While scouring the internet for new music, we often come across hordes of music articles; the usual incomprehensible music review garbage you find on Pitchfork, the extensive and over-glorified piece from second rate journalism outlets, and the very obvious, cut-and-paste-from-press-release posts. Besides the randomly intriguing long form pieces that surface from the music nerds over at MOJO magazine, not only do very few music articles captivate, but even fewer music critics have ever created a career out writing with as much veracity and unflattery as Lester Bangs.
Bangs, most well-known for his countless years as a freelance music journalist for magazines like Rolling Stone and Creem, never had any problem giving unforgiving critiques of musicians, reminding listeners and fans that unlike the idolizing portraits most journalists painted of these musicians, they were in fact just people. Ranging from a scathing review of Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut album (#243 on the Rolling Stones list of the 500 Greatest Albums of all time) to blasting Janis Joplin’s drug overdose in 1970, Bangs continued to be as opinionated so long as his articles got published.
Soon after the Joplin review, Bangs was shown the door, told to get out and to never write for Rolling Stone again. What Rolling Stone lost, Creem gained. Bangs, along with Creem became one of the leading pioneers in the conceptualization of the punk rock and new wave movements, exposing acts such as Lou Reed, David Bowie and Blondie.
Bangs grew infamous throughout the musical world, even being portrayed by the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the well-known Cameron Crowe flick, Almost Famous. At the height of rock n’ roll, Bangs laid the foundation for rock critics, encouraging journalists to find a radical take on musicians for years after his time.
– Taylor Wojick, Contributing Writer