Photograph by Roberta Bayley, 1976.
This film looks at the adolescent years and young adulthood of legendary music journalist Lester Bangs. From age 11 in 1960 to 1971, when he moved to the Creem house in Detroit, Lester Bangs grew up and lived in El Cajon, a Southern California suburb 15 miles east of San Diego. It was in El Cajon that he became a writer.
Lester's high school friends Gary Rachac, Milt Wyatt, Jerry Raney, and Jack Butler (appearing in that order) discuss the music scene in El Cajon in the mid-60s. At this time, Lester would sit in with Jerry and Jack's Thee Dark Ages at El Cajon's Hi Ho Club, the biggest, most popular teenage nightclub in all of San Diego county.
In this clip from the film A BOX FULL OF ROCKS, Mike Stax of Ugly Things magazine cites Greg Shaw of Who Put the Bomp and discusses Lester's approach to writing. The "avalanche of words" observation is quite poignant.
We are starting to experiment with transitions to link together the various sections of the film A Box Full of Rocks:The El Cajon Years of Lester Bangs. Here is a montage of photos set to the song "Where is the poet Christ?" by the Flying Sandolini. Let us know what you think!!!
Lester's high school friend and fellow Beat, Rob Houghton discusses their experimentation with recreational chemicals and Lester's almost analytical approach to drug taking. This series of short clips comes from a longer 20-minute section of the film.
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Here, Lester's biographer Jim Derogatis discusses the role of the critic in Art and why Lester's legacy (and music journalism in general) is so important. A special thanks to Michael Fennelly for the photo of Lester with girlfriend Andy and Michael's band Crabby Appleton.
In this clip from the film, Lester's friend Milt Wyatt talks about a day when Lester's mom Norma drove the kids to the beach. Milt was also from a Jehovah Witness family. For years, he and Lester would hang out in Lester's room, listening to records and talking music, before and after the weekly Jehovah Witness meetings held at Norma's house.
Lester Bangs grew up in apartments. He lived in rented, attached housing virtually his entire life. Here, El Cajon writer Mindy Solis discusses the culture that rises out of the endless maze of El Cajon apartments. The street footage follows First Street north toward Madison. NOTE: The footage stops right below Lester's apartment window.
In this rough clip form the film, Grossmont College professor Sydney Brown explains some of the ways Lester Bangs is being honored today in El Cajon, CA, his hometown. The footage comes from the 2012 Lester Bangs Memorial Reading, which was attended by a couple hundred people.