Kate's Reviews > Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader

Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste by Lester Bangs
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May 11, 2010

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Once at an allergist appointment to treat my asthma I had to use a nebulizer, a machine to help my medication get deep into my lungs. There were two end results: I started breathing better and was high on oxygen and I got more medication into me than normal and got high on that. Basically, I was high as a kite for an hour or two and then it wore off. But for that brief period of time, I was happy and did everything at warp speed and was lovin' life.
Lester Bangs, for those of you not familiar with him, was a rock critic who was lovin' life a lot of the time, but he wasn't being supplied with happy, legal drugs from his allergist. When you read his work, you don't have to be told, though he does tell you, that he often wrote under the influence of a myriad of things. Sometimes his reviews don't make a stitch of sense. Other times they are pure genius.

The bottom line is, if you consider yourself music savvy, you should know who Lester Bangs is. If you need an introduction to his work, Mainlines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader is a great place to get it. The reader is a collection of Bangs' writing, edited by friend John Morthland. Most of the reviews are written as Bangs must of spoke. In fact, I often found myself reading his work out loud because they sounded better than they read. He would write an accent - not in a Zore Neale Hurtson I-spell-out-dialect sort of way, but in a William Shakespeare rhyme-and-meter-are-everything sort of way. It's magic.

Some of the reviews in Mainlines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader are tedious and near impossible to get through. He often refers to music that is most likely inaccessible to you, because, let's be frank, the man was a music snob. Snobbery or no, he knew his stuff and his developed completely original creative ways to write reviews.

Bangs loved life a little too hard and died of an overdose in 1982. He is still remembered in movies like Almost Famous and his mark is left on music / rock criticism everywhere.
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