"...and he doesn't care about rock 'n' roll at all..."
"The ascendence of the people is an indication of the level to which rock has sunk. It's appearance and artifice. There's nothing, I believe, truly committed about either a Bryan Ferry or a David Bowie. It's much more using of rock for their own ego-aggrandisement rather than a belief in the music they are working with."
That was Lester Bangs on the Glam Rock programme in the series All You Need Is Love.
This is the first criticism of artists in the whole series. This is the present day mid seventies. We are waiting for a new musical form to blow the old status quo out of the water. We are waiting for Whatever You Want.
Lester met Ferry at a party. Ferry had little to say to Lester. Lester took this as intellectual poverty, a great disappointment to hear nothing passionate and real from a man Lester had held up as a musical hero after the release of Roxy Music's first album.
So Bowie and Ferry are not great speakers. So what? They're entertainers, Lester. You wouldn't expect Liberace to talk about how much he "believes" in his music. He's in it to show off, to be loved, to be desired by a gaggle of old women!
The same programme showed Gary Glitter, giving his all to an audience of young girls. And they were loving it! There he was, his great hairy gut pushing for freedom from his tight jumpsuit, his nipples red and raw from the friction. And the silly moos were crying "Gary! Gary!", tears of love rolling down their chubby cheeks. Bloody hell, I wonder how those women feel if they see themselves now!
I said to Betty, "Was Adam Ant influenced by Glitter? The two drums and all?" We agreed he must have been. Even going so far as having a Gary in his band, the estimable Mr Tibbs.
Lester was spitting at the times. He's funny and entertaining to watch. But railing so at the seventies it makes you wonder what on earth would he have thought of the soulless mid eighties if he'd survived that long? He was listening to Human League's Dare at the time of his drug-induced death. That's a classic album but Lester probably hated it with its uncommitted synth pop and the LP's cover picture of the completely vacuous, artifical singer in in girls' make up.
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