of Creem articles detailing his bizarre lovehate relationship with his idol, Lou Reed A highlight of the collection: “My Night of Ecstasy with the J Geils Band,” from Psychotic Reactions, in which Bangs recounts with great enthusiasm the time he joined the titular group onstage and bashed away at the instrument on which he was a virtuoso — his typewriter. Lester Bangs, like Howard Hampton and Luc Sante, takes reviews of media and injects humor, crass, honesty, and a glimpse into his personality Bangs is likeable because he's a smart asshole, but there's no shortage of selfdeprecation in his writing I also like his writing style because it often contains the same sentiments as a first album: angsty, energetic, youthful (even when he's being curmudgeonly), and somewhat vulnerable It helps that he loves the Stooges, Velvet Underground, and music that others write off as abrasive I don't agree with all of his stances, but there's always enjoyment to be found in the essay With all of this praise, there are a couple significant missteps: The excerpt from his novel (Maggie May, 1981) is atrocious and the essay about racism in the New Wave scene comes across as ignorant and selfcongratulating (even though he puts his own racism on display) However, even these pieces have some merit is providing a comprehensive representation of Bangs' work, and you have to love how he always seems on the search for something meaningful. ( Download Book ) ♰ Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung: The Work of a Legendary Critic: Rock'N'Roll as Literature and Literature as Rock 'N'Roll ♷ Vintage presents the paperback edition of the wild and brilliant writings of Lester Bangsthe most outrageous and popular rock critic of the sedited and with an introduction by the reigning dean of rock critics, Greil Marcus Advertising in Rolling Stone and other major publications
Chances are if you’re considering a book of writings by Lester Bangs you came to him the same way I did: by way of your love of music — or maybe it was from Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance as him in “Almost Famous” — because writing about music is what he’s ostensibly known for In fact, it’s almost exclusively what he did from his first published review in Rolling Stone in 1969 (about MC5’s “Kick Out The Jams”) until his death in 1982 I say ostensibly and almost because while editor Greil Marcus notes in his fantastic introduction, “Perhaps what this book demands from a reader is a willingness to accept that the best writer in America could write almost nothing but record reviews,” he also concluded, “[A] story is what [this book] is to me: the story, ultimately, of one man’s attempt to confront his loathing of the world, his love for it, and to make sense of what he found in the world and within himself.” Yes, Lester Bangs wrote about music, but music was not what he wrote about He wrote about the world, about society and relationships, about politics and history, about race and ethnicity, about sex and gender … Music, and his love for it, was just the soundtrack, the backdrop, to which he set his words.And what words Referring to Bangs’ untimely death, Greil Marcus also noted, “That the story was cut off does not make it less of a story; it does not make it an impoverished tale That the story was cut off means that the story is painful.” Painful it is Painful and beautiful and hilarious and heart wrenching and inspiring and sad and moving and exhausting and insightful and honest and vulnerable and a dozen other adjectives that can’t do Lester Bangs or his writing any justice He and his words are all those things and so muchnot because (or simply because) he was a brilliant writer (because sometimes he wasn’t) but because he was honest with himself and with his readers, because he never took himself (or music or rock stars or anything else for that matter) too seriously, and because he gave as much (or ) of himself as he expected from anyone else.“Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung” is perfectly assembled, and while Greil Marcus notes that the work was a team effort, it is clear that his wartsandall love of and for Lester Bangs has everything to do with the book’s success In the final piece in the collection, “Untitled Notes, 1981,” Lester concludes, “They were all entertaining pieces—in fact, there are a lot of people who think to this day that I did the best work I’ll ever do while at Creem and since moving to New York have turned into an increasingly embittered, gimmeabreak moralist, occasionally amusing but increasingly bitter old washedup hasbeen Fuck ‘em I got lucky: this bullshit became my life while I was ensconced in the relatively decidedly pissant environs of Creem, so once I woke up I made it out and can say that though I have my days just like everybody else I still think I have a future.” Unfortunately for him, and for us, that future was cut short At least we still have his words, immortal and timeless, and perhaps nownecessary than ever. So forged my way through the Stooges/Iggy hard on that comprised the opening quarter of the book Boy am I glad I did Bangs leaves no question as to what acts he is passionate about and while I don't always share his opinions I found the dichotomy of his prose (equal parts acerbic wit and dazed ramblings) thoroughly enjoyable Bangs is no mere Music Critic He opens the floodgates through his articles and shines a light on culture by not only focusing the lens on the artists but on himself as well. More importantly, it seems to me that there is a war on today which goes far beyond therestofsociety vs punks; it's the war for the preservation of the heart against all those forces which conspire to murder it Lester BangsDon't believe the hype Lester Bangs wasn't a genius He wasn't the best rock writer alive He didn't always speak the rhythms of rock 'n' roll His writing is dated His runon sentences weren't original His run on sentences were, irritating, manic, super hard to follow and took this reader out of the story all the time He stole too much from The Beats He was another swinging dick, aggressive male He didn't even always have good taste in music On the other hand, Bangs was passionate Compassionate He rocked hard He wrote like a zine writer, a mad, unconfined voice that refused to follow any conventions Far be it from me to say his writing suffered for it His writing suffered for it He was just about always right even if his way of expressing it was, selfconsciously raving and steamrolling with machismo Finally, after frustratedly powering through Psychotic Reactions, I found the arc of Bangs writing bent toward a kindness and humanness that was deeply moving and warm, I'm way better off for having read it. I've been reading this in bits and pieces for several months now because to read it all at once is like eating an entire box of chocolate and chasing it with six espressos, and a lady needs some downtime every so often so I'm just going to review it now because I don't see it changing that much.I think the subtitle of this book says it all: literature as rock and roll and rock and roll as literature That is exactly how I would describe Bangs' writing style: like Iggy Pop and Nabakov had a baby and the baby grew up to write halfcracked yet totally brilliant music criticism that uses a lot of really big SAT words He's kind of poetic like that.I particularly love his takedown of Lou Reed and Metal Machine Music He also has a beautiful deconstruction of racism in the rock scene, which, sadly, is still completely relevant It's probably one of the better essays on race I've ever read from a white person's perspective Good for anyone who loves word play and language, or who loves rock music. Lester Bangs is pretty much my favourite music writer of all time There is something incredibly vivid about the way he writes, which does the (almost) impossible feat of making words sound like the music they are describing Plus it is absolutely hilarious to read hisnegative reviews, which are as merciless as they are hilarious There is scarcely a single sentence in this book I didn't find infinitely quotable, but this extract from the review of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music is one of the best: All landlords are mealymouthed bastards who would let the ruins of Pompeii fall on your fourposter before they'd lift a finger They deserve whatever they get, and MMM is the alltime guaranteed lease breaker Every tenant in America should own a copy of this album Forearmed!Every music journalist should own a copy of this book.