They wouldn't be heroes if they were infallible, in fact they wouldn't be heroes if they weren't miserable wretched dogs, the pariahs of the earth, besides which the only reason to build up an idol is to tear it down again.

— Lester Bangs

The most floundering Lester Bangs quotes to get the best of your day

I mean Iggy and The Stooges first couple of albums I think sold twenty five thousand between the two of them you know and so to talk in terms of an underground I mean you have to go really to the independent labels and things like that.

50

The first mistake of Art is to assume that it's serious.

50

I'm not saying that all college students are subhuman - I'm just saying that if you aim to spend a few years mastering the art of pomposity, these are places where you can be taught by undisputed experts.

19

Realizing that life is precious the natural tendency is to trample on it, like laughing at a funeral.

18

Don’t ask me why I obsessively look to rock ’n’ roll bands for some kind of model for a better society. I guess it’s just that I glimpsed something beautiful in a flashbulb moment once, and perhaps mistaking it for prophecy have been seeking its fulfillment ever since.

15

At its best new wave/punk represents a fundamental and age-old Utopian dream: that if you give people the license to be as outrageous as they want in absolutely any fashion they can dream up, they'll be creative about it, and do something good besides.

14

The whole point of American culture is to pick up any old piece of trash and make it shine with more facets than the Hope Diamond.

14

John Lennon at his best despised cheap sentiment and had to learn the hard way that once you've made your mark on history those who can't will be so grateful they'll turn it into a cage for you.

11

Personally I feel that real rock 'n' roll may be on the way out, just like adolescence as a relatively innocent transitional period is on the way out. What we have instead is a small island of new free music surrounded by some good reworkings of past idioms and a vast sargasso sea of absolute garbage.

11

The ultimate sin of any performer is contempt for the audience.

10

Rock'n'roll is an attitude, it's not a musical form of a strict sort.

It's way of doing things, of approaching things. Writing can be rock'n'roll, or a movie can be rock'n'roll. It's a way of living your life.

9

Rock is for everybody; it should be so implicitly anti-elitist that the question of whether somebody's qualified to perform it should never even arise.

5

About Lester Bangs

Quotes 40 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Critic
Birthday October 16

Sexual chaos reigns currently, but out of chaos may flow true understanding and harmony, and either way Elvis almost singlehandedly opened the floodgates.

5

All blues singers are great liars.

4

I mean it's easier to be in a demonstration if it's a trip that's one of the reasons why the whole thing fell apart in 1971, because it wasn't a trip any longer.

4

The thing is that, they all had real strong personalities and real distinct identities, and I don't find most of the groups that are coming out now really do.

3

The only questions worth asking today are whether humans are going to have any emotions tomorrow, and what the quality of life will be if the answer is no.

3

What all this posturing and fake glamor results in is a vast detachment and cynicism on the part of the artists. Since it's impossible to have respect for an audience that'll take just about anything you care to dish out, and the impassive demeanor is so central to the role, a general numbnose is all that can be expected.

3

The real question is what to live for.

And I can't answer it. Except another one of your records. And another chance for me to write. Art for art's sake, corny as that sounds.

3

(Punk rock is) lunging after some glimpse of a new and better world.

2

I think that if most guys in America could somehow get their fave-rave poster girl in bed and have total license to do whatever they wanted with this legendary body for one afternoon, at least 75 percent of the guys in the country would elect to beat her up.

2

In fact I think now we've reached a point now, where the powers that be really have sort of vested interest in all of us being stoned out as much as possible all the time so we don't know what's going on, and we don't care.

1

The extravagant and ostentatious lifestyles that pass for charisma in a time when almost anybody talks about charisma but if you think about it there's precious little to be seen.

1

A young woman is dead. I don’t care. You probably don’t care. The police don’t care. The papers don’t care. The punks for the most part don’t care. The only people that care are (I suppose) her parents and (I’m almost certain) the boy accused of murdering her.

1

The great thing about The Clash of course is that they keep searching for answers beyond that.

0

Style is originality; fashion is fascism. The two are eternally and unalterably opposed.

0

A hero is a goddam stupid thing to have in the first place and a general block to anything you might wanta accomplish on your own.

0

if the main reason we listen to music in the first place is to hear passion expressed- as i've believed all my life-then what good is this music going to prove to be? what does that say about us? what are we confirming in ourselves by doting on art that is emotionally neutral? and, simultaneously, what in ourselves might we be destroying or at least keeping down?

0

I can guarantee you one thing, we will never agree on anything as we agreed on Elvis.

0

The Mekons are the most revolutionary group in the history of rock 'n' roll.

0

Sometimes I think nothing is simple but the feeling of pain.

0

. . . rock and roll, as I see it, is the ultimate populist art form, democracy in action, because it's true: anybody can do it.

0

I don't see that there are any particular changes in popular music.

0

I've always believed the New Left is rank.

0

Nothing ever quite dies, it just comes back in a different form.

0

All the proliferating falsifications of what I and everyone I know experienced once in what it is now so convenient to call the "fifties" or "sixties," as if life was really measured or lived in arbitrary decades, when the history books are sold like comix.

0

All humans are the same sex, except albinos.

0

Music, you know, true music not just rock 'n' roll, chooses you.

0

As far as a truly radical conscience, you have to take it as part of a larger thing, that it was sort of historical inevitability that with the coming of a leaguer society people would start to use drugs a lot more then they had before.

0
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