Until his death aged thirty-three in 1982, Lester Bangs wrote wired, rock 'n' roll pieces on Iggy Pop, The Clash, John Lennon, Kraftwerk, Lou Reed. As a rock critic, he had an eagle-eye for distinguishing the pre-packaged imitation from the real thing; written in a conversational, wisecracking, erotically charged style, his hallucinatory hagiographies and excoriating take-downs reveal an iconoclast unafraid to tell it like it is. To his journalism he brought the talent of a great a renegade Beat poet, and his essays, reviews and scattered notes convey the electric thrill of a music junky indulging the habit of a lifetime. As Greil Marcus writes in his introduction, '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.'
The essential writings of the greatest music writer of the twentieth, or any, century, reissued as a Serpent's Tail Classic
Bangs was one of the best writers ever to appear on newsprint ... when he died, American culture lost one its most astute, ornery, funniest and most soulful observers New York Times Still a byword for rock writing at its most unrestrained and passionate ... his two posthumous anthologies ... attest to his brilliance -- John Harris Guardian A superb collection ... wild and funny and unpredictable. Lester Bangs was a great American writer who happened to write about rock 'n' roll Rolling Stone A marvellous collection ... it will unquestionably teach you more about rock music and the appreciation thereof than a two-year subscription to all of the current British rock papers and mags Time Out