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THE ARTSEMERSON BLOG

Lester Bangs on Boston

 

Lester Bangs never lived in Boston; by all accounts he probably never even visited The Hub. But in the middle of the critical and audience rave—How To Be A Rock Critic—we’ve dug through his writing to find out what the legendary rock critic thought of the music scene and rock criticism coming out of Boston in the sixties and seventies from afar.

 

  • Bangs credited local band Black Pearl with developing the genre that would be known as “Heavy Metal”: “In the primordial tar pits of 1968, early flurries of heavy metal mutation appeared out of California! Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly and Black Pearl prophesied the worldwide madness to come.”

 

  • He criticized local music writer Wayne McGuire in Bangs’ essay about punk rock’s “casual racism” problem: “Around 1970 there was a carbuncle named Wayne McGuire who kept contribution installments of something he called “An Aquarian Journal” to Fusion Magazine, wherein he suggested…that the Velvet Underground represented some kind of mystical milestone in the destiny of the Aryan race.”

The Velvet Underground live in Boston.

 

  • Was edited at Rolling Stone Magazine by Bostonian Jon Landau and contributed to Boston alt-publication The Real Paper. It was at the Real Paper that, in 1973, he first published the piece that would become known as “How To Be A Rock Critic.” (More on this piece here)

 

  • Bangs would go on to try his own hand at music, but his first appearance onstage with a rock band was in 1975 when he “played the typewriter” with Boston legends J. Geils Band. This event is brilliantly and hilariously recreated in How To Be A Rock Critic.

 


HOW TO BE A ROCK CRITIC: BASED ON THE WRITING OF LESTER BANGS

MUST CLOSE MAY 21

Emerson/Paramount Center

Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre

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