Sorry about your tape

Circa 1974: Revered music journalist, musician, and then-editor of Creem, Lester Bangs, writes an endearing letter of apology to an unsigned musician named Steve after misplacing a cassette sent to the magazine for review. After light-heartedly blaming his chaotic work environment, Bangs compares the disorganisation of his office to that of writer Brendan Gill; author of the highly recommended Here At The New Yorker.

Transcript follows. Image courtesy of Shooting People.


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,


Lester Bangs