Even More Blurt-mail

Correspondence from Readers, Page Three



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Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2000 01:45:33 EST
From: "Matt Bell"
To: jimdero@earthlink.net

Yeah, I know, pretty late. I tried to go to sleep around midnight but I
couldn't sleep, ideas keep coming out, very distracting. Is that strange,
that I do my best thinking when I'm trying to sleep?

Anyway, hi how are ya loved the Lester book. I'm seventeen and I recently discovered that I'm going to be a rock critic. I know this because 1) My two biggest passions are writing and music, 2) I'm opinionated and like to tell people these opinions, regardless of their polite pleas for me to stop, and 3) I look like a rock critic. It's true. People tell me this.

So with this accessible Internet thing and you, a rock critic who writes
about tearing down the wall between critic and reader (like Lester), I
figured i should find out just what a critic does. Seems stupid not to ask. So, What does a critic do? What goes on in a typical day for you? What should I do to become one? How did you go from record-buying kid to bigshot rock critic for a major newspaper?

I know some of those questions sounded like career-oriented bullshit but that's the way the world is, I've heard. I would greatly appreciate if you could answer these questions. Christ, I have to wake up at 8.

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From: "John Stewart"
To: jimdero@earthlink.net
Sent: July 16, 2000 10:02:15 AM GMT
Subject: Let It Blurt

Hi Jim.

I am e-mailing you from Belfast where I have been spending the last few days dodging the violence and roadblocks here at present by sitting in and reading "Let It Blurt". I just wanted to tell you that it is a wonderful book. I knew nothing about Lester Bangs and the book was actually given to me as a leaving present from my last job. The guy who bought it for me is a Lester fan and he thought I would be interested in his connections with the wonderful Lou Reed, the Beats and The Rolling Stones, all of whom I admire tremendously.

I am not normally moved to contact authors (most of my favourite writers are dead anyway) but I just wanted to let you know how entertaining and informative "Let it Blurt" is. It seems that the world is a lesser (and quieter) place without Lester. Thanks for the best read I have had in a LONG time.

John Stewart

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Subj: music and junk
Date: 7/18/00 11:12:04 AM Central Daylight Time
From: Artknarf
To: JimDeRo
Sent on: AOL 5.0 for Windows sub 105

Hello Jim! As a long time fan of your writing and wit I was very happy yesterday to come upon your web site and the launch site. See I moved from Chicago two years ago. Now I live in a small bucolic town in Michigan. It is great being here because I am an artist, a painter that likes to paint out in a field or in a woods that sort of thing. However, this area is far from being a culture overload.

Reading your launch RFL archives is bringing me up to date on music. It also reminded me of way back when. I used to listen to you when you did the S.O. show w/Wyman! That was a great show! I used to write and call in often. IM glad to see you are on again, as my God a city the size of Chicago should have at least one good program. Radio is terrible, not only does one hear the same playlist everywhere in the country, but even the same voice for the promo's and station I. D tag's. It is really sick. Another thing, why in the world do classic rock, and oldies always play the same songs! I mean I am sure that the people that listen to these things would not mind hearing something different. I would like to hear a variety you know? Like there is a whole history of rock and roll that people could enjoy, not just the same twelve artists. And if they must (the oldies stations) play the same artists, they could still change it up and play something that wasn't a hit single! I think it comes down to a greed that underestimates the audience. I have always felt that you speak in your writing like the reader is your friend or at least as smart as you are.

You can imagine my pleasure then upon finding all this writing and paraphernalia of your on the web! That's one great thing about this net world, it is so much easier to find info about the stuff one likes. After spending a year and a half looking for the apples first album, I found it in like ten seconds after getting on line!
I remember when I was around fifteen (I am about two years younger than you I think) and going to the local used record store and spending hours bent over in a hot crowded space to carefully look through old copies of creem and sometimes rolling stone,although,even then I knew that pretty much sucked. I looked for anything on the velvets and Lou reed or Syd Barrett. Eventually from reading these things I started to find and enjoy the writing of Lester Bangs. Hell I started picking up back issues for the sole reason that they had a Lester Bangs article,regardles of whom he was writing about! That's one of the things that you are like Lester for me,

It doesn't matter what the piece is about, it is always entertaining. You both hipped me to a lot of great music. You both write with a lot of heart. And you write like the fans are your friends, you don't praise everything under the sun, even if it work from an artist you like. That last point is very helpful because, as a person whom has a budget, with only so much going to music, I want to get the good stuff. I remember an old S.O. show you did with Bill Wyman. Robin Hitchcock was on, it was a great show and I love Robins work. The thing was, you said what are some of the key albums for fans to pick up, and Bill listed about thirteen things! You said,"oh great you just spent a hundred dollars of the fans money!" As you might have guessed by now,

I was very happy to see that your book on Lester is out. I ordered it from amazon (how do they stay in biz,they have a huge debt, and their stock is droping)last night, and can't wait to start reading. By the way I think that its great that you had the book at the bar party with the money going to Cabrini Green tutoring Program, I did a little bit of volunteer work with Nike (I know Nike!but..,)and some kids from Cabrini and found it incredible. I really

Enjoyed reading the interview you did with Lester, thanks for putting it on-line. The photos were great, they help convey the experience so well. The amazing thing is how well that it still reads as an interview. Of course there is considerable archive and sentimental value. I really enjoyed how Lester was asking for your opinion on stuff. Thanks for sharing what must have been a great and important experience. And whom better to have that experience than the" worlds second greatest rock critic",or "the only critic that matters!" or "my favorite rock writer." Thanks for continuing, your work is much appreciated

Frank Taylor

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Subj: For Third Eye Blind, "Let it Blurt," and most important, keeping it real!
Date: 7/17/00 2:52:20 PM Central Daylight Time
From: brew_haus@yahoo.com (Andrew)
Reply-to: brew_haus@yahoo.com
To: jimdero@aol.com

First off, I'd like to thank you for an excellent book that's greatly influenced my music and life. A book that everyone should read.

Second, we at messages.punkrock.net salute you for your wonderful Third Eye Blind interview! THANK YOU!

There is hope, and his name is Jim DeRogatis! ; )


Andrew Hollis
The University of Miami School of Music - Music Engineering

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Subj: it's all YOUR fault
Date: 7/17/00 1:04:51 AM Central Daylight Time
From: Sb taylor
To: JimDeRo
Sent on: AOL 5.0 for Windows sub 110


i've missed a deadline, and i wanted you to know that it's all YOUR fault!

to refresh your memory, i am a freelance reviewer for launch and other outlets who's exchanged a few emails with you in the past few weeks.

i've been working on a review of john lennon's "gimme some truth - the making of john lennon's 'imagine' album" DVD for The All Music Guides, and was sailing smoothly until your frigging book hit my mailbox. i can't put the bastard thing down!

despite some of the criticism i've read about it, i think you did a great job of balancing his self-destructive vs. constructive (i.e. his prodigious output), and his personally abrasive and endearing sides.

kudos and continued success.

but please, no more books 'til i catch up on my assignments.


scott taylor

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Subject: A plug for you
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 20:10:13 -0700
From: "Martens, Todd"
To: "'jimdero@earthlink.net'"


I wanted to point you to the following link:


Just click on your name.

Go easy on me, and feel free to tell me I'm full of crap -- I'm still a
pretty young writer. That's been my excuse for a couple years, though, so I suppose I'm going to have to start coming up with something different. I'm a Chicago-native, and a budding music writer, and try to read your columns on-line, but, alas, miss some. I'm dying to get back to my home city, but until I find a job back home, I have my dad tape "Sound Opinions" for me and ship them out here a month late. I'm actually two and a half months behind right now, but I never got around to thanking you and Greg for introducing me to Loraxx last winter. I never would have heard about them out here in L.A., and I still keep spinning that record.

Hope the reading goes well, and hope to have a chance to meet you there.

Take care,

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Subj: Let it Blurt
Date: 6/26/00 2:00:07 PM Central Daylight Time
From: Jim_Mueller@immc.org
To: jimdero@aol.com

Jim Mueller@IMMC
06/26/2000 01:37 PM

Greetings Gate!

You're getting an interesting plug for Let it Blurt on the findagrave.com web page. Put it this way, I wasn't aware you'd written about Lester Bangs until I pulled up his name under their new listings.

So you have one sale through findagrave...and who knows how many more?

As a high school lad in Concord, California (circa 1971-74), I'd drop by Banana Records or The Wherehouse and buy Creem and cackle over Mr. Bangs, who, if I'm not mistaken, also coined the term "fuckstick," as in, "He's a worthless little fuckstick."

So do you remember the name of the Creem mascot? Wasn't it something like "Mr. Dream Whip"

I've ordered the book. I'm sure I'll enjoy re-visiting your old friend Bangs.

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Subj: Just thot I'd give it a shot!
Date: 6/23/00 6:38:18 PM Central Daylight Time
From: nrwidow@mpinet.net (Patricia Ragan Hoehner)
Reply-to: nrwidow@mpinet.net (Patricia Ragan Hoehner)
To: JimDeRo@aol.com

Dear Jim:

Hopefully you still have this address up and working. You don't remember me, because you never met me. So don't plex, bro. I just
wanted to tell you I loved your faithful, reverent bio of LB.I'd been a fan of his since the Phonograph Record Magazine days: my first rock magazine. I was so 'in love' with Detroit rock then. Sigh. Misspent youth and all that.

I worked (?) at Punk Mag back in the day, and while I adored Lester as a writer, I can't say he did a lot for me as a person: he did cause us untold misery with his 'White Noise Supremacists'. I'm embarrassed, in a way, to tell you that I'm one of those broads who called black guys 'boons' and offended him so.

BTW: in your 'about the author' blurb on the back, I enjoyed reading about your daughter. I have a son who is 11 now and he HATES rock and roll. out of principal, I believe. I introduced him to a number of Mommy's 'rock star friends' (well, a couple of em made it: Glenn Danzig, Dave Wyndorf and Danny Rey). He could care less. he like s Weird Al more,

I gotta go watch wrestling now.

Much love,
Denmom Punk Mag 1977 thru the bitter bitter end.

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From: RSmithFW@aol.com
To: jimdero@earthlink.net
Sent: June 19, 2000 1:15:51 PM GMT
Subject: Creem Resources?

Hi, Mr. DeRogatis. I just finished reading Let it Blurt, and I want to
thank you for doing such justice to Bangs' story. I've been a fan of his writing ever since I picked up Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung in 1988 (I admit I was a late-comer -- I was born a year after the first MC5 review).

I especially wanted to thank you for revealing the identity of the author of the "From the Cloud of Lester Bangs" notes that bookended Psychotic Reactions -- I've always been curious about that.

I do have a question for you. Are there any easily accessible resources
(online or otherwise) where I can find copies of Bangs' old Creem reviews and features? There was, at one time, a fan who had posted a few of them on the Web, but his old URL is dead.

Thanks again for the book.

Robert J. Smith
Cleona, PA

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Subj: Hope you don't mind me asking
Date: 6/18/00 7:44:21 PM Central Daylight Time
From: ZiggyExile
To: JimDeRo
Sent on: AOL 4.0 for Mac - Post-GM sub 146

I loved Let It Blurt.

Will there ever be a complete Bangs anthology? (I'm sure you're asked all the time.)

Thanks so much,

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Subj: Let It Blurt rocks!
Date: 6/19/00 8:09:06 AM Central Daylight Time
From: HaiKutsut
To: JimDeRo
Sent on: AOL 4.0 for Mac - Post-GM sub 146

Hi Jim,

This is Mike Mettler, Editor-In-Chief of CAR STEREO REVIEW'S MOBILE ENTERTAINMENT and husband of Krista Mettler, whom you listed in the Acknowledgements section of Let It Blurt. Just wanted to drop you a quick line to say that I just finished reading Blurt, and loved every minute of it. It was my "after midnight" reading for about a month, the last thing I'd read each night before turning in. I've had a Lester quote up on my wall at the office here for over 10 years: "Music is about feeling, passion, love, anger, joy, fear, hope, lust, emotion delivered at its most powerful and direct in whatever form." I try to keep that in mind every day as I wade through the never-ending stacks of dross that pile up on my desk, ever in search of that elusive CD that gets my juices flowing.

At any rate, if you plan to update the book for future editions, you may want to ring up Steve Simels, who was Lester's assigning editor at Stereo Review. Steve mostly does freelance stuff these days, including video & DVD reviews for my sister publication, Stereo Review's Sound & Vision.

Thanks again for a great read.


Mike Mettler

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From: "Doug Cawker"
To: jimdero@earthlink.net
Sent: June 17, 2000 3:04:39 AM GMT
Subject: rock n' roll!

Hi Jim!

My name's Doug Cawker (Dooger when I wrote record reviews for Flipside for over 5 long years), and I wanted to drop a quick note and let you know that Lester would have been proud.. your book was an excellent read! It was my salvation while I was in L.A. over the past month and a half shopping a feature film adaption of the renowned documentary, HEAVY METAL PARKING LOT.

I used to read Creem as a kid growing up in Edmonton, Canada and could hardly wait to read Lester's hilarious ramblings about the pomposity of rock in the 70's.. Hell, he introduced me to the Stooges, NY Dolls, and a host of other bands that influenced my life decisions many decades later.. By the way, I saw the Wire cover band doing Pink Flag at the RPM club in Toronto many moons ago and the band was great, as well..

Anyhow, that's about it... keep up the great work!

Bye for now,

P.S. I made a shoestring punk film called, BORN TO LOSE a few years ago and
have a web site for it at: www.borntolose.com if you're at all interested.
P.P.S. I'm sure you're aware of Cameron Crowe's film about Lester coming
up.. it should be interesting.. he deserves it!!

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From: Joe Bonomo
To: jimdero@earthlink.net
Sent: June 17, 2000 8:48:47 PM GMT
Subject: "Let it Blurt"

Dear Jim DeRogatis:

I am writing to tell you how much I am enjoying "Let it Blurt." While
Bangs has always been one of my favorite writers (Marcus' collection
did it for me in college) your biography has brought him and the
seventies rock & roll scene/atmosphere to spirited life. Your research
and dedication to your purpose are very impressive, and I love that you
brought to the page the breadth of a story that might have been

I also want to mention that this summer I am starting work on a book
about The Fleshtones called "Pocketful of Change." It is a
band-authorized bio documenting the group's place in the NY rock & roll scene of the late 70s/early 80s (Queens, Maxwells, CBGB, Marty Thau and Red Star, Tropicana Hotel, I.R.S. Records, etc.) and bringing it all up to date. As you know, the band is still going strong despite "missing" their golden opportunity for hits and fame in the mid-80s, putting on legendary shows around the world and releasing records with unprecedented regularity. I have long thought that they are a criminally underappreciated and wrongly-pigeonholed band (they aren't just a "party band" or they would've imploded or gotten bored years ago) whose story of work ethic and longevity should be told, especially considering their ties with Television, Suicide, Thau, The Cramps, Maxwells, Andy Warhol, R.E.M., etc., etc..

I'm staying in NYC for a couple of weeks to start interviews and
research, and I wonder if you have any anecdotes, memories, or material that you think might be relevant for my book. Short of that, any advice or suggestions that you can give me (regarding the band in
context of history, etc.) would be greatly appreciated, as I am a
regular admirer of your writing and beat-knowledge.

Thanks a lot for your time. I hope to hear from you.

Joe Bonomo
DeKalb IL

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From: PRK888@aol.com
To: jimdero@earthlink.net
Sent: June 17, 2000 4:47:43 AM GMT
Subject: Dear Jim:

Dear Jim:

Hi, my name is Phil. I recently finished reading your new book, Let It
Blurt, and think that it is just terrific. In my opinion, your new work is really an excellent opus.

I think your book captures the sensitive soul that Lester was, and your own prose shows compassion and empathy for this intellectually and emotionally complicated person known as Lester Bangs.

I have been a fan of Lester's since Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung was edited and released by Greil Marcus in 1988, and have been wondering when more literature about Lester would be released. Other than a brief appearance of the aforementioned Marcus book in Cameron Crowe's Singles film in 1992 (didja notice the woman reading it in the Seattle coffee bar? having read about Lester's and Cameron's relationship in your book, I think I understand Crowe's choice), it is welcome to see another volume published about Lester at last.

Two questions:

1. You were fortunate enough to have met Lester several months before he died. What was he like as a person? How did he interact with you? Did he seem as bright, funny and warm in person as he did (at times) in his writing?

2. Now that your 3 year / 18 year Lester project is done, what are your
plans for your next book?

I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Phil Klausner, of 1/2 a mile south of 6th Avenue from where your cover shot
of Lester was taken

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From: Jason Schneider
To: jimdero@earthlink.net
Sent: June 14, 2000 5:33:53 PM GMT
Subject: lester in playboy?

Hello Mr. DeRogatis,
First, a sincere thanks for your fine work on Let It Blurt. I owe my five year "career" as a music journalist in southern Ontario and for national Canadian publications largely to Lester. My life was changed when I read the article Psychotic Reactions... in a Creem anniversary issue when I was a wee lad in the early '80s, and ever since, his work and the work of all the others you talk about in the book has continually inspired me to interpret my own experiences with music in an honest and passionate manner.

I'm writing regarding your Lester bibliography and your request for info on things you might have missed. After going through it, I was reminded of a piece I'm convinced I saw in one of my Dad's old Playboys which I don't think you mentioned. It was a short piece in the music reviews section about the disco scene in New York, so it was obviously from the late '70s, and seemed not dissimilar from the story you included of Lester's night out at the disco. I wish I still have it for confirmation, since I would hate to send you on a futile search, but my photographic memory is hardly ever wrong. I hope this helps if you're trying to compile a complete list, but I felt compelled to write you anyway just to say a job well done. Hopefully you will be able to read my oral history of Canadian rock from 1985-95 when it is published next year.

All the best,
Jason Schneider
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

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