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Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader
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Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader [Format Kindle]

Lester Bangs , John Morthland

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DRUG PUNK: from Two Assassinations and a Speedy Retreat into Pastoral Nostalgias.

Today Andy Warhol was assassinated-well, I shouldn't say "assassinated," he was shot by some chick who wanted to murder him, and right now he's in critical condition, 50-50 chance or so they say. I was over at my girlfriend Andy's today listening to my new William Burroughs album for the first time (it just came in the mail) when suddenly they shouted for me from the bedroom. When I went in Andy's mother told me the news. Somehow I got the feeling they were expecting me to get distraught or something, so I faked this bunch of guffaws. Actually the news had no effect on me, at least no kind that could be measured positively or negatively, except that kind of vibration that sudden real-life surrealism sets off in you. It blew my mind is what I meant to say. When you say "Blow my mind," you don't mean anything to do with sadness or happiness, you mean WHAM!, the sudden impact of something outrageous, incredible, unthinkable, and I guess you could say that that's a positive feeling. Andy's mother went on to say blandly: "Some New York woman art critic shot him. Blew his whole head right off."

"What?! Is he dead then?"

Andy started to laugh. Her mother corrected her own surrealism (Burroughs had just been saying on the phonograph, "Trak news service. . . We don't report the news we write it"): "No, he's just in the hospital in critical condition." I went back into the living room and wrote on the paper slipcover from inside my Burroughs album: "June 3, 1968-Day Andy Warhol was assassinated." It looked better that way than if I'd wrote "Day Andy Warhol was shot."

Maybe I should be more concerned. Warhol used to be one of my heroes. Of course, I didn't know a damn thing about him, hadn't seen any of his movies or very many of his paintings, but I'd seen a TV show on him with the Velvet Underground playing that blew my mind, and I read what I could here and there in the magazines. Somewhere along in there I bought a giant poster with his face and sunglasses on it, and kept the thing up for months. It's not much to look at, or rather it wasn't, it's dead now. . . . I mean it wasn't one of these psychedelic-rococo things you can stare at for hours. As a matter of fact it was ugly, downright, and after a while the only reason I kept it up was that I wanted pictures on my wall and it was big. Back when I first got it I kept it right across from my bed and at night in the darkness I would stare at the face, trying to simulate perceptual drug experience, until it changed. But the changes never had much definition, not much showed in that face, it was just a famous face, incredibly blank and perhaps that was its claim to fame. Without the sunglasses he looked like a typical fey faggot, but with shades he achieved this rubbery cement look, a cement wall. Gradually over the months I began to find out that Warhol had little or nothing to do with the movies under his name. Roger met Warhol (or an imposter, as has been rumored since) and Paul Morrissey, who seems to be the real man responsible for the films, when they came to lecture at San Diego State. I wasn't there, but again Warhol came across as a catatonic if anything. When I moved to Broadway the poster went up in the living room there, and one night when they were all on acid and all equally bum-tripped, Jerry Luck fastened his paranoia on the Warhol poster: "I can't stand that guy, he's always looking at me! Ugh, that face!"

"The cat hassling you?" I sympathized.

"Man, I can't stand it! I'd like to rip that fucker into a million pieces! All the time I feel him staring at me, every motherfucking time I look around I see him staring at me like that, an' I hate the fucker, I hate 'im!"

I was in a very ironic/sarcastic mood that night, so I said: "Well, man, if he bothers you that much, rip the shit out of him! The poster belongs to me and I don't mind. Go ahead . . . fuck 'im up!"

"Really? I can?"

"Shore, go right ahead, have a ball!"

Everybody else made noises of disgust or told Luck to cool it. For a brief moment there was an odd suspenseful lull, and then he sprang at the poster and ripped it off the wall with a gurgling cry. Flopping about on the floor like a beached octopus, he tore it into a scattered litter of small pieces, snarling. Then he sat up, scratching his head, and looked around the room dazedly. I looked at him curiously. The others had made even more disgusted noises. Someone told him to clean up the mess, and he grumbled just like he did the night that he and Dan and Roger stole a chicken from some neighbor and he cleaned and plucked it on our kitchen floor, taking a bite from its bloody crotch to prove his Class.

But to get back to the assassination; when I got home that night my mother met me at the door with the news. She said he had been shot by his "girlfriend." Later Roger came over, and was predictably shocked when I dropped the bomb, gasping wide-eyed and staggering around the room a moment with his hand to his head. I don't think this was so much an indication that Warhol held some dear place deep in his heart, as an example of his typical response when his mind is blown.

Yesterday Andy Warhol was shot in his New York office, today Robert Kennedy in an L.A. hotel lounge just as he was finishing his victory speech after winning the California primary. And just two months ago, almost to the day, Martin Luther King, a far better man than either of the other two, was murdered in Memphis by a hired assassin who still eludes the FBI. Who next? What next? Andy and I were sitting in the den about half past midnight browsing a state college catalog when her mother shouted from the bedroom, "Andy! Come quickly! Bobby Kennedy's been shot!" We ran down the hall to sit dazedly watching the strange milling mélange on the screen, nervous confused newscasters their voices breaking as they interviewed witnesses most of whom had differing stories, cameras blurring in and out of focus again and again, pandemonium, a harried cop shouting for everyone to clear the room but breaking off in mid-sentence as he saw a CBS man two feet away holding his microphone out to a witness, muddy charcoal semidarkness on the screen as they doused the lights in the lounge in an unsuccessful attempt to clear it, hearing an account later of the tense moments right after the shooting when photographers and reporters and bystanders crowded in so close over Kennedy and the two other wounded individuals that the senator (prone on the floor with blood all over his face, hands, and hips) finally had to cry out for some air, his mob was suffocating him . . . saw the would-be assassin dragged out surrounded by a tough contingent of a couple dozen cops pushing through the crowd, their captive barely glimpsed between trunks of cops as he hung half-limp yet his muscles tightened trying to roll himself almost into a fetal ball with arms defensively over the crown of his head . . . another supposed assassin got away . . . Andy was sobbing. Her mother clucked about "This country, I don't know . . ." and said to Paul: "Paul, let's move to Australia." Andy declared fiercely through her tears: "I'll bet it was one of those McCarthyites!" She is, predictably, a fanatical Kennedy supporter. I'm for McCarthy. Earlier in the evening, she had been crying, "nearly distraught" as she herself put it at the prospect, which seemed quite likely then according to network projections, of Kennedy's defeat. I watched the TV coverage of the immediate aftermath of his shooting with my jaw hanging, stupefied and shocked in the same way I'd been those interminable leagues of moments that I sat in the Angels' living room watching the progress of their gang rape. The data on the TV began to repeat itself: no new developments. I said good night to Andy and drove to Valley Liquor to pick up some Ezerase typing paper for the philosophy paper I'd planned to write on this all-night speed session. As I paid for it I casually said to the clerk, "Dja hear the news about Bobby Kennedy?" and he said, passing time of day with customer, "Yeah . . . they're gonna hafta stop doing those things."

Andy called me to report through tears that Senator Kennedy was still on the operating table, seven hours since the shooting, she says they got him through the shoulder, neck, and one big corner clipped off the skull behind an ear, three bullets through the smiling young presidential hopeful, and she has sat all night in front of the TV speeding and crying, while I've sat puffing panting with the sustained sex joy of plumbing this my Mainline, jugular vein of memories, convictions of the head and reachings-out of heart all years for some crystalline totality, and this is it, I can't cry this morning, even though America is disintegrating with a rapidity that's even shocking some of the dissidents, with an immutable beam-cracking ruination exceeding the wildest projections of those wooly insurgents America internalized from Tom Paine Franklin and the rest, as I feel the total tornado of the cosmos whirling 'round me "like a Jacuzzi Whirlpool Bath," as all the Grossmont Junior College speakers used to say muckraking at tournaments until poor wop Jacuzzi's millions-maker became a cliché representing the very epitome of our American "decadence," I feel ecstatic chills swirling up and pouring down my limbs and trunk as a day and night of methedrine slowly flakes from me like dried paint flakes from the barnacled bow of a gargantuan ocean liner, all night these mounting hours Senator Robert Kennedy slowly dying on L.A. operating table of sterile stainless steel I've been plumbing this Mainline's depths, new literature aborning in here my recent speed sessions, when that methedrine's in my blood and that blood is in my head, something new, I keep returning in allusions to...

Présentation de l'éditeur

Before his untimely death in 1982, Lester Bangs was inarguably the most influential critic of rock and roll. Writing in hyper-intelligent Benzedrine prose that calls to mind Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson, he eschewed all conventional thinking as he discussed everything from Black Sabbath being the first truly Catholic band to Anne Murray’s smoldering sexuality. In Mainlines, Blood Feasts, Bad Taste fellow rock critic John Morthland has compiled a companion volume to Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, the first, now classic collection of Bangs’s work. Here are excerpts from an autobiographical piece Bangs wrote as a teenager, travel essays, and, of course, the music pieces, essays, and criticism covering everything from titans like Miles Davis, Lou Reed, and the Rolling Stones to esoteric musicians like Brian Eno and Captain Beefheart. Singularly entertaining, this book is an absolute must for anyone interested in the history of rock.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 645 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 429 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0375713670
  • Editeur : Anchor (10 décembre 2008)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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Commentaires en ligne 

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.9 étoiles sur 5  16 commentaires
21 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Everything in the title, and unabashed populism to boot! 4 octobre 2003
Par R. Martin - Publié sur
This is probably the more well-rounded of the two volumes of Bangs' articles and miscellaneous whatnot now available. The big issue I've been having with it is that it was clearly designed as an entry point for curious parties. "Main Lines" avoids being too obscure if it can help it - even Captain Beefheart seems to me part of the Popular Music Canon - and the pieces here are far more watered-down than the ones in "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung." What I mean by that is that, aside from Bangs' juvenalia (which is briefly touched on at the beginning of the book), this book lacks much of the spirit of discovery that was so beautifully brought to the fore in the first. If you're a Bangs fan or a voracious reader of musical criticism, it wouldn't hurt to read this... but if you're new to Bangs and want to know why he's one of the best music journalists of all time, you should pick up "Psychotic Reactions."
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Supercharged rock writing 7 mai 2004
Par Pieter Uys - Publié sur
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. I also recommend the great biography by Jim DeRogatis, titled Let It Blurt: The Life And Times Of Lester Bangs and The Dark Stuff by Nick Kent.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Back With A Bangs 25 août 2003
Par Hal Martin - Publié sur
Lester Bangs is back from the dead with a companion piece to the cult 1987 collection of his writings, Psychotic Reactions And Carburettor Dung. And this new collection is just as good.
MLBFABT eschews the tack that editor Griel Marcus took in PRACD, ie telling Lester's tragically truncated life story through pieces that explained his life and drug-fueled outlook. Here editor John Morthland simply includes new pieces that he thought should not have been missed out from PRACD - heretic pieces on Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones, a great section of Lester's infamous cough syrup-enhanced teenage novel Drug Punk - and cobbles together an excellent new tomestone for Lester's incredible linguistics ability.
If you liked (or, like me, LOVED) PRACD you simply HAVE to have this new volume. You will love it - it's as simple as that. Jim DeRogatis, writer of Bangs bio Let it Blurt, complains on his site ... that there are many pieces not in this new chaotic emotional compendium that he would have included from Lester's estate. This simply says one thing to me: there is room for another volume after this one.
And I for one cannot wait for it.
Lester Bangs RIP, man. You could write like an inkspiller wordplayboy-a-go-go m'main manic maniac man.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 better than dung vol.1 21 septembre 2003
Par bbbiemer - Publié sur
i don't know what some other reviewers are talking about, this is better than Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, this book has some great early writing by lester about america during the time of bobby kennedy's assasination, also has some great writing about the evolution of the punk scene and what exactlly is punk, and his love (lust) letter to Cherie Currie is one of the funniest things i have ever read...
10 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Big Bangs 16 mars 2004
Par wordnat - Publié sur
This + PRACD = essential purchases for Lesterphiles. Trying to choose between the two is like trying to choose between "In a Silent Way" and "Fun House". or "The Ramones" and "The Clash". It's ALL essential. Be greedy.
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