Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung: The Work Of A Legendary Critic: Rock ‘n’ Roll As Literature And Literature As Rock ‘n’ Roll

By Lester Bangs

(Anchor Press, 1987)

Collecting the numerous essays, interviews and reviews of the legendary late rock critic Lester Bangs, Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung: The Work Of A Legendary Critic: Rock ‘n’ Roll As Literature And Literature As Rock ‘n’ Roll is regarded as a seminal book for music criticism.

Released 5 years after the fast-living Bangs – who wrote for Creem, Rolling Stone and New Musical Express amongst others – succumbed to an accidental drug overdose, the eye-catching title is taken from a 1971 article on garage rockers Count Five.

Beginning with his early years working for Creem magazine (Bangs moved to the publications’ Detroit office at a time when the proto-punk of The Stooges and MC5 was beginning to emerge, and hailed the city as rock’s great hope), the book then moves seamlessly into his later years freelancing for the NME and others.

The book features his most notable works, including his infamous interviews with journalist’s nightmare Lou Reed, inspired profiles of The Clash, Iggy Pop and Richard Hell, famous reviews of Reed’s Metal Machine Music and David Bowie’s Station To Station and an appraisal of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks.

Bangs’ unique character and writing shines through his best work. A lively and engrossing read for those sufficiently interested in rock history, legend and criticism.