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Correspondence from Readers, Page Two


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Thanx for 'Let It Blurt'


Sat, 03 Jun 2000 22:51:15 +1000


radiocitizen <>


Jim DeRogatis <>




Hello Mr. DeRogatis

I am writing to praise your recent book about Lester Bangs. I bought it

yesterday and have almost finished it - so far I have thoroughly enjoyed


Lester was responsible for introducing me to a lot of the music that I still

love to this day. I first read him in the pages of Creem in 1974 when I was

a clueless 13-year-old growing up near Melbourne, Australia. Even though at

that time I knew next to nothing about most of the musicians he championed -

and nothing about Lester himself - I was immediately attracted to the

obvious sincerity, humour and passion evident in his writing. As a result I

bought many of the albums he recommended and was almost never disappointed

in what I heard as a result ('Horses', Brian Eno, Pharoah Sanders, Miles

Davis, and The Velvet Underground, amongst others).

It got to the point where I could tell what he would think of a particular

record before I even read his review of it - and I almost always agreed with

him. I remember buying Lou Reed's 'The Bells' and immediately falling in

love with it and trying to convince my friends of what a great piece of work

it is - but they all rubbished it mercilessly. The only contrary opinion I

found - and the only one that ended up counting to me - was Lester's

beautiful review in Rolling Stone. What he wrote about 'The Bells' almost

made me cry.

Even though I never knew him personally, it was one of the saddest days in

my life when I heard he was dead. Thankyou for writing a great biography of

a great, great writer and music-lover. More power to you.


Dario Cittadini


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Subj: Bangs book and such

Date: 6/5/00 5:55:00 PM Central Daylight Time

From: RandyF2930

To: JimDeRo

Sent on: AOL 5.0 for Windows


I wanted to thank you for your work on the Lester Bangs bio. I was looking forward to its release and was in no way disappointed after reading it. I honestly had trouble putting it down. As a 36 year old, who began working in record stores at the age of 15, well, I grew up reading Lester in Creem and his other various outlets. His essay on Astral Weeks from Stranded was and is simply one of the greatest things I've ever read. It's funny, I probably started buying Creem when I was about 10 years old, and Lester's style and passion hit me right from the git-go. Also, noticed on the jacket that you've written for World of Wrestling. It's damn hard to find music writers who appreciate decent pro wrestling. Anyhow, you did a wonderful job on the book. Buy the way, do you know what Robert Quine is doing these days?

Take care,

randy fox


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Date: 6/5/00 1:27:31 PM Central Daylight Time






Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. As I mentioned, I wrote the letter

the day I saw the article on the RS online edition, but it took me a while to

track down an e-mail address for you. In addition to Rolling Stone (who will

definitely NOT publish it), I also sent copies of the letter to Chuck Eddy,

Carol Cooper, Ann Powers, Eric Weisbard, Doug Simmons, Vince Aletti, Addicted to

Noise and E-Pulse. Eddy is the only one who bothered to answer me (other than


>> Nicely done. Though really, it sort of gives AD what he wants: He hasn't had

this many people read (and certainly not think) about any of his uninspired

hack prose for years, if ever. And of course there was a blatant conflict for

him, as an unrepentant never-tiring Jann Wenner suck-up (his screed told me

what Wenner thinks of the book, if nothing else). <<

After reading "Let It Blurt" (actually I'm about halfway through it and am

really enjoying it) I can certainly understand why Jann Wenner wanted to take a

swipe at you and Lester. The book paints a rather unflattering portrait of him,

but one which has been confirmed by numerous other sources. I LOVED the story

of Buddy Miles storming the RS offices and Wenner escaping out the fire escape!

Classic! He reminds me of Lorne Michaels, another child of the 60's who started

out in the counterculture and quickly sold out as soon as the opportunity

presented itself. Of course, I've never heard any stories about Lorne being a

chickenhawk! HAH!

It seems from your book that any talented, principled writers didn't last long

at RS, where Wenner's obvious goal was to please his advertisers and the

industry powers that be and to rock the boat as little as possible. What a

dick! And DeCurtis's outburst was so out of proportion to the tone of your book

and so out of step with the general critical opinion of Lester's writing that it

seems obvious that it was an attempted assassination based on an old grudge.

The fact that they only published it online is further proof of their cowardice.

You and I have a similar background. I grduated from high school a year before

you and also grew up in the suburbs of NYC - Westchester Co. While a senior in

high school I also did a music-related independent study project - I worked as

an intern for Stiff Records in NY. I even got to meet Lee Perry, the

Stranglers, John Tiven and The Feelies, and got to see The Plasmatics chainsaw a

TV in half on the old Tom Snyder show. Those were the days! Lester was also

one of my heroes, and your book does his legacy proud. Thanks. I even turned

up my copy of that old issue of Throat Culture up in my mom's attic!

Thanks again for getting back to me and for the wonderful celebration of Lester.


David Leifer


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Subj: Re: wnur documentary

From: (Lisa Trudeau)


At 11:05 AM 5/10/00 -0400, you wrote:


Actually, I'm a big fan of Bangs, too, and if I wasn't the poor college

student that I am I would have bought your book already. (Not that I'm

trying to kiss ass or anything) I have Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor

Dung and his reviews are better than anything being written in music

journalism today (no offense). I love his writing for the same reason I

love Hunter Thompson's -- they write about what's *really* there. Just

like anyone at the Kentucky Derby really goes to get loaded, people listen

to rock not because of the technical prowess of the musicians, but because

of what it does to them when they listen to it. Bangs understood that.

Most critics are just people with opinions who get published, but Lester

Bangs was a rock star himself and his writing was just as important as the

music it was about. And not that you don't obviously know all of this

already, but that's why I love Bangs. I definitely see how Kerouac was a

huge influence on his writing -- I think Bangs has some of the same rhythm

as JK. There's also a sense of the whole first-thought-best-thought thing.

It's all one big expunging of thought without any sort of pretention

whatsoever. As a "budding" music journalist myself, I really respectthat

and try to do that in my own writing. I've learned more from people like

Kerouac, Bangs and Thompson than my clueless newswriting professors in

Medill. It's all about form and streamlining your writing so much that

it's exactly like everyone else's and that's not what I want to do. But

I'm preaching to the choir ...


"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live,mad

to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones

who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like

fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars ..."

--Jack Kerouac

Lisa Trudeau

Northwestern University, Medill School of Journalism '02


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Let It Blurt!!


Wed, 7 Jun 2000 09:32:26 EDT





Just wanted to say I loved your book on Lester -- I was moved and impressed

-- your research, placing him and the era in context, the descriptions of him

and his relationships with colleagues, loved ones were great -- it was one of

those books I ran right thru -- the sense of the loss of him -- the sense of

his contributions -- Thank you!! I'll look forward to anything else you

write on the topic of rock writers and I already have your book on

psychedelic music yet to read!!


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Subj: loved the book

Date: 6/8/00 3:56:32 PM Central Daylight Time

From: (Jim McGaw)




Hi Jim,

Just wanted to drop a line and let you know how much I loved your book

on Lester Bangs. Man, we need him now more than ever.

I know you were critical of some of the selections made by Greil Marcus

in the Bangs' anthology. This begs the obvious question: Why don't you

edit a sequel? I'm the same age as you, but I become hip to Lester only

a few years ago. Thus, most of the stuff I've read by him is in

"Psychotic Reactions." I need more! Is there any Web site that has more

of his writing? I don't think I'll be shelling out $30 for back issues

of Creem.

Again, wonderful job. Your book inspired me to buy some Iggy and another

copy of "Trout Mask Replica." I say "another" because I traded my first

copy in a couple years ago. Damn thing gave me a migraine. I have new

ears now so I'm sure it will sound different this time (either that or

I'll enjoy the migraine.

From one wanna-be critic to the real thing,

Jim McGaw

Portsmouth, RI


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