Leslie 'Lester' Bangs is immortalized as being the greatest rock critic ever, but a more critical summary of his life would be this: he was a drug addict who earned a living degrading a profession he always dreamed for himself but never fully achieved.
According to accounts from close friends, Bangs was a highly-opinionated terror during his adolescent and teen years who often amused himself by stealing records and cough syrup (the cause of his demise).
Perhaps Bangs' most redeeming quality was that he refused to conform his views to appease the PR-friendly scene being established within the music industry in the 1970s and 80s. His reviews were equal parts offensive and truthful, but -- more often -- unnecessarily vulgar. Here's an excerpt from his review of Neil Diamond's Hot August Nights that appeared in the March 15, 1973 issue of Rolling Stone:
"...Here on the very front cover is Neil in full flight, working it on out and what is he doing? Pretending to jerk off, that's what. He's pantomiming whanging his clanger, and from the look on his face I'd say he's about to shoot off, and the only bogus part is that he'd like everybody out there to think it's 13 inches long..."
Here are some relevant (and tame) complaints from Bangs. All quotations were sourced from Sue Mathews' 90-minute interview with Bangs on May 13, 1980.
See also: Why Do We Still Care About Lester Bangs?
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