Lester Bangs, 1948-1982

Lester Bangs

My responsibility as I see it as a critic is not to help a lot of new bands sell their records. It’s to help people who are buying the records to keep from making a purchase that they’re going to get home and hate my guts and the band’s too because it’s a piece of shit. And these critics, most of them, it’s much easier to help the bands, because you get more work that way and every magazine wants to print reviews that say, “This is wonderful, this is great, go out and buy it.” A lot of magazines won’t even print negative reviews. A friend of mine does a record review column in Esquire, and it’s like five positive reviews every time. They don’t want you to say anything that’s bad because they don’t get advertising bucks that way. So it becomes like a facet of your groovy modern lifestyle. Well fuck that shit.


When I look back on it, it was obvious that I was gonna end up doing this because my two big obsessions were always music and writing. It’s an outgrowth of being a fanatical record collector and a fanatical listener. You have fanatical opinions that you want to inflict on people.


I don’t know where I can go really from having as bad an attitude as I do, but it’s the only attitude I think that you can have.

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