Lester Bangs Waxes on the ‘State of Rock’

March 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Music

Somebody ran this Lester Bangs tidbit on YouTube through my Facebook ‘Home’ the other day. Since then I`ve watched it twenty times or so, and am really getting` a BANG out of it! Lester casually CRUCIFIES Rock Stars with the greatest of ease. He hammers nails into Jethro Tull, Bryan Ferry and most of all, Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Trying to find a date, but I would guess around 1973 or 1974, maybe later? It`s when he was working as an editor at CREEM.

Excellent paisley shirt, you can`t find em like that anymore. In the last segment he speculates about the condition of Rock, its health or lack of. This was a recurring theme with Lester. That is: exactly where were we (this would be in the mid-`70s, people) in the Rock Continuum? Why wasn`t a savior coming along at that time? As Lester says, “you had Sinatra in the `40s, Elvis in the `50s and The Beatles in the `60s.” What would the next Renaissance look like?

When you come to the 1970s, nada? Emptiness. It`s interesting to think on why this condition existed. Of course, you have to chew on every word of Lester Bangs that you can find, if you want the answers. Let`s see, what was so bad about Jethro Tull, Lester? Students, turn to page 128 in your Bangs Reader, Psychotic Reactions And Carburetor Dung. A piece called Jethro Tull in Vietnam

TGIF! Classic Rock with Jethro Tull`s “Benefit”!

February 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Music

For me, the third effort of Jethro Tull is their best. For me, Benefit is solid gold classic rock. That`s right, I prefer the 1970 record over 1971`s concept album, Aqualung. A new sound emerges with Benefit. Now with Martin Barre`s exquisite electric guitar work, rock merges with folk to give us something new. Also, the bass player, Glen Cornick, leaves the band after this record. For me, Glen Cornick, with his long hair and headband, helped to define Jethro Tull`s image.

I wore the vinyl grooves of Benefit out when still in high school. Learned the guitar lick on To Cry You A Song and the Teacher. Teacher is the best song-listen for Glen Cornick`s bass here. “Hey man, what`s the plan, what was that you said? Sun-tanned, drink in hand, lying there in bed. I try to socialize, but I can`t seem to find. What I was looking for, got something on my mind.” I could identify with that line as a troubled young man.

Jack Shadoian from The Rolling Stone butchered it. Here`s a link to his original review posted on August 6, 1970. You don`t see those kinds of scathing reviews anymore in rock criticism. Rock critics got down back then! Moribund Art! Robert Christgau loathes the flute-playing Ian Anderson too? Well, I beg to differ. Listen for the backward flute on With You There To Help Me.

Be sure to add Benefit to your collection. Send me a comment to the question: Why are people either hot or cold when it comes to Jethro Tull?