Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Bang Bangs

I'm writing about Joe Strummer this week, which means reading about his career before, during, and after The Clash. Somehow, I'd overlooked the excellence of Lester Bangs's 1977 pieces on the band. Here's my favorite paragraph, recounting a particularly inspired concert:
It was one of those performances for which all the serviceable critical terms like "electrifying" are so pathetically inadequate, and after it was over I realized the futility of hitting Strummer for that interview I kept putting off on the "politics" of the situation. The politics of rock 'n' roll, in England or America or anywhere else, is that a whole lot of kids want to be fried out of their skins by the most scalding propulsion they can find, for a night they can pretend is the rest of their lives, and whether the next day they go back to work in shops or boredom on the dole or American TV doldrums in Mom 'n' Daddy's living room nothing can cancel the reality of that night in the revivifying flames when for once if only then in your life you were blasted outside of yourself and the monotony which defines most life anywhere at any time, when you supped on lightning and nothing else in the realms of the living or dead mattered at all.
That's the problem with coupling pop music and politics: the moment triumphs over duration. But I feel it, man, I feel it.

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