Let It Blurt

The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, Americas Greatest Rock Critic


Let It Blurb


Lester Bangs lived fast, died young, and left a beautiful body of work. Jim DeRogatis, himself a gifted writer on rock and roll, knows both of Bangs' worlds--the music and the journalism--and has written an elegy for one of the few critics whose work is worth reading for itself, apart from its subjects. ROGER EBERT


Finally the great American writer gets the book he deserves. LET IT BLURT is a personal journey through the wit and theworld and the ferocious spirit of Lester Bangs... DeRogatis brilliantly delivers the long-awaited biography of Bangs with an explosion and a commitment that Bangs himself would have appreciated--it reads like rock and roll. CAMERON CROWE


LET IT BLURT tells one of the essential rock and roll stories with great affection and panache. Lester Bangs -- paradigm, mystery, great writer, tragicomic presence -- has been given the biography he deserves. But LET IT BLURT also manages to paint of remarkable portrait of a group of writers inventing a critical genre and immediately having it bought out from underneath them, illuminating the commodification of rebellion which became Bangs' own great theme. A splendid book. JONATHAN LETHEM


Lester Bangs pounded the typewriter keys as they were the cavalry coming to the rescue--everything he wrote, from his eulogies of Elvis and John Lennon to record reviews knocked off in the middle of the night--was a forward charge. A performance artist on the page, Bangs turned rock criticism and personal soul-baring into standup comedy. Like Sam Kinison, another unclassifiable American original who died too young, he saw humor as the most honest road to salvation. Bangs' feud with Lou Reed, his editorship of Creem, his Kerouackian writing jags, his own woozy quest to become a punk singer--all contributed to a legend that hid a real-life story waiting to be told. I recognize the Lester Bangs I knew in Jim DeRogatis's biography (a superb piece of detective work), and see sides of him I didn't know were there.  JAMES WOLCOTT


If the popular media's short attention span caused the work of Lester Bangs to be forgotten, it would be a disaster for the entire culture of rock & roll. With this vivid and carefully researched biography, Jim DeRogatis has done everything in his power to ensure this won't happen. MICK FARREN


To those who knew him, Lester Bangs was a force of nature, "larger than life" and all such biz. For a mere book to capture the full sweep of his mind/body at speed and at rest may be too tall an order, but Let It Blurt is a welcome stab indeed at the whole Lester thing. RICHARD MELTZER


LET IT BLURT is a passionate, meticulous, disgusting, brutally honest, and ultimately extremely compassionate book. Its subject, the legendary rock critic Lester Bangs, swung through life on a pendulum set into crazy motion by a Jehovah's Witness childhood, grim drug and alcohol addictions, an extraordinary and extraordinarily unsentimental love for life and music, and the profound sense of embarrassment that permeates the life of those who long to participate but who are ultimately born to observe, his angsts and joys the raw fodder for some of the best popular music criticism America has yet produced. Jim DeRogatis deftly and unobtrusively collects the vast, messy, splattery effluvia of a notoriously chaotic and unkempt life, presenting it to us with laudable skill and patience, letting the funky debris of Bangs' life settle into an uncanny portrait of a grotesque and paradoxically endearing genius. HANNE BLANK, writer, musicologist, and cultural historian


If you believe, as I do, that a writer's worth is determined by the intensity to which they instill in the reader a desire to "go grab a cool one" with said writer, then Lester Bangs may be the greatest author of all time. And since even a theoretical beer is out of the question with Lester, then LET IT BLURT serves as (in the words of the Dictators) the "Next Big Thing." Jim DeRogatis succeeded in his goal of creating a insomnia-inducing page-turner that attempts not to capture, contain, or eulogize Lester Bangs, but to harmonize anecdotes, concrete facts and his own writings into a comprehensive appraisal ofthe man behind the counter-countercultural myth--the fragile spastic soul responsible (God bless/forgive him) for the genre of rock criticism.... There isn ot a doubt in my mind that an essence of Lester is transubstantiated by this book; Lester is here, bumps and all--every stink, every miscalculation, every romantic fuck-up. DAVE DUNLAP, Cimarron Weekend


Click here for an email from Julian Cope


Click here for a fax from Billy Corgan


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Forward to Assorted Bangsisms