Friday, April 03, 2009

Psychotic Reactions & Carburetor Dung

On another day marred by a random rampaging shooter, I'd rather celebrate music, and a good book about music: on pop, underground, and the Detroit scene.

I keep only a small handful of books about music because music usually better speaks for itself, and thanks to the wonders of computers and the internet, most of one's music library can now be stored in a very small physical space, indeed. One old school book on music I've held onto for more than twenty years is Lester Bangs' Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung (1987), edited by Greil Marcus. Why? As the cover suggests, it is: "THE WORK OF A LEGENDARY CRITIC: ROCK'N'ROLL AS LITERATURE AND LITERATURE AS ROCK'N'ROLL."

This is the book of a believer; its essays cover the period between 1971 and 1981, with exciting takes on artists ranging from Iggy Pop and David Bowie to John Coltrane, Kraftwerk and The Clash. And because I dig these very same artists, I keep the book. More recently, I picked up a Creem (CREEM) anthology that's a nifty time capsule of the 70s and 80s. For a time, Lester Bangs (1948-1982) edited Creem and lived in Detroit; many of the essays in Psychotic Reactions were first published as Creem articles. Can you dig?

Today's Rune: Strength.


lulu said...

You might like Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991. It's not like Psychotic Reactions, nothing is, but it's a really great book about a particular time in American music. (my time ;-))

Erik Donald France said...

Cool -- I'll check into it. Sounds like just the right sequel in the sequence . . .