East Bay J's Reviews > Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung

Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs
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's review
Feb 07, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: about-music

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 out more about 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!
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Reading Progress

February 7, 2009 – Shelved
Started Reading
March 19, 2009 – Shelved as: about-music
March 19, 2009 – Finished Reading

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