Lester Bangs Letter – Sorry About the Tape

This letter from legendary music journalist Lester Bangs is making the rounds

This letter from legendary music journalist Lester Bangs is making the rounds:

Dear Steve:

Sorry about your tape, but with the sheer volume of stuff that comes into this office–manuscripts, press releases, records, correspondence of all types including tapes–things can and often do get lost. I remember you sending me a cassette–that is, I remember your name and that there was a cassette–and it is quite possible that that cassette is buried somewhere beneath the strata of garbage in the nether reaches of my desk. Which is no comment on its aesthetic merit, but rather on my own housekeeping. I did intend to listen to it, as I always (or usually, anyway–sometimes you can tell strictly from the accompanying letter that you would be wasting you time) try to listen to tapes and records sent in by new and unsigned artists. But unfortunately I don’t always have the time, since I am usually so far behind on my own work for CREEM and other magazines that I am constantly chasing my own ass. (?) (Oh, well, literary license or whatever..) But anyway, don’t worry about your tape–I’ve got it somewhere, nobody’s copped it or your songs, and someday, unless this office goes up in flames, I may even find it and listen to it. So don’t be surprised if you hear from me about its relative merits sometime in 1978. It would merely be par for the course, and right on schedule, in terms of the way things go around this office. For further information, read Brendan Gill’s Here At the New Yorker and multiply the inefficiency by ten.

Best regards,

(Signed)

Lester Bangs

In addition to the rambling informality, I’m struck by the typos, strikeovers, and such. I’m old enough to have used a manual typewriter and finished my undergraduate career–indeed, my masters–without owning a computer. But there was always correction type, white-out, or an eraser available to avoid sending out letters that looked like this.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. sam says:

    “But there was always correction type, white-out, or an eraser available to avoid sending out letters that looked like this.”

    Well, yeah, I suppose. But if he was writing it on the fly, as is apparent he was, and wanted to get out PDQ, I’d cut him some slack. Besides, doesn’t the letter just reinforce the point he’s making: he’s living in Rock Critic Chaos. That is, the letter, as artifact, just reflects the mess he has to negotiate.

  2. sam says:

    And BTW, given the age we live in, that letter is War and Peace compared to this stuff: TopTweets.

  3. tom p says:

    I don’t think Lester Bangs, of all people, needs to apologize for the way he writes.