Lester Bangs and
THAN HEAVEN, the new biography of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross, the former
editor of the Seattle Rocket, is an impressive journalistic accomplishment, and I
cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who loved or was intrigued by the music of
Nirvana, or who simply appreciates great rock journalism or well-written and exhaustively
Among the things I learned about Cobain was that he was a
major fan of Lester Bangs, at one point writing a letter to the long-dead Lester in his
journals, and at another falling for neo-folkie Mary Lou Lord in part because of their
mutual attraction to Lester (I mentioned Lord's obsession in the Afterword of LET IT
BLURTand I seriously regret not knowing more about Cobain's Lester fandom at
the time I interviewed him in 1993, shortly before the release of In Utero).
P. 177: "In his journals, Kurt wrote a letter to the long-dead
critic Lester Bangs, complaining about the state of rock journalisma profession that
both fascinated and repulsed himby asking, "Why in the hell do journalists
insist on coming up with a second-rate Freudian evaluation of my lyrics, when 90 percent
of the time they've transcribed them incorrectly?"