Perfect Sound Forever


Lester Bangs


Lester Bangs was one of best writers to ever try to put his opinion across about music. He spewed enough bile to empty out his liver a couple of hundred times over. He also talked about his own deepest, darkest, sickest thoughts and tried to understand and excise them. He wrestled Handsome Dick Manitoba of The Dictators, tried to outdrink/outdrug his hero Lou Reed (who he actually out-wrote many times) and did an encore with the J. Geils Band (playing his typewriter). Lester was well-read too with favorites including Federico Garcia Lorca and William Carlos Williams. You could go through a review or interview he did and trip across a sentence like "The proximity of other humans often fills me with overwhelming anxiety, but I also feel that this precarious sentience is all we've got and... it's a person's duty to the potentials of his own soul to make the best of it." A lot of people would laugh and cringe at this but they're cowards. Most writers who spew out cuss-words are trying to enrage and sell copy without any of the soul that Lester had. God, I miss him.

In any case, before the Mekons called it quits for the first time around '82, they put out a collection called The Mekons Story (now reissued on Feels Good All Over) on their own label with notes done by Lester. Just like Lester, they knew they were in the rock biz and loved and hated it and wanted it to be something more. - Billy Bob Hargus

The Mekons are the most revolutionary group in the history of rock 'n' roll. They are also the finest artists ever to have graced this admittedly somewhat degenerate form with the grace of their aesthetic sensibilities, rarefied as a glimpse through a butterfly's wing. The muses gobbled cantharides for these fellows. Collectively they compromise a kind of Sistine Chapel ceiling neath which the pathetic mess of pottage which is commonly snickered off as the 'rock scene' from PiL to Black Oak Arkansas, can but swash buboed forearms cross their offal-crusted snouts and recommence to grovel together in the La Brea-trackless depths of corporate swill.

Remember the scene in Lina Wertmuller's SEVEN BEAUTIES where the concentration camp inmate commits suicide by swandiving into a vat of festeringly clotted human excrement approximately the length and depth of Troy Donahue's pool at the La Cienega he owned in the summer of 1963? And all because he would rather drown lungs full of shit than endure one more moment of this travesty posing as existence. Well, that's how John L$d$n told me he felt after hearing this new LP by the Mekons. 'I must give it up' he wailed, knocking over his bottle of Tetley's AND NOT BOTHERING TO GET ANOTHER ONE! He took his vial of crystal meth and poured it out of the open window of Virgin Records' offices, where it was quickly devoured by a passing train of abbesses, who began to frug frantically while lamenting as one keening dolorous wind-chilled whine their ignorance of the current whereabouts of "Killer" Joe Piro, as well as Monti Rock III...

..."Man! I thought I had 'em conned with that Public Image shit but these cats called my bluff! I'm a washout!"...

Meanwhile the planet Earth is rid of yet another snivelling ingrate. The Mekons may now assume their proper place in the highest bowers in the hallowed halls of Rocque (co-leased by Wolfman Jack and Sid Bernstein). THEY ARE BETTER THAN THE BEATLES. They are better than Budgie and REO Speedwagon combined, they gave me $1500 for writing these notes. They come not to bury rock but to gourmandize it. All their Daddies are rich which is why they get to keep putting out this swill. I have never heard this album. I never will. I have better things to do such as misting my Begonias or playing Eno's MUSIC FOR PIZZERIAS to my Goldfish to wean him off his Valium habit. Music is all worthless garbage as obselete as a lorgnette at a destruction derby in 'south' carolina. I never listen to music and neither do the Mekons. They make it instead. Everybody has to do something. My advise to you is to kill yourself. But buy this record first. It will make a nice coaster for your grieving relatives to put their Bushmills and water on.

NYC January 1981

ED NOTE: Also see our Mekons interview