sounds off on the current state of music criticism:
He thinks "the clubby self-reinforcing promo culture of criticism always needs an outsider to give it all a good kicking. ...
"There ought to be a sort of "critic code" to notify the reader of the critic's relationship with the artist in question, and also the relative security of the critic's career. Beginning critics often lapse into the publicist game, because their skins are thin -- and hell, you can build a nice career out of coddling artists.
"Part of the reason everyone worships Lester Bangs it that he turned his enthusiastic sound-scoping into a severe bout of self-abuse. Bangs nearly destroyed himself when confronting his hero Lou Reed, whose solo albums just sucked. But those interviews turned into classics of modern criticism: two dead dead flowers rustling and shaking across the hotel bedspread. People try to top that shit today, and fail miserably. Nick Kent succeeded, sometimes, but then, getting chain-whipped by Sid Vicious is definitely more "real" than a grunting nasal know-it-all lecture on methamphetamines.
"Nobody but old fogies could give a shit about Lou Reed's solo records in the seventies, yet we all hunger to reread Lester's articles on the topic. See, that's the other thing: critics should always be looking at the long run, not the short run. The we-shall-all-be-dead critics will astound you with the risks they take, their icy rock-solid balls (or ovaries as the case may be), their willingness to alienate everyone just to speak the plain truth to the next generation.... "