- Lester Bangs
name = Lester Bangs
imagesize = 200px
caption = Lester Bangs during an interview
birthdate = birth date|1948|12|13|mf=y
Escondido, California, United States
deathdate = death date and age|1982|4|30|1948|12|13|mf=y
New York City, New York, United States
occupation = Music critic, music journalism
nationality = American
period = 1969–1982
Rock music, jazz
Leslie Conway Bangs (
December 13, 1948– April 30, 1982) was an American music journalist, author and musician. Most famous for his work at " Creem" and " Rolling Stone" magazines, Bangs was and still is regarded as an extremely influential voice in rock criticism. [ [http://www.randomhouse.com/author/results.pperl?authorid=1315 Lester Bangs] . Random House. Retrieved on November 04, 2007.]
Bangs was born in
Escondido, California, USA. His mother was a devout Jehovah's Witness; his father died when Bangs was young. In 1969, Bangs began writing freelance after reading an ad in "Rolling Stone" soliciting readers' reviews. His first piece was a negative review of the MC5album " Kick Out The Jams", which he sent to "Rolling Stone" with a note detailing that should the magazine decide not to publish the review, then they would have to contact Lester and tell him why. Instead, they published it. (He later became a big fan and friend of the MC5 after moving to Detroit.) In 1973, Jann Wennerfired Bangs from "Rolling Stone" over a negative review of Canned Heat. Wenner contended that Bangs was "disrespectful to musicians". He moved to Detroit to edit and write for " Creem", which is where his legendary stature as a rock critic really began to grow. After leaving "Creem", he wrote for " The Village Voice", "Penthouse", " Playboy", " New Musical Express", and many other publications.
Bangs claimed his influences were not so much predecessors in
journalismas they were beat authors, in particular William S. Burroughs. His ranting style, similar to Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo journalism, and his tendency to insult and confront his interviewees earned him distinction.
Bangs idolized the
noise musicof Lou Reed, [ Charlie Gere, "Art, Time and Technology: Histories of the Disappearing Body" (2005) Berg, p. 110] but he had a complex journalistic relationship with Lou the performing artist, writing several legendary articles for "Creem" which depicted hilarious confrontational interviews, often reflecting aspects of Bangs own personality against his difficult interview subject. The essay/interview " Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves" from 1975 is a distinctive example.
Bangs was not only involved as a critic of music but as a musician in his own right. He teamed up with
Joey Ramone's brother, Mickey Leigh to put together a New York group named Birdland. In 1980 he traveled to Austin, Texasand met a punk rockgroup named the Delinquents. During his stay in Austin he recorded an album as Lester Bangs and the Delinquents entitled "Jook Savages on the Brazos". It was quoted that, "Lester's album with the Delinquents was the predecessor of so-called alternative-country bands such as Wilcoand Son Volt". Fact|date=August 2008
Bangs died in New York on
April 30, 1982, overdosing (through drug interaction) after treating a cold with Darvon and Valium. According to the Jim Derogatis biography, Bangs was listening to The Human League's album"Dare" at the time of his death.
* Bangs is mentioned in the 1987 R.E.M. hit "
It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)".
* Bangs is mentioned again in the
Dillinger Foursong "Our Science Is Tight".
* Bangs is also mentioned in the 1981
Ramonestrack "It's Not My Place (In the 9 to 5 World)" from the album " Pleasant Dreams". [ [http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/ramones/itsnotmyplace.html RAMONES LYRICS - It's Not My Place ] ]
* Bangs is mentioned in
of Montreal's "There Is Nothing Wrong With Hating Rock Critics" on the album " If He Is Protecting Our Nation, Then Who Will Protect Big Oil, Our Children?".
* Bangs is the subject of "Les Bang", a track by
Gumdrops, from their 1996 debut album "High Speed... OK?".
* Bangs is the subject of "La Sindrome di Bangs", a song by Tre Allegri Ragazzi Morti, an Italian rock band, in their 2007 album "La Seconda Rivoluzione Sessuale"
Science fictionauthor Bruce Sterling's story "Dori Bangs" (published in " Asimov's Science Fiction", 1989) was inspired by Bangs (along with the underground comic book artist Dori Seda). Sterling speculates on what Bangs might have done had he lived longer.
* Bangs is depicted by
Philip Seymour Hoffmanin Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical film " Almost Famous" (2000), in which a budding music journalist idolizes him. Bangs acts as a guide for the film's protagonist and a critic of what rock and roll has become by the time of the film. Crowe himself credits Bangs as a mentor during his own years as a rock journalist.
Long Islandpunk rock band Ghost of Lester Bangs as well as defunct Kill Rock Starsband Bangs are named after the critic.
The Buzzcocks' song "Lester Sands" is actually referring to him, dismissing Bangs' criticism as a "drop in the ocean". [ [http://www.jimdero.com/News2003/June20Buzzcocks.htm (Buzzcocks turn it up)] ]
Bob Segerwrote and recorded a yet-unreleased song about the critic titled "Lester Knew".Fact|date=July 2007
* Notorious for applying the term "white nigger" (which originated in Norman Mailer's 1957 essay "The White Negro") as a euphemism for a punk, or more specifically a white social miscreant with questionable or objectionable outward idiosyncrasies, and radical beliefs deemed unacceptable by the
status quo. (Conversely, the term now has a different connotation, as " wigger" is used to describe a white individual infatuated with the hip-hop lifestyle). He often referred to himself as the "last of the white niggers", and a famous photograph of Bangs shows him wearing a t-shirt bearing this title. [ [http://www.jimdero.com/News2002/GreatEaster.htm A touch of the poetess ] ]
* As popular as he was when he was alive, his work has become even more influential in the wake of his death, which has led to the publication of two anthologies of his writing.
* In the tv show
The Black Donnellys, the two brothers Tommy and Kevin bet the protection money they have collected on a horse named Lester Bangs.
"...I'll admit in front that I have a special affinity for things that don't quite fit into any given demarcated category, partly because I'm one of those perennial misfits myself by choice as well as fate or whatever. By profession, I am categorized as a rock critic. I'll accept that, especially since the whole notion that someone has a 'career' instead of just doing whatever you feel like doing at any given time has always amused me when it didn't make me wanna vomit. O.K., I'm a rock critic. I also write and record music. I write poetry, fiction, straight journalism, unstraight journalism, beatnik drivel, mortifying love letters, death threats to white jazz critics signed 'The Mau Maus of East Harlem', and once a year my own obituary (latest entry: 'He was promising...'). The point is that I have no idea what kind of a writer I am, except that I do know that I'm good and lots of people read whatever it is I do, and I like it that way." (Lester Bangs, "An Instant Fan's Inspired Notes: You Gotta Listen", 1980)
schizophrenicabout that, because on the one hand I would say, yes there is, there’s something inherently, even violent about it, it's wild and raw and all this. On the other hand, the fact is that ‘Sugar Sugar’ is great Rock 'n' Roll, and there’s nothing rebellious about that at all. I mean that’s right from the belly and heart of capitalism..." (Lester Bangs in 1980 on the rebellious nature of rock 'n' roll. [ [http://www.cousincreep.com/lester.htm 1980 interview] ]
"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." (
Greil Marcus, editor of the first Bangs anthology "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung," on the second anthology, "Mainlines, Blood Feats and Bad Taste". Taken from the cover of the paperback original.)
"Look at it this way: there are many here among us for whom the life force is best represented by the livid twitching of one tortured nerve, or even a full-scale anxiety attack. I do not subscribe to this point of view 100%, but I understand it, have lived it. Thus the shriek, the caterwaul, the chainsaw gnarlgnashing, the yowl and the whizz that decapitates may be reheard by the adventurous or emotionally damaged as mellifluous bursts of unarguable affirmation." (Lester Bangs, "A Reasonable Guide to Horrible Noise", 1980)
"I'll probably never produce a masterpiece, but so what? I feel I have a Sound aborning, which is my own, and that Sound if erratic is still my greatest pride, because I would rather write like a dancer shaking my ass to boogaloo inside my head, and perhaps reach only readers who like to use books to shake their asses, than to be or write for the man cloistered in a closet somewhere reading Aeschylus while this stupefying world careens crazily past his waxy windows toward its last raving sooty feedback pirouette." (Lester Bangs, "A Quick Trip Through My Adolescence", 1968)
By Lester Bangs
* "The greatest album ever made", about 1975
Lou Reedalbum " Metal Machine Music" [ [http://www.rocknroll.net/loureed/articles/mmmbangs.html Matt Carmichael ] ]
* "Blondie" (Fireside Book, 1980)
* "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung: The Work of a Legendary Critic", collected writings,
Greil Marcus, ed. Anchor Press, 1988. (ISBN 0-679-72045-6)
* "Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader", collected writings, John Morthland, ed. Anchor Press, 2003. (ISBN 0-375-71367-0)
* The first piece for "Rolling Stone" [ [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/mc5/albums/album/105316/review/5941601/kick_out_the_jams MC5: Kick Out The Jams : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone ] ]
*Lester Bangs contributed several chapters to Rolling Stone's History of Rock and Roll in one of which he is characteristically scathing about The Doors, comparing them unfavourably to The Guess Who. This criticism was used as part of Lester's dialogue in the film Almost Famous.
About Lester Bangs
* "Let it Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America's Greatest Rock Critic", biography, Jim Derogatis. Broadway Books, 2000. (ISBN 0-7679-0509-1).
Popular works citing Lester Bangs
* "Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk", biography, Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. Penguin Books, 1997. (ISBN 0-14-026690-9).
* French [http://www.incipitblog.com/index.php/2005/06/06/lester-bangs-psychotic-reactions-et-autres-carburateurs-flingues-iggy-pop-lampe-a-souder-sado_maso-1977/ Audiobook (mp3)] : "Iggy Pop, Blowtorch in Bondage" translated in French
* " [http://www.creemmagazine.com/_site/BeatGoesOn/LesterBangs/BadTaste001.html MENTOR. EDITOR. LESTER: A Personal Appreciation] " by
Jeffrey Morganof " Creem".
* A Bangs [http://www.furious.com/perfect/lesterbangstribute.html tribute] at Perfect Sound Forever.
* [http://rockcriticsarchives.com/interviews/lesterbangs/lesterbangs.html 1980 interview with Bangs] posted at rockcritics.com
* Bangs' own [http://rockcriticsarchives.com/links/lesterbangs.html section] at rockcritics.com.
* Bangs [http://van-the-man.info/reviews/astral.html reviews] one of his two favorite albums of the 1960s,
Van Morrison's " Astral Weeks".
* 13th of May 1980 Interview with [http://www.cousincreep.com/lester.htm Lester Bangs] Complete [http://interviewsarchive.com/catalogue.htm MP3 of interview]
* [http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0333,hell,46160,1.html Richard Hell remembers Lester Bangs] in the Village Voice,
August 7, 2003
NAME= Bangs, Lester
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Bangs, Leslie Conway
SHORT DESCRIPTION= American music critic and journalist
DATE OF BIRTH= birth date|1948|12|13|mf=y
PLACE OF BIRTH=
Escondido, California, United States
DATE OF DEATH= death date|1982|4|30|mf=y
PLACE OF DEATH=
New York City, New York, United States
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Lester Bangs — Activités Critique rock Naissance 14 décembre 1948 Escondido (Californie) États Unis Décès … Wikipédia en Français
Lester Bangs — Leslie Conway Bangs (* 14. Dezember 1948 in Escondido, Kalifornien; † 30. April 1982 in New York, NY, USA) war ein US amerikanischer Musikjournalist, Autor und Musiker. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Film 3 … Deutsch Wikipedia
Lester Bangs — Este artículo o sección sobre biografías necesita ser wikificado con un formato acorde a las convenciones de estilo. Por favor, edítalo para que las cumpla. Mientras tanto, no elimines este aviso puesto el 5 de marzo de 2008. También puedes… … Wikipedia Español
Bangs — ist der Name folgender Personen: Alan Bangs (* 1952), britischer Musikjournalist und Radiomoderator Lester Bangs (1948–1982), US amerikanischer Musikjournalist, Autor und Musiker Outram Bangs (1863–1932), Vogelkundler Orte: Bangs (Nofels),… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Lester — heißen folgende Orte: in den USA: Lester (Alabama) Lester (Iowa) Lester (Ohio) Lester (Pennsylvania) Lester (West Virginia) sowie: Lester (Singapur) Lester heißen folgende Gewässer: der Lester (Fluss), ein Zufluss des Oberen Sees in Nordamerika… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Lester — is a Scottish and Irish surname of Gaelic origin, which is a variant of the surname Lister.Lester may refer to:People;Given name *Lester Bangs, an American music critic *Lester Johnson (Lazy Lester), blues harmonica player *Lester Patrick, a… … Wikipedia
Deborah Lester — Debi Diamond (* 1. Mai 1962 in Granada Hills, Los Angeles, Kalifornien, USA; eigentlich Deborah Lester) ist ein bekanntes amerikanisches Fotomodell und eine Pornodarstellerin aus den 1980er und 1990er Jahren. Diamond wuchs im San Fernando Valley … Deutsch Wikipedia
Punk rock — This article is about the music genre. For the play of the same name, see Punk Rock (play). Punk rock Stylistic origins Rock and roll • folk • rockabilly • ska • surf rock • garage rock • … Wikipedia
Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves — (or how I slugged it out with Lou Reed and stayed awake) is an infamous interview with Lou Reed conducted by Lester Bangs and published in Creem Magazine in 1975. It is now regarded as a classic document of music journalism.ApproachIn this Gonzo… … Wikipedia
Peter Laughner — Peter Ravenscroft Laughner (né le 22 août 1952, mort le 22 juin 1977) était un guitariste, chanteur et compositeur de rock américain. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Annexes 2.1 Bibliographie 2.2 Liens externes … Wikipédia en Français