Lester Bangs

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Leslie Conway "Lester" Bangs (December 13, 1948 – April 30, 1982) was an American music journalist, author and musician. He wrote for Creem and Rolling Stone magazines,[1] and has been called one of the "most influential" voices in rock criticism.[2]



Bangs was born in Escondido, California, USA. His mother was a devout Jehovah's Witness. His father died in a fire when Bangs was young. In 1969, Bangs began writing freelance after reading an ad in Rolling Stone soliciting readers' reviews. His first piece was a negative review of the MC5 album Kick Out The Jams, which he sent to Rolling Stone with a note detailing that should the magazine decide not to publish the review, then they would have to contact Lester and tell him why. Instead, they published it.

He wrote about Janis Joplin's death by drug overdose, "It's not just that this kind of early death has become a fact of life that has become disturbing, but that it's been accepted as a given so quickly".[3] In 1973, Jann Wenner fired Bangs from Rolling Stone, a negative review of Canned Heat being the final event.[4] He moved to Detroit to edit and write for Creem. After leaving Creem, he wrote for The Village Voice, Penthouse, Playboy, New Musical Express, and many other publications.

Bangs idolized the noise music of Lou Reed.[6] Bangs wrote the essay/interview "Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves" about Reed in 1975.[7]

Bangs was also a musician in his own right. He teamed up with Joey Ramone's brother, Mickey Leigh to put together a New York group named Birdland. In 1980 he traveled to Austin, Texas and met a punk rock group named the Delinquents. During his stay in Austin he recorded an album as Lester Bangs and the Delinquents entitled Jook Savages on the Brazos.

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