Still More Blurt-mail



Correspondence from Readers, Page Four



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Sent: Friday, September 08, 2000 6:53 AM

Subject: hats off from Night Rally magazine


 dear jim:


 you really buried that e mail address on that site. but i found it, and that  saved me a phone call to chicago (i like chicago. don't you wish they sold  nelson algren action figures on the streets?)


 THANK YOU for writing "let it blurt". my father bought me "psychotic  reactions and carburetor dung" when i was a teen-- lester was a huge  influence on my life and my writing career; i did rock writing as a young  woman, and have been publishing fiction for eleven years.  now, i am running my own literary magazine, NIGHT RALLY, and our first issue  has been well received. we are published out of philadelphia, and while we  often try to feature philly artists, we are not "local"; we sponsored a  fiction component of the longstanding piccolo spoleto festival in charleston,  south carolina this past spring, and we have fiction and prose by the late  andy kaufman in our next issue.  


 to find out more about the magazine in general, go to:


 amber dorko stopper

 editor in chief

 night rally magazine


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From: Daniel Hannon 


Sent: Saturday, September 02, 2000 5:21 AM

Subject: Lester Bangs



Dear Jim,

Just a thank you to say how much I really enjoyed "Let it Blurt". I have a two page article written about a meeting with Lester in 1981 by Jon Langford of the Mekons. It was written to coincide with the re-release of psychotic reactions and carburettor dung in England and was published in Q magazine around winter 1996. I can't be more precise because I don't have the rest of the magazine ( I ripped the article off from the staff copy of the magazine at HMV where I was working at the time). If you are interested in reading it let me know and I will get it scanned and sent to you.

Yours sincerely 

Daniel Hannon.


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From: Bill Tuomala 


Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2000 1:50 AM

Subject: thanks





Lester Bangs has been my favorite writer ever since I got Psychotic Reactions for Christmas back in '87. I remember you saying on your last Sound Opinions show here in the Twin Cities a few years back that you were working on a Lester Bangs bio, and I awaited its publication from that day on. 


So I had to write you to say that Let It Blurt is some great work. I plan on reading it again this fall as I blew through it so fast last spring. I already know I'll enjoy it the second time around.


keep up the good work


Bill Tuomala



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From: "ray hadlock"


Sent: August 27, 2000 7:23:37 PM GMT

Subject: 'Extra CREEM'?



Hey Jim--


I'm Clyde Raymond Hadlock & I freelanced stuff to CREEM; I

think the 1st stuff appeared in about 1/74-- I had maybe 7 or 8 reviews &

a few Rock-a-ramas & a feature between then & I dunno, maybe '76 or '77.

Never met Lester face-to-face, but as you can imagine we talked quite a bit

on the phone-- his letters are most likely lost. You're getting the short

version of all this, since I can still hear Lester screaming "three hundred

words, ya fuckin' beatnik!" I would love to see another Lester collection.

Can you imagine my elation and then horror when I saw CD in the bookstore

only to discover it had been assembled by Greil Marcus? He monkey-fucked it

exactly as badly as I knew he would-- in other words about 40% of the

stuff included & excluded made perfect sense to him & no one else. I could

hose-whip him for leaving out the Bay City Rollers thing from PRM. And so


Well, there I go-- anyway, I can't imagine you didn't uncover the

'Extra Creem' inserts in the center of issues of CREEM that circulated in

Michigan-- surely Jaan or somebody else had some? They might have had a

different name even, but they were these stapled-in yellow paper inserts

with 'local' coverage-- maybe Lester didn't do anything noteworthy? It

seems like I remember a review of a local bar he did: 'The jukebox was

broken and it played 'Mississippi Queen' or something equally appropriate

all night and nobody noticed...' Well, certainly he woulda written for

that section too, & certainly it woulda been noteworthy... Hope somebody

has some, if they've been overlooked-- I probably will remember other

stuff too, as soon as I send this-- sorry I 'missed' you if you were

trying to track me down (& if you were, that's pretty scary). I might have

been able to provide a useable story or two-- he still owes me copies of

_Raw Power_ for that fucking 8-track of _Metal Machine Music_ I stole from

the record store for him-- imagine being polygraphed in a Holiday Inn by a

retired police sergeant and telling him 'of course we steal from them--

I'm getting 2.75 an hour-- I stole _Metal Machine Music_ for Lester Bangs,

an important American writer, who needed it for research purposes, so that

he could monitor the effects it has on pedestrians...'

Anyway, as infuriating as he could be, he did more good than harm in

my life and I miss him every day-- how many times a week do YOU see/hear

something & think "I wish Lester were here to throw down on this...' ? Yep.

Well, fuck the 300 words; any bio is a lot like the

3-blind-guys-describing-the-elephant story, and all-in-all I was pretty

happy with your book-- I would trust you to assemble another collection of

Lester's stuff and get it right and I hope you get the chance. Write if you

see fit...




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Date: 8/27/00 11:42:06 AM Central Daylight Time

From: AliBnSkemr

To: JimDeRo

Sent on: AOL 4.0 for Windows sub 104


Hi Jim--reading your book on Lester and hats off to you--its excellent. A cranky old prog fan like me finds plenty of offense in many of his screeds. But my love of a good slam almost makes me forgive. Which leads to a favor I must ask of you: I have been searching the web for the text of Blood Feast of Reddy Kilowatt! for what seems like forever. Would you be able to help me find a copy (why its not in carbeurator dung i wonder)?


Best to you and yours--and thanks for reveiwing the Halford CD--just bought it and its great!




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 From: Steve Crawford 

 To: <

 Date: 8/19/00 9:33:06 PM

 Subject: Bangs




 I just read the Lester Bangs book. Great book and undoubtedly it was a

labor of love. Hope I'm not annoying you by dropping you a line.


 Shameless request: I'm a big Cheap Trick fan and I didn't know Lester

ever wrote about them. Do you have the copy of the review he did on the

first Cheap Trick album (Stereo Review, Sep 77)? I'd love to see that.


 I started reading Creem about 1980 and it became a bible for me. I used

to memorize every issue. (I see we might have some similar interests -

I've had letters published in Creem and the Wrestling Observer

Newsletter!!). John Mendelssohn and I corresponded for many years and he

even thanked me in his "I/Caramba" book. (And heck, Richard Riegal even

sent me a tape of Lester with Birdland - wotta guy!).


 By the way, what is Rick Johnson doing these days? The creativity of his

writing just amazed me. (My parents got really worried when I'd start

laughing about things like "Geno-type Cointoss" in reference to Freddie



 Well, since I'm starting to ramble, I'd better sign off again. Thanks

again for providing an insight into Lester's life and the rock critic world.



 Steve Crawford



 P.S. Gee, and do you really think Robert Christgau attacked you so much

over the "dinner versus pie" issue or for looking like a pathetic homophobe

when it came to Vince Aletti?!?!



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From: "David Rensin"

To: <

Sent: Sunday, August 20, 2000 1:18 PM

Subject: Lester




 First, thanks for doing the book. I read it on vacation and, having been a

minor L.A. rock writer/critic

 in the early 70s (I was at the Memphis gathering, among others), it was

like a terrific journey through the past chock full of people I knew and

have never forgotten. The main thing, of course, is that the book is really

really wonderful. Among everything else, you got Lester as a human being;

you got his heart -- which couldn't have been easy. A lesser writer would

have just gone for the gonzo. You did more. As my long-time buddy (since

1973) Cameron said, "You caught the keys." In my opinion you put them in a

really fine car.


 Btw: I spent a drunken afternoon with Lester in his hotel room (or mine)

in Kingston, Jamaica, on that Bob Marley junket. We drank local rum. Yeah,

'mon. I will never forget sunset in Marley's backyard, him sitting on the

BMW, his pals darting in and out of the surrounding journalists, asking us

Bible questions.


 Also, glad to see you're with Chris Calhoun. He's a pal and a great guy.

Just saw him in LA a couple weeks ago.


 One question: reading the thank you's -- who is Carrie Anne Svingen? How

old is she? I ask because she may be someone I knew, only with a different

last name...and I've been looking for her.



 congrats again

 David Rensin


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'Subject: Lester Leaps In

Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 09:46:08 GMT

From: mark eggins




just a short note to say I really enjoyed your Lester bio (picked it up in

Tower Records in Tokyo). He was and is a big hero of mine and a big

inspiration to my humble critical efforts over the years so it was good to 

see he got a very fitting bio.


Any chance of you perhaps editing another volume of Lester`s work?

Criminal that there is only one available thus far!





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Subject: Let it Blurt

Date: 5 Aug 00 13:31:03 MST

From: Mike Long




Great book (Read review in Denver's Westword, ordered online). Lester's

kept me from a life of listening to the Marshall Tucker and Pink Floyd.

I discovered Creem too late (about '74) to read most of Lester's work,

but enjoyed reading Psychotic Reactions... and the Blondie book. Hopefully

your book will encourafe someone to release more of Lester's writings. Again, thanks

for your great book. Where can I read your reviews?


- Good luck, Mike



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Subject: patti smith

Date:  Wed, 2 Aug 2000 15:24:45 -0700

From: Paul Gilvary


I just finished your Let it Blurp book. I loved it!


I did find one mistake though. You attribute Patti's quote This is the era where everybody creates to her Horses album. That was

from her Wave album when she was redoing the Byrds' So You Want To Be A RocknRoll Star.


I'm a Patti fanatic. Like I said though, your book was great.


Paul Gilvary


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Subj: Let it Blurt

Date: 7/22/00 9:18:06 PM Central Daylight Time

From: (Ron Dulin)



Mr. DeRogatis-


I just finished reading Let it Blurt, and it left with me with a strange

sort of melancholy. Fine work, though I'm sure I'm not the first to say it.


My question: With so much of Bangs' work left uncollected, why has there

been no follow-up to Psychotic Reactions&amp;c? Reading excerpts from his works

in your bio only made me want to read them in their entirety.




Ron Dulin


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Subj: <BLet it Blurt!</B

Date: 7/23/00 11:15:31 AM Central Daylight Time

From: Artknarf

To: JimDeRo

Sent on: AOL 5.0 for Windows sub 105


Jim, Wow what can I say but, a perfect book! It is really enjoyable to read such a well researched and organized book. There was just the right amount about all parts of Lester's life. I found the early years in his life surprising and interesting. The story unfolds very nicely w/out a lot of empty speculation or the sort of tabloid Told here for the very first time! crap. A well rounded picture of Lester is presented in the book, you did the job proud! I also found the information on the birth of rock criticism, and the other writers enlightening. Now I am going to look for the Tosches book. The beginnings of Creem when they moved to  Walled Lake was unbelievable! It's hard to imagine that sort of setup happening today. Living and working together in one house, which would be fun from about age twenty to twenty-two, reminds me of some the houses I lived in during college. Maybe it was the way the pay was at that time, but it seemed like the writers were paid exceedingly small sums, and practically a company town/house sort of setup were its pretty difficult for the workers to move up or out. As you said Lester freelanced more than anyone else there.


I think it shows his energy, and as pointed to in other parts, how he always got up from his low points and found ways of productivity. Lester's big heart comes through in the book, as do the clownish aspects of his personality. His drinking and outlandish stuff was rightfully covered, but without making him seem like a boorish hack. He may have had a sharp tongue at times, and all advanced drinkers can be assholes at times, but I felt from the book that Lester was a sensitive being and kind to others. He definitely didn't come off as a Jim Morrison type, who although, wrote some good songs (I like the Doors second album best of their work as an album) he always seemed to me from what I have read to be a very charismatic sociopath whom believed his own lies and enjoyed hurting people. As far as the ending I didn't think it was depressing. It was sad of course that he dies suddenly, but he lived his life and did a lot for dying so young. I disagree with some of his friends that couldn't see him doing anything different. I think just before he died he was in a sort of getting his mind ready to move. Who knows what would have happened? My feeling is he would have left NY and wrote about music but probably other topics as well.


His death reads as accidental to me. It doesn't take much when the wrong medication is taken together. A close friend of mine almost died from a similar scenario. My friend takes anti-anxiety medicine, and one night she was sick with headache and diarrhea. She took some anti-diarrhea medicine and something for her headache and the combination of the three almost killed her!


It was interesting to read the criticism of Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung. When that book came out I very excitedly ran out and bought it. I thought it was good, but was also disappointed. As someone whom had read Some but by no means even half of Lester's work, I thought the selected pieces left out a lot of the joy, and some of the better pieces that I had read. Thanks for putting" How to Be a Rock Critic" in your book. Regarding the Greil Marcus choices, well I have usually found his work interesting but unconvincing. His books often have some agenda that I find as hype and slanted as anything. He definitely has been guilty of omission to strengthen his viewpoint. And he reads way too much into a pop song. Anyway when I gave that book to friends to read, who had never read Lester; they loved it, and I couldn't figure out my disappointment until now. Anyway I feel you have corrected the bad job done by Marcus, and wrote a great book that does justice to Lester and should be of interest to anyone whom reads, even if they have no interest in rock-and-roll. I could really go on and on! But will say thanks for keeping the humor in the book. In my aesthetic all work should have moments of humor, besides Lester was a pretty funny cat, and it would be horrible to have missed that. The end with the cop asking for the rare record album as Lester is laying there being dead on the sofa is incredible, pure Monty Python or pure Bangs, terrific!!!


Thanks again for a great book.


 Frank Taylor



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Subject: your excellent book

Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 12:52:05 -0400

From: Robert Press



I just got done reading LET IT BLURT. fantastic. you really told me a lot of what i wanted to know. i never could get enough lester, and still can't. i remember riding around in an MG one gloriously aimless new jersey afternoon in 1980, being driven around new brunswick by a hairdresser named sinful (maybe you've run into her) and finding a trashed rock magazine underfoot in which i came across one of lester's histories of punk rock. i already knew who he was and that what he wrote was worth reading. i remember cracking up as i read sinful the article out loud -- something like "and when you've been up for a week on romilar and you're staring at your best friend whose face is collapsing in slow motion and he says to you 'i think i forgot how to think,' the last thing in the world you want to hear is suite judy blue eyes." 


there's no getting around the impact of those spontaneous timely discoveries -- i guess it's like listening to sergeant pepper in the summer of '67 as opposed to 30 years later -- but i had to drool over your bibliography of lester's articles. as much as i enjoyed PSYCHEDELIC REACTIONS, i agree with you that it was heavily weighted to one side of lester's writings. what i always enjoyed best were the almost throw-away reviews -- funniest things i ever read. how can i find some of those articles? any internet goldmine sources?



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Subj: I Knew Lester When We Were Kids
Date: 9/20/00 1:41:53 PM Central Daylight Time
From: SoniaNordenson


Hello, Jim--

I just left you a voicemail message at the Sun Times, and am writing as well to tell you that I knew Lester Bangs when he was thirteen and fourteen. I was two years and three grades ahead of him at El Cajon Valley High School, and we lost touch after I graduated. But I know when and why he changed his name to Lester, and still have a number of wonderful letters and poems that he wrote to me.


Just to entice you, these early writings include Lester's version of the song "Billy Boy," which, in part, went something like this: 

. . . Yes I am a witless Witness,

humble, meek, and shitless.

He's a young man and cannot leave his mother.


I'll be glad to share these treasures with you, for a future expanded edition of the bio or simply for your own delight and further understanding of Lester.


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Subj: Fw: overdue congrats

From: "Steve Simels"

Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 1:56 PM

 Jim -- just found your homepage and e-mail (I had tried to find you through the paper with no success). Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that "Let It  Blurt" is really great. I knew Lester professionally (I actually auditioned  for his band with Nancy) and you nailed both him and the scene exactly. A  first-rate job.....


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From: Jeffrey Morgan
To: Jim DeRogatis
Sent: Sunday, September 10, 2000 8:57 PM
Subject: Let It Blurt


I just bought a new copy of Let It Blurt and wanted to take the time to tell you that I'm enjoying it immensely. Thank you very much for writing it: you've done the man and his work a great service. Hopefully, as time goes by, more of his unpublished work will see the light of day because, personally, I can't wait to read it.

At risk of repeating myself, being discovered by Lester in 1974 and asked to write for CREEM was not just one of the highlights of my life, it was literally a huge turning point that steered me down a fifteen year road with CREEM that I at the time had no intention of traveling down in my wildest dreams.

To cite just a single example, without Lester my Alice Cooper box set essay literally would not exist; which is a pretty humbling thought. For him to ask me to write for him--unsolicited by myself--and then take the additional time to offer guidance and support, well, that's a form of kindness which only comes along once in a lifetime, if you're lucky.

I've been edited by some of the best in the rock business during the past quarter century, but Lester was the best editor I ever had. Everything I am as a professional writer I owe to him, and it's a debt that I've never forgotten and never will.

By the way: my novel is almost completed. It's 200 pages single spaced and 81,000+ words with a chapter and a half to go.

Now all I have to do is somehow find an agent who specializes in twisted fiction.
Jeeze! Where the hell's that Bangs when I really need him?



PS: You didn't have to mention me in the acknowledgments section of your book, Jim, but I deeply appreciate the fact that you did; I'm glad I could help you in any small way I could.



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Subject: lester


Thu, 19 Oct 2000 09:23:17 -0700

From: Dave Perry





Just finished Let it Blurt. For the second time.

I hope you don't mind me using this address to send the following:


What a great book.

For the past 14 years, I've been the staff music writer for The Lowell

Sun in Lowell, MA, the birthplace/resting place of Jack Kerouac.

So in some vague way I know this game, though all the rules and most of

the possibilities have changed since Lester wrote.

Yeah, I get my 20 minutes on the phone with some band when they blow

through town, and I write my advance, and I cover the show. And then,

unless it's that singular, extraordinary event, it's gone.

For years, I've heard the resounding chorus of Kerouac in Lester Bangs'

writing. I wrote the liners for Rhino's Kerouac box set a few years

back, and one of my jobs was to connect Jack, as an influence, to the a

long line of pop musicians. So why didn't I mention Lester? I'm still

kicking myself.

I am 43. Like you, I suppose, but a few years older, I was one of those

kids who sopped up Lester's writing in my room, surrounded by records.

Back when I was writing about music for free while I got paid to cover,

well, everything, for a weekly paper in Connecticut (early 80s) I used

to write for this freebie rag called Vox Pop. I heard at one point that

Lester was accessible in New York, but never planned the trip that you

did, never caught those keys.

Reading Let It Blurt made me wish I had.

Your job of reporting was extraordinary, and what I loved best was the

way you set Lester apart from those he often worked with. He was indeed

worlds apart, and it had nothing to do with drugs or filth or body odor.


The "Dean" and his ilk always forgot how to draw me in, or never cared

to. The scene of Christgau and his wife over dinner at Lester's broke my


And having seen Almost Famous, with its conscience wandering around an

apartment crammed with records (yeah, I noticed which ones were visible,

too--Crowe got it right) in a "Detroit Sucks" t-shirt, made me re-read

Let It Blurt. It's funny the way Lester Bangs has come back not to haunt

us but to remind us of some things that are all but forgotten. Kerouac,

I can tell you, came back similarly.

Oddly, I didn't call the publisher for a review copy when your book was

published. I wanted to spend my own cash on this one. And I can't tell

you how glad I am that I did.

So, I guess, thanks. I always knew there was indeed a man in there. You

finally introduced me to him. Thanks for the keys.


Dave Perry

The Lowell Sun

15 Keaqrney Square

Lowell, MA 01853



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Lester Bangs


Fri, 13 Oct 2000 18:22:18 -0500

From:  LDC 




On my drive back to work after lunch I was listening to "Fresh Air" on

the radio.. Usually, I find it delightful but not on this afternoon..

I am sure you are familiar with the show since you were the featured

guest. The topic was your book " Let it Blurt - The Life & Times of

Lester Bangs, America's Greatest Rock Critic.


I always find it hard to believe that someone with second hand knowledge

is always able to form such a concrete opinion about Jehovah Witnesses.

I can tell you have never talked with a JW. Mr. Bangs opinions, even

though he was raised as a JW, were highly distorted. JW's enjoy music

just as much as the next person. My uncle is a JW, and he owns a oldies

vinyl record store on the strip in Hollywood.


To be one of Jehovah's Witnesses he would have had to give up the

destructive life style that killed him. When someone becomes so self

invented, emotionally and physically in what they are doing, little

else matters to them. That person, especially if gifted with words and

pen can be ruinous to someone else's reality.


I did not know him personally, the way you did, but I do have friends

that are heavy drug users and I can tell you this, the only opinions

they trust about life are their own. I just hope that next time you

decide to describe a group of people to the world, the least you can do

is interview someone from that group. By the way Coltrane's " My

Favorite Things" is a classic.



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Good Book.


Tue, 10 Oct 2000 10:40:42 -0400

From: "Joe Bronowich"



Mr. DeRogatis:


As a fellow Hudson County native (West New York) I wanted to tell you how much

I enjoyed "Let It Blurt". Your compassionate, well researched study was

informative and entertaining. As insightful as the book was, Mr. Bangs still

remains an enigma - a classic case of "Trust the art, not the artist". I

wonder along with you what might have come had he been able to get at that

novel. Despite what others may say, your subtitle is correct: he clearly was

Americas Greatest Rock Critic.


Do you think he'd still be writing about music today?


I could bore you with may more paragraphs about how "Creem" was my bible, yada

yada yada, but I'm sure your have better things to do with your time. Thanks

for the book, I look forward to the next one.




Joe Bronowich



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Subj: <B Hullo</B

Date: 10/11/00 12:57:47 AM Central Daylight Time

From: dmahoney

To: ('')




I just spent the past few hours devouring every word of yours that I could

find on I was particularly impressed with how lucid, yet

sharp, accurate and entirely alternative the pieces are, even as I wondered:

If all of the mainstream megahits are polluted by predictable appeals to the

least-common-denominator, most-numerous-buck, is there anything in music

today that you like? Wanting more, I also checked out some of your

equivalent Sun-Times pieces, on Pearl Jam and the Pumpkins, and was

surprised--though I shouldn't have been--at how you lined your gloves with

velvet, softening the edge of some of the punches for the wider audience.


My interest is more than casual--I just finished a 2.5 year run writing a

700-word music column in our local alt Boise Weekly, sharpening my prose as

I honed my views, but ultimately feeling myself begin to burn down under the

inevitable cynicism that arises from writing of dull, bloated national acts

and nascent, sometimes very derivative or simply bad local acts. Boise is

still best known for Doug Martsch, Curtis Stigers and maybe Caustic Resin,

with little else national-caliber of any genre on the horizon. Usually, the

too-kind non-confrontation geek in me would pull back the hardest blows on

the local bands--not wanting to judge them at a ridiculously high national

standard, and disdaining the cliched rock critic hack attacks--but I always

felt weak and emasculated in doing so. I don't particularly regret that

stance, since I believe that natural selection should weed out these bands

unaided by some snot-nosed critic, but incriminating bands with faint praise

at the margins grew tiresome. The world of good, honest, accurate but fair

rock criticism, written in a voice of one's own, still has great appeal to

me, though.


BTW, I picked up a copy of your Bangs book and breezed through it easily and

enjoyably, which is a high compliment in this too-hectic day of constant

distraction. It was nice to know of Bangs as an erratic, unpredictable

Meathead, not merely part of an alliterative toss-off line in a rem song.

Your account of your interview with Lester was particularly riveting. Do you

agree with Greil that the best writer of his generation wrote record

reviews? I'm decidedly undecided (and skeptical) on that one.


Best regards,


--Dale Mahoney



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Subj:  Hello from J Church..

Date: 10/6/00 12:59:51 PM Central Daylight Time





I'm not really sure if this is still your e-mail address, so I'll keep this 



My name is Lance Hahn and I'm in a band called J Church. We're sort of an 

indie-emo(blech)-type-punk-pop-band thing. It's no big deal, but I wanted to 

send you a couple of our CDs to check out. I really liked "Let It Blurt" a 

lot. It's funny, because when you get right down to it, it's the same old 

story. There's always the originator of any art form and a million copy cats 

all missing the point.


Anyway, I've also been a writer for Maximum Rock-N-Roll since 1983. I still 

write for them, but am attempting to get printed elsewhere. I'd love to send 

you a copy of my newsletter to see what you think. A lot of it is just 

ranting and raving. It's only half about music. The most popular thing I've 

written so far is a comparison of Star Wars to Game 5 of the '75 World 



So send me your mailing address if you could and I'll send you a bunch of 





J Church


"Artists care about aesthetics as much as birds care about ornithology" - 

Barnett Newman


"One Mississippi" - J Church

Brand new double LP on Honest Don's Strictly Analog Recordings...



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Subj:  Thank You

Date: 10/3/00 5:31:14 PM Central Daylight Time

From: nhlcritic



Mr. DeRogatis:


I just returned from Stockholm, Sweden where I

devoured your book, LET IT BLURT. I want to thank you

for writing such a thoughtful, comprehensive book on

the life of Lester Bangs. 


I grew up in Brooklyn listening to classic rock, punk

and new wave. I remember my friends checking out

copies of Creem and talking about Bangs but I was

painfully unaware of his work in the world of Rock

criticism. But I loved- and hated- the music of that



I felt as though I was living through that period

observing Bangs as he moved through the years

searching for something new to say or just commenting

on the state of music at the time. Equal parts sad and

comedic, LET IT BLURT made sense of the often dense

movement dominated, in my opinion, by unreadable

critics whose prose was often more confusing than



As a writer I found your book a wonderful guide in the

art of writing a biography. I shall certainly read it

again. So thank you for the inspiration.


I also caught the fact that you write about wrestling

which is something that I am also very interested.

Geez my pay-per-view bill reflects that near

fanaticism every month!


A funny aside: I grew up in Brooklyn at the same time

as Peter Senercha, a.k.a Tazz. He was friends with a

few of my buddies who went to Franklin K. Lane High



I look forward to reading more from you in the future.


With best wishes,


John Sanful 



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To: <

Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2000 6:21 PM

Subject: Bangs book



As a former NYC freelancer/lightweight rock critic of that glorious era, I'd  like to say how much I totally appreciated the book - but I can't. The  nostalgic phlegm conjured up in your tome was completely thwarted by learning  that poor Lester died whilst listening to that wretched Brit  synth-pop-pablum, DARE by The Human League. Not that it surprised me mind  you, it just reminds me of how cruel God is. Lester clearly heard that and  realized there was no place left for a true r&r fan. Sadly, he was right,  although a part of me likes to think that he might've embraced, even cheered,  for say, Eminem, who for some reason feels more like someone who today comes  closest to exuding true punk spirit than nearly all of his rap/psuedo-punk  counterparts combined.


By the way, I passed the book along to my friend Matt, who roadied for The  Ramones during their 10 headiest years and he returned it last week offering  me no review other than a head-shake, which I think kind of sums it all up.


It was a good summer read. Now I can stash it in the closet with my other  memories of the time: dusty vinyl that I occasionally pull out and  crusted-over, half-used bottles of Crazy Color. That shit doesn't even cover  gray.



 Best Regards,


 Jacquie Tellalian/nyc



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To: <

Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2000 5:43 PM

Subject: Let It Blurt




 Dear Jim,


 I really enjoyed Let It Blurt, which I just read on holiday in southern

Italy -- a very incongruous setting! I'm very interested in tracking down a copy of the novel "Harry Vernon At Prep". I've tried all the usual place -- Amazon, the Strand in New York etc. I don't think it was ever in print here in the UK, let alone out of print. Any ideas as to where I could get hold of a copy would be welcome.


 Well done on the book.


 Best wishes,

 Andrew Bendel


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