Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs

Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung

Vintage presents the paperback edition of the wild and brilliant writings of Lester Bangs--the most outrageous and popular rock critic of the 1970s--edited and with an introduction by the reigning dean of rock critics, Greil Marcus. Advertising in Rolling Stone and other major publications.

Details Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung

TitlePsychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung
Release DateSep 12th, 1988
GenreMusic, Nonfiction, Writing, Essays, Culture, Pop Culture, Criticism

Reviews Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung

  • Michael Finocchiaro
    Lester Bangs was one of Rock-n-Roll's greatest chroniclers but I found this collection of writing a bit heavy and meandering. Probably good for hard core Bangs fans, I guess I just can't sign up for that club.
  • East Bay J
    Man, this was good! I had only read a few articles by Laster Bangs when I picked this up at my local. That’s library, not tavern. I am so completely blown away by how Bangs spoke about music. This man was a huge music fan. His writing stinks to high heaven of his love and respect for music, of how much music moved him. Maybe that’s why he’s able to write so well about music, to say so much in the space of a sentence or by his choice of word...
  • matt. singer.
    Lester Bangs is the only rock critic whom musicians truly accepted as one of their own. It’s no wonder: He lived like them and he died like them, overdosing on pills at age 33. Most importantly, he wrote as they played. His wildly energetic prose reads unlike any other contemporary writer, much less a music critic: Words seemed to spill straight from his brain onto the page in the wonderful cacophony of an Ornette Coleman sax solo or a Captain ...
  • Benoit Lelièvre
    Not my jam.At all.Not only this isn't what I expected at all, but this is barely criticism. These are long, chaotic tirades about drugs, the music industry and sometimes there is a cool story about a musician inserted in there like when Iggy Pop picked fights at his own show, but otherwise. This is very lean on interesting material. Bangs even brags about not saying whether or not Lou Reed's album Metal Machine Music is good in a 5,000 words colu...
  • Amy
    Lester Bangs, like Howard Hampton and Luc Sante, takes reviews of media and injects humor, crass, honesty, and a glimpse into his personality. Bangs is likeable because he's a smart asshole, but there's no shortage of self-deprecation in his writing. I also like his writing style because it often contains the same sentiments as a first album: angsty, energetic, youthful (even when he's being curmudgeonly), and somewhat vulnerable. It helps that h...
  • Ryan
    Chances are if you’re considering a book of writings by Lester Bangs you came to him the same way I did: by way of your love of music — or maybe it was from Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance as him in “Almost Famous” — because writing about music is what he’s ostensibly known for. In fact, it’s almost exclusively what he did from his first published review in Rolling Stone in 1969 (about MC5’s “Kick Out The Jams”) until h...
  • Jeff
    So forged my way through the Stooges/Iggy hard on that comprised the opening quarter of the book. Boy am I glad I did. Bangs leaves no question as to what acts he is passionate about and while I don't always share his opinions I found the dichotomy of his prose (equal parts acerbic wit and dazed ramblings) thoroughly enjoyable. Bangs is no mere Music Critic. He opens the floodgates through his articles and shines a light on culture by not only fo...
  • Caitlin Constantine
    I've been reading this in bits and pieces for several months now - because to read it all at once is like eating an entire box of chocolate and chasing it with six espressos, and a lady needs some downtime every so often - so I'm just going to review it now because I don't see it changing that much.I think the subtitle of this book says it all: literature as rock and roll and rock and roll as literature. That is exactly how I would describe Bangs...
  • Bernard
    Lester Bangs is pretty much my favourite music writer of all time. There is something incredibly vivid about the way he writes, which does the (almost) impossible feat of making words sound like the music they are describing. Plus it is absolutely hilarious to read his more negative reviews, which are as merciless as they are hilarious. There is scarcely a single sentence in this book I didn't find infinitely quotable, but this extract from the r...
  • Kyle Barron-Cohen
    Ever year or so I return to this collection, primarily to re-read the Joycean Strand-walk of a rock record review that is Bangs' exegesis of Van Morrison's Astral Weeks. It reminds me that criticism can be worthwhile, and that music is supposed to mean something. Bangs believed Astral Weeks to be a metaphysical Testament. At one point he writes:What this is about is a whole set of verbal tics—although many are bodily as well—which are there f...
  • Frederick
    Lester Bangs is mentioned (along with many other people with the initials "L.B.") in "It's The End Of The World As We Know It," by R.E.M. He deserves mention. This collection of essays shows that Lester Bangs was an impassioned, articulate writer.His unenviable calling was that of the critic. Few critics have ever written with such sincerity.Lester Bangs lived a short life. If I'm not wrong, he didn't live much past the time rock's biggest icons ...
  • Djll
    I read some of this back in the day; this time I skipped around and skipped over some of the padding. Bangs tended to go off on wild contraband-influenced tangents of gonzo blahblah. At first I thought, "Geez, this is sure dated." But more reading lessened that impression. Probably the two most important essays are the long road-trip profile on The Clash and "The White Noise Supremacists," an impassioned, take-no-prisoners exposé on punk nihilis...
  • Matt
    One of my absolute favorite books by one of my absolte favorite writers.I picked this up in a used bookstore during Lexington's 4th of July parade (I hate parades) and had to read it 500 times before I finally put it down.I love this book....Bangs was sarcastic, open-hearted, brilliantly literate, and obsessed with music.He wrote some of the greatest descriptions of what its like to be a music addict I've ever read...Van Morrison, The Clash, Lou ...
  • Tosh
    My teen years were the Creem years, and so Lester Bangs had a strong placement in my youth. But beyond that he was not a music writer that I felt close to. i never bought the drug out drink out poor critical figure. But saying that he did bring music criticism on a higher plane and that we should be thankful for. My problem with Bangs is that he was very much a character in his writings and critique, and for me I don't find is character that inte...
  • Elias Carlston
    Occasional moments of sheer, transcendent brilliance, mixed with a lot of fun trash. Just like rock 'n' roll.
  • Brent Hayward
    Bangs came onto the scene in the 1970s as a writer and reviewer (latter term used somewhat loosely) when music was particularly bad, and had been for ages. Sitting in my suburban bedroom at the time, a younger man, listening to the radio, I was thinking just that. Not the bit about Bangs coming onto the scene, or the definition of review, though I did read every issue of Creem then, but about the cruddy state of music. A revolution was about unfo...
  • Maarten Wagemakers
    Took my time with this one, as there was an awful lot to unpack here. It definitely takes some time to get attuned to his gonzo-ish - and sometimes downright experimental - writing style, but once you've caught up with his groove the book just gets better and better. Of course, like many others before me, I fell for the tall tales in his essay that the collection is named after, actually trying to look for other Count Five records even though I a...
  • Owen Goldin
    There aren't too many writers that could just let it rip, turning out pages and pages or free associating brilliance. Joyce could do it and so could Faulkner. Kerouac, sometimes. Lester Bangs could do it too, even if it is pretty clear that a lot of the best stuff is fueled by speed and cough medicine -- a mode or writing that wore Bangs' body down and eventually killed him. Anyway it is this aspect of Bangs, as writer, as poet, that Marcus focus...
  • Robert S
    Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung is a particularly strange collection that was edited together and published. The editor admits from the on-set that most of Bangs popular pieces are not included here, leaving the reader to wonder what exactly they're in for in terms of reading.This is actually my first time reading a collection of Bangs' work, having only previously read an article or two here plus seeing his character in Almost Famous pla...
  • JJ
    He is at times self-indulgent, borderline racist, vulgar, and obscene; at other times he is self-aware, sympathetic, empathetic, prescient, and insightful. This is my first encounter with legendary rock-critic Lester Bangs. Although it sometimes reads like Bukowski Lite, Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung is nevertheless a fascinating look, via a selection of essays and excerpts, of one human being's search for meaning and relevance through ...
  • Michael Lovito
    I appreciate how Lester Bangs and I probably had very similar taste in music, and I love his defense of one hit wonder garage banks like the Count Five and ? and the Mysterians, and "White Noise Supremacists" should be required reading in schools across America. But this gets to be a slog towards the end (some of the pieces in the "Unpublishable" section are aptly named) and the performative misogyny, racism, and homophobia in some of the earlier...
  • Ugh
    There are two or three later pieces is in this collection - including two on The Clash and Richard Hell, and the need for people to stand for something rather than simply criticise and break things - that are really good and justify the whole, and about half a dozen - including on David Bowie and Lou Reed and Dick Clark - that are good enough to see you that far along, if you're a completist who can't skip ahead.Bangs had heart, and style, and kn...
  • Russell
    "The greatest rock 'n' roll writer this world has ever known", proclaims the cover. Trust me, he's not. In fact, he's not even close. This book is the noise of a man in love with the sound of his own opinions, who thinks he is Jack Kerouac and is convinced that the talentless narcissist that was Lou Reed is one of the greatest artists of our time. He also thinks The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle by the Sex Pistols is one of the greatest albums of a...
  • Luke X.
    Since this is a series of essays, my opinion reflects an "average" value for the essays. They tended to run in extremes - either they were 4-5 stars or 1-2. The 1-2 star essays tended to drone on without a whole lot to say. Lester Bangs is a talented writer but I could have done with less gonzo journalism. Also, he presents extreme opinions - he either hates or loves a performer or person and his reviews reflect that, generally in a narcissistic ...
  • Keith Carpenter
    Lester Bangs was certainly an entertaining, great writer and I love his gonzo style. That said, I don't always respect his musical opinions but I'll defend to the death his right to write lines like "The Beatles were four yobs, or three yobs plus a librarian named Paul." His laser sharp observations plus a savage sense of humor make even the criticisms I disagree with hysterical and insightful reading. If only Bangs had survived to the internet e...
  • Aria
    Parts to skim and parts to save and return to again and even share. Bits I was disturbed by he redeemed him by addressing later, and so it's good to see his evolution. Some really choice word pairings and phrases. Explains why he thinks a way about some subject, so even if you feel otherwise, you can still see where he's coming from..... a habit that is sorely absent in our modern world, much to the detriment of us all.
  • Jeremiah
    This is a volume that needs to be read in bursts. If you read too many of the articles in one sitting you end up feeling a bit dulled by the experience. As always, it's fun to read these critiques of pop culture from the time it was happening. These are first person, present-tense, explorations without any nostalgia. Some of them are boring, some are profound. Bangs was a mercurial dude and his writings reflect a mind that seems to process far to...
  • Rob Platts
    Moments of genius and pure rock n roll inspiration, but overall a pretty challenging read. He was clearly fighting many personal demons. Def worth reading for any big fans of Bowie, The Clash, Iggy Pop or Lou Reed who feature in some great pieces.
  • Mansfield Public
    Lester Bangs IS a legendary rock critic, and his work is worth is worth collecting to be read, but the book's editor does him an injustice by including so much material. Especially the stuff that Bangs himself had yet to deem worthy of being published.-Matt