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Drugstore Cowboy

Drugstore Cowboy

WRITING CREDITS:
Lester Bangs and Peter Laughner
  

Laughner [spoken]: "This is, uh,—the famous Lester Bangs session. It's called 'Drugstore Cowboy.'"

 

[?] to take your time.
Don't worry 'bout raping this rhyme.
Ah, honey, we'll just stand in line for you.
Like sniffin' glue.
Seen a lot of children goin' down
to the outskirts of town.
That's where the ole brown men
are sellin' that homemade gin.
If you think this song sounds like Otis Blue[1] pulled,
well, baby, you've done your homework full
and I hope you get good with it so far from that
you never have to go back to the laundromat[2] 
where all the Hoople[3] green children made their
folk music back in the days
when it was accusatory
to say you had an electric guitar.
That didn't mean acquainting a silly star
Oh, Patti,[4] this is only for you:
sh*t, I never even sniffed no glue.
I would do anything for you, doll.
I'd even lick your slit,
though you ain't my type.
And I never wanted to admit it,
friend.

 


 
APPEARS ON
The Creem Office Sessions bootleg cassette, MP3 disc
Track §1
WFMU (1975-1976), New Jersey; MP3 disc (2007)

 
SOURCES
Transcription by Lester Bangs Archive management, 2013.
 

Last Updated: 08/22/2016

ABOUT THE LYRICS:

Another jam from the 1976 Creem Office Sessions, the lyrics here are largely improvisational, and in some instances altogether speculative as transcriptions. By 1965, Lester was already experimenting with recreational pharmacology, and kept a chart of psychoactive patent medicines, which he named, "Drug Store Dope."

[1] Otis Blue: a.k.a., Otis Redding Sings Soul, is Redding's third studio album, released in 1965 on Stax Records. In 1968, "Sittin' On the Dock of a Bay" (co-written with Steve Cropper) was released a month after Otis Redding's death and was the first posthumous single in history to achieve #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Bangs and Laughner here readily admit to lifting "Drugstore Cowboy's" bluesy melody from Redding's album.

[2] "You never have to go back to the laundromat": Lester's hygiene was infamously bad, and, while staying with friends in Austin, Texas in 1980, he was tricked into swimming naked so that that his friends could take his noisome laundry to the local laundromat. (Source: Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs)

[3] "all the Hoople": possibly intended as word-play ("all the hoopla"), "Hoople" here refers to Mott the Hoople,  a mid-1970s English rock band. Lester's high school friend, Rob Houghton, recalls, "When Dylan went electric in 1965 Lester championed him in the face of the outraged folkies. The controversy raged in the El Cajon Valley High newspaper." (Source: Houghton, Rob. "My High School Days With Lester Bangs." San Diego Reader 13 July 2000.)

[4] "Patti": Godmother of Punk, Patti Smith.

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