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Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader Paperback – August 12, 2003

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Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader + Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung: The Work of a Legendary Critic: Rock'N'Roll as Literature and Literature as Rock 'N'Roll + Let it Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America's Greatest Rock Critic
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For fans of one of the most vocal and irreverent critical voices in rock and roll, this newly issued Bangs reader will be a boon. Serving as a companion to the 1987 collection Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, this volume is a selection of 54 pieces, some of which have been recently uncovered. In his introduction, Morthland, a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly, offers a paean to Bangs, who died in 1982 of a drug overdose, describing him as the "best-known bull-in-a-china-shop... who was always dangerously loaded, who could be so insulting and malicious as well as self-destructive... who had an expansive lust for life and a sense of humor and (sometimes even, and for no apparent reason) cheerfulness to match it." Within these pages, the acerbic Bangs takes on Dylan ("Dylan merely used Civil Rights and the rest of the Movement to advance himself in the first place") and encourages the Stones in a 1973 Creem article ("I challenge those lazy, sniveling, winded mothermissers to PRODUCE"). There's plenty here to entertain music fans and inspire today's critics of rock and roll.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-A collection of the rock critic's essays from 1968 to 1982. Bangs is as engaging to read today as he was in earlier years as his themes-music and musicians, and how people react to them-are timeless. His writing conveys the many layers of feeling that music can create. Some of the bands and musicians are still popular and some are still active, but even when he writes about those no longer current, he can make readers think anew about any type of music. The other great appeal of this book is the sheer quality of the writing, which connects the audience effortlessly and instantaneously with Bangs's thoughts. Those who truly love music or who enjoy good writing will appreciate this book.
Ted Westervelt, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (August 12, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375713670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375713675
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By R. Martin on October 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
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."
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAME on May 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
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.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Hal Martin on August 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By bbbiemer on September 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
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...
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By wordnat on March 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Battista on January 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
Its a rock n roll tragedy that it's taken this long for more Lester Bangs to be collected under a book cover. John Morthland's offering doesnt quite match up to Marcus' "Psychotic Reactions" in that it doesnt tell a(his) story;it's "The Best Of Lester That Wasn't In Psychotic Reactions..." instead. Which is not a bad thing at all;you get Lester's first review of the MC5's "Kick Out The Jams" album, scathing dissections of Bob Dylan and the Beatles' sociological signficance in the wake of their breakup,and his ironic pining for Anne Murray. Also on heightened display here is his utter negativity and despair during the seventies that characterized most of his output during that period. Im reading Meltzer's "Whore Just Like The Rest" now, and even though Im getting into it more, Meltzer may have been the firstest, but Lester was the bestest. Youngins who think rock selling out is a new concept better take a listen to Lester and realize the rock ship was sinking before she even got out of the dock.
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Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader
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