Lester Bangs interview with Sue Mathews, May 13, 1980


A rare, but excellent 90 minute interview with the late rock critic Lester Bangs from May 1980 by Sue Mathews. Bangs was around 30 years old when this interview was conducted and has an insightful, but very dim view of where rock music was headed at the time. Sadly, it’s gotten much worse since then. To be fair though, part of that dissatisfaction could be due to “getting older.” That’s roughly around the time I started tuning out from the hit parade of hell.

There’s still great music out there, but you’re not going to find it on commercial radio. One of the better things technology and computers have brought us is easier access to really cool stuff. And you don’t have to hunt that far for it. For example, there’s a great internet radio station I found the other day called “Dave’s Strange Radio” which you can find at http://www.davesstrangeradio.com

RIP, Philip Seymour Hoffman


One of the best actors of our generation. Very very sad news.

Picking my favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman scene from a film is difficult since the man positively rocked the screen in every movie he was in. Hoffman specialized in playing characters who were untrustworthy, weak, pathetic, or duplicitous. While he won the Oscar for “Capote” and was brilliant in “The Master, his role as the hospice nurse in “Magnolia” is perhaps his most heroic and the one that I feel is his most underrated. In a film full of characters who are experiencing life at its worst, his efforts to fulfill the dying wish of Jason Robards’s character to reunite with his estranged son are a wonder to behold.

Honorable mention: Hoffman’s portrayal of Lester Bangs in “Almost Famous”. It’s too bad he never got the chance to play him in a feature-length Bangs biopic.

“Ain’t it Fun” – Guns N’ Roses


Guns N’ Roses’ killer cover of Peter Laughner’s / The Dead Boys’ sad, nihilistic classic “Ain’t It Fun.”  Recorded for their punk cover album “The Spaghetti Incident,” this is the best version of this song I’ve heard.  There have been some good versions (Dead Boys, Rollins Band) over the years, but the Guns N’ Roses version is probably the best, in my opinion.  It’s probably no coincidence that this ended up on their greatest hits CD.  If any song sums up composer Laughner’s life, it’s this song.  If you have any interest in what you’ve just read, please read Lester Bangs’ legendary obituary of Laughner “Peter Laughner is Dead” for context (located in the Bangs’ compilation “Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung”).