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Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. Legs McNeil, Author, Gillian McCain, With Grove/Atlantic $25 (p) ISBN Please Kill Me and other books & projects by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. Music, art, culture, fashion, poetry and movies - from the 60s through today.


Please Kill Me Book

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Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Paperback – August 9, Start reading Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk on your Kindle in under. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk [Legs McNeil, Gillian Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the month in fiction, nonfiction. A Time Out and Daily News Top Ten Book of the Year upon its initial release, Please Kill Me is the first oral history of the most nihilist of all pop movements.

You know, immature and freaky. But I was thinking, 'Why? Just because I'm trying to turn you on to good rock and roll? I'm trying to get through to you and you think I'm flaky? Well, I think you're bourgeois, and I don't like you. The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. To be fair, I prompted the inscription.

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'Please Kill Me,' 20 Years Later

Thirty Years from the Home of Underground Rock. Hilly Kristal. Product details Hardcover: Little Brown; 1st Edition edition Language: English ISBN Start reading Please Kill Me: Don't have a Kindle?

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Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk

I found Please Kill Me insightful, informative and fascinating. It told me a lot of things I didn't know, even though I followed the punk era closely in the magazines of the time; caught the tail end of it when I moved to NYC in the '80s; and actually became acquainted with a few of the people mentioned in the book. From what I know, at least, it's pretty accurate. Please Kill Me is not meant to be uplifting. It's a book about a bunch of mostly messed-up, at best semi-stable people of limited talent, who nonetheless came together to create something great.

It's the story of those people, not the specific chords they played or the amplifiers they used. It's unusual in that it goes into great depth explaining the genesis of punk; this book makes it clear that the foundation was laid long before the Ramones ever played a note.

It's also a fantastic read. I started reading it on a cross-country flight and stayed up all night finishing it. It's especially compelling when you contrast it with the sanitized, glorified shopping mall that now calls itself New York City. I wrote this review after seeing too many denigrate the book because it presented a different picture of the people and the music than they expected.

This guy was right in the middle of it all, and earned his knowledge through personal experience. There are only a few other people who can match his depth of understanding on this topic, or his passion for it. Verified Purchase. This is Punk as it happened by the people who were there.

In New York, and some in Detroit and London. Bit of California. And the club kids and the hangers-on, the club owners and the drug dealers. It is sad. There were these big sliding glass doors where of course the methhead psychos lurking in the dark could watch me mopping, all lit up, but I couldn't see out, and most nights I'd be I read most of this one night while working the graveyard shift at a very institutional group home in the real methy part of SE Portland.

There were these big sliding glass doors where of course the methhead psychos lurking in the dark could watch me mopping, all lit up, but I couldn't see out, and most nights I'd be really on edge and ready to run for the parole guys' room if any of the scary noises I heard outside turned out to be some twisted someone smashing through the glass and grabbing my spleen as an ingredient to use in his basement meth lab.

Anyway, that one night I didn't have time to worry about getting chopped into pieces by violent, spun-out hicks, because I was too busy drinking Vanilla Coke after Vanilla Coke in the office, not mopping the place and absorbing naturally this very absorbing oral history of the seminal New York City punk scene. The best part by far -- and I wish I had my copy still, so I could quote directly -- was this desciption of Richard Hell, who'd rip all those holes in his shirt and then go around all moony-eyed and moaning, "Oh, poor me, my life is so hard, here I am, with all these holes in my shirt!

From an educational standpoint, this book really made me appreciate the ladies who intervened in the years after the era it described. Not that things ever got great, but reading this paints a pretty horrifying picture, from a female perspective.

With the exception of Patti Smith, and to some extent Debbie Harry, the early punk scene was pretty damn limiting if you were a woman. Basically if you were amazingly gorgeous you were Bebe Buell, and you were considered a "muse," which meant you'd pick some hot rock star and be a highly coveted, specialized, and respected version of what most of the other girls around seem to have been considered during this time, which was interchangeable fuck-hole groupies.

It might've been worth it to see these bands live in their heyday at CBGB's, but I don't think being a lady hanging around that scene sounds very fulfilling.

This book makes for an interesting contrast with his newer porn oral history, from a feminist perspective. I mean, I'd rather be Marilyn Chambers any day of the week than most of these punk chicks. This is not to say it was bad for all of them, but that's one of the impressions this book left me with.

In any case, it's a great read, and anyone who cares at all about classic punk has doubtless read it already, or should have. View all 7 comments. Jan 11, Noel rated it it was amazing. I absolutely inhaled this. And he presents that argument well. Pretty much everyone in the book appears to be exactly what I already thought: No, Lou Reed is a scat-munching douche.

I'm not even that much of a fan, but it's hard to hate Iggy. So, highly recommended, is what I'm getting at here View all 3 comments. Jul 22, matt rated it liked it Recommends it for: As an avid reader and subsequent loather of "punk rock" history, I was excited to get into this.

And although I didn't get exactly what I was looking for, it's certainly worth a read for those who can stomach it. I can't claim to not like oral histories having only previously read the "People's Oral History" by Zinn which is a blood orange compared to Wayne Kramers' red delicious.

That being said, I found this book far too gossipy and "sceney" making me think that cliques in music existed long As an avid reader and subsequent loather of "punk rock" history, I was excited to get into this.

You fucked Johnny thunders? He vomited on your couch!!? NO WAY! For those who want the shortened version, I'll sum it up. Patti Smith was a delusional bitch. Lou Reed had tons of gay sex and was mean to everyone.

Dee Dee Ramone was a prostitute and hated the rest of his band. The Dead Boys and The Heartbreakers did a lot of drugs. Iggy Pop manipulated people for smack.

The New York Dolls were popular for a year, tops. MC5 were sexist and full of shit. A few people OD'ed, and the Sex Pistols came along and ruined the fun for everyone. Sound good? Kind of. But a few major gripes here. Or "people Legs McNeil was friends with. It's the same with the British movement. Malcolm Mclaran is of course given his due here but the raging prejudice put against the UK bands "The Damned were posers! The Clash didn't know what they were talking about! Perhaps this book serves as an interesting antidote to the idea that it was "better in the old days" although I'm sure that the author and the few that survived probably believes otherwise.

It certainly doesn't seem that way. Too many knife fights and junkies shooting up in the bathroom, thanks. Yes, Iggy might have been electrifying rolling around in glass but nihilism, as it turns out, isn't all its cracked up to be. View all 5 comments. Oct 09, Dr. Detroit rated it it was amazing. Although, inevitably, there is a bit of overlap with old-school Brit punk, just beginning to take seed across the pond somewhere along this sordid timeline, Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain hit the ground running er, staggering, trying to explain out how two bands of proto-punks — MC5 and the Stooges - placed Detroit, a noisy nowhere land in mid-America, on the map forever.

It must have been something in the water around here or the charm and comfort of living in a place where music biz marketing trends and gimmicks are met with a wizened, cynical roll of the eyes. Well, the guns part of the equation at least. The rest they just sort of fell into. The Stooges…well who knows what the hell they were thinking, their stock in trade a big-bang, primordial collision of monosyllabic angst and convulsing, tribal rhythm that staked out a section of real estate entirely its own, oscillating between grey areas of alienation, tedium, and outright dementia, Iggy yammering, grunting, and howling like a feral cat on methamphetamine and human growth hormone.

Plain and simple: But by early the band was done like dinner, Iggy facing down a motorcycle gang at the Michigan Palace, finger on the self-destruct button while dodging eggs, light bulbs, paper cups and worse, taunting them with, "You nearly killed me but you missed again, so you have to keep tryin' next week" his final comment to close a seven-year run.

Only problem was there wasn't a next week. Big Apple dreamers, the band went to the edge of teen-beat stardom and looked down, content to lift a few drinks, crank a few chicks, and wreck a couple of hotel rooms. Anything greater would have been just too much hassle. Their debut album, released when punk was overlapping disco, fell on deaf dimwit ears for the most part and for those of us who felt they may just change the world — if not the music biz — the failure of their sales to approximate the accolades or even get on the radio once in a while is still a stake through the heart of the year-old that beats within my chest somewhere.

Thus begins Please Kill Me, a compilation of interviews with some of the most influential talent in the industry and on the streets through the early 90s. Photos throughout The book is broken into chapters that follow a timeline that flow through music progression and drug prevalence.

I'm seriously 4. I'm seriously surprised more of these people didn't die during the early years, although many were dead by the re authorization. The focus is on American punk, which, unbeknownst to me, is where the movement began, about fifteen years before England.

There is a similar book on England's movement, and it is on my to-read list if anyone is interested. In this book only the Sex Pistols are discussed.

I am ashamed to say that I've had to create a list of bands with whom I'm not familiar so I can Spotify the music. These bands, except Patti Smith, were men, and were self-destructive.

Please Kill Me : The Uncensored Oral History of Punk

Their behavior was off the charts, but most were extremely artistic. How they attracted so many women in such a decrepit state is beyond me. I guess like attracts like. This read was an absolute revelation. I'll never listen to music the same way.

Nov 12, Laura rated it really liked it Recommended to Laura by: Jessica Gutteridge. If you love gossipy oral histories, this is the book for you. It's probably better if you're familiar with the music, but that's not a prerequisite. And it's often hysterically funny, depending on who's being interviewed -- Richard Lloyd and Richard Hell both made me laugh out loud a number of times.

One of the best parts: Mojo Risin', as he said it far better than I ever could: Bob Dylan elevated it. Morrison's wasn't poetry. It was garbage disguised as teenybopper. Or eleven-year-olds. There has got to be a reason why women like Nico and Gloria Stavers, the editor of 16 Magazine, fell so deeply in love with him, because he was essentially an abusive man to women.

But it sure wasn't his poetry. I've got to tell you, it wasn't his poetry. He had a big dick. That was probably it. Jan 13, Erika rated it liked it Shelves: Things I learned from this book Everyone had sex with everyone else at one point or another. Male, female, transsexuals, johns, etc.

How did punk even get started? I mean really, it amazes me that punk even remotely got off it's feet, everyone was so messed up. He's so perfectly strange. I love the Doors and Jim to a fault, but let's get real. Those performances were less fuck you's and more I'm wasted out of my mind and don't know what is going on.

But hey, it gave Iggy motivation too do the Stooges so I'll take it. Well that worked out well. Burroughs "I always thought punk was someone who took it up the ass".

I find it interesting and a little amusing that this was the term that was used to coin this movement. I respect that they took a derogatory term and flipped it on it's head though. It's very punk of them. Well, that isn't really new, but it needs repeating. I'm a little torn on my feelings on this book.

How the albums that came out were even remotely decent is shocking, much less as game changing as they were.

It was interesting to see the NY scene's take on the origins of punk, obviously they lay claim to the title for themselves rather than the UK scene.

I see it as more of feeding off each other, they both used the same nihilistic anarchy and general fuck off feeling put out through simple but heavy guitar riffs. It was garage rock with a flair of fuck you. I guess a majority of the hate towards UK punk seems to come at the heels of the fashion statement that came along with them.

Like so many other genres, people latched on to a fad to follow and then they lost their way with the music. It doesn't make [some of] those bands any less influential under all of that crap though. I loathed to enjoy most of this book. While the antics of the scene had it's moments of enjoyment, the fact that the same scene played a part in destroying so many lives makes it hard to read about it.

They did it to themselves, yes, but that doesn't make it any less sad to see how they ended up. No matter whether it was the NY or the UK scene who started punk, they created something amazing and in turn influenced so many others to create even more. Now I need to find a book on the Cali punk scene to finish my journey of punk off. View 2 comments. Dec 26, Thomas rated it it was amazing. Guess what mom Oct 10, Lynx rated it it was amazing Shelves: I've read this book many times before and will often pick it up and reread chunks here and there.

It is simply the best book you will ever find on the birth of punk rock. Everyone who was in the scene adds fascinating, fun and often outrageous stories you won't find elsewhere.

From musicians, poets, artists, groupies, friends, management Super informative and so much fun. Very highly recommend! Jul 08, Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is the most extensive book I've ever read on punk culture, from the fashion to the music. It even briefly mentions similar styles, like goth.

Oct 05, Satyros Brucato rated it liked it Shelves: There's a lot to like about this book. But is it a "definitive history of punk rock"? Fuck no.

Not even close. Bull fucking shit. There was zero mention of the West Coast scene which had already birthed the Runawa There's a lot to like about this book.

There was zero mention of the West Coast scene which had already birthed the Runaways, Dead Kennedys Black Flag, Christian Death and X - among others - by the time Sid Vicious kicked it , the Washington scene home of Bad Brains and Minor Threat, among many others or the Australian scene where Radio Birdman sounded like Television crossed with the Ramones before either band had released an album to influence them.

No Devo, no Bs, no Grace Jones, not even a breath about Motorhead, who combined punk and metal back before most "classic" punk bands even existed. No indeedy - the authors assert that punk lived and died with the original CBGBs crowd, and that everything that came afterward was either cheap trashy spectacle or "corporate rock.

The authors go on several rants about the "integrity" of old-school punk; the book, however, is one long chronicle of stupid kids who live like rock stars on massive amounts of money they essentially scam from their major-label record companies. They buy cars, houses, and tons of dope with that money and then bitch and moan about how no one understands the "purity of their art. Ian McKaye has more "artistic integrity" in his little finger than the New York Dolls displayed in their entire career.

Like I said, there's a lot to appreciate in this first-hand account of punk's roots. But it's nowhere close to telling even THAT story, much less the story of where punk went from the late '70s onward. The contention that "punk died" with Sid and Johnny is as pathetic as it is inaccurate.

The fact that the authors end their collection of memories with a snide backhand at Nirvana "Nevermind" just underscores their dismissal of everything beyond Patti Smith's initial retirement from the scene. And that is VERY far from the end of punk's history. And then go fuck right off back to your precious memories and leave the history-writing to other people. Sep 08, Cynthia rated it liked it. Punk rockers would make terrible dinner party guests.

They will break your good china and roll around in the shards. They will defacate on the dessert. They will shoot up in your bathroom.

They will hit on your grandmother. They also should make for interesting reading and, for the most part, the book delivered.

I learned: That's where she met Sid Vicious. Many people thought their drug dealer actually did it. He realized he "was the product". He cleaned up and he started saving his money. That's right. One of the most famous punks of all time, saved his life, by replacing nihilism with captalism. Isn't that fantstic? Overall, interesting. I was disappointed that this book is billed the history of punk rock and really only covered New York punk and English punk as it pertained to the New York scene.

They barely touched on the key differences between the two. New York being a prodcut of the art scene and England being a product of working class hopelessness.

The LA scene wasn't touched and other East Coast punk bands of great importance, such as Black Flag, didn't get a mention. Jan 06, Troy rated it really liked it Shelves: After the horrendous disappointment that was American Hardcore , I decided to pick up this book, an old favorite, to see if my younger self was delusional. Maybe this book, which I loved so much, was a steaming pile of dog shit? So I picked it up, trepidatious, and started randomly.

And I was hooked. After careening through many chapters and completely losing myself in the crazy panoply of deranged and contradictory voices, I stopped reading and started from the beginning. And read the book straig After the horrendous disappointment that was American Hardcore , I decided to pick up this book, an old favorite, to see if my younger self was delusional.

And read the book straight through, except for work, food, and sleep. It was better than I remembered. This is oral history done right. Several different voices will sketch out the same story, and the stories are always great, and the various characters nearly always disagree about what happened and how it happened and sometimes even who it happened to.

The book is catty and funny, and full of great freaks who are out of their mind, but in a way that makes you want to emulate them; in a way that made me want to throw my desk through the window and go start a band and go shoot dope, but then comes the end of the book, which is extremely sad, and switches gears, as we now follow a large chunk of the endlessly fascinating and destructive people spiral into death.

And they were fucking great. And still are. Sometime in the late s, a bad mojo was beginning to well up within the ranks of the flower power movement. There were quite a few disaffected outsiders that seemed to have figured out that the revolution was not destined to last, that it was in fact quickly becoming a sham.

As corporate America began to swallow and repackage the '60s, some of the folks left behind by the peace and love generation began to vent their anger and shape a new vision.

Proto-punk bands like the MC5 and The Stooges Sometime in the late s, a bad mojo was beginning to well up within the ranks of the flower power movement. Proto-punk bands like the MC5 and The Stooges started to build upon the foundation that had been laid by the Velvet Underground.

Their music was raw and violent in its presentation, sonically threadbare and unpretentious. By the mids, a true scene began to happen in New York City that would serve to galvanize and give a true voice to this disaffected generation, a scene that would take its cues directly from the violent and sleazy underground that it dwelled in.

Co-author Legs McNeil was a founding member of the seminal fanzine that helped give the nascent scene its name and identity. McNeil and co-author Gillian McCain present their material in the form of interviews with a vast number of the people who were there on the front lines, experiencing and inventing the punk scene as it developed.

Overall, it's a great book, and the interview format really works well.

Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil

The book is worth its price just on the strength of the Iggy stories alone, but there is a ton of great source material here covering a lot of ground. I might have wished for a slightly larger photo section, but that's a minor gripe at best.

Readers must make note that this book covers primarily the development of s-era New York punk, with a side detour to England to witness the birth of the Sex Pistols and British punk. Punk did indeed die at the end of the '70s, and it has of course been resurrected and reinvented by succeeding generations. But if you want to know where the whole thing began, you have to get this book. That so many subcultures could coalesce to create the movement was a small miracle in and of itself.

The music itself was almost secondary to the boiling vat of street poets and posers and prostitutes and junk dealers and users that populate these pages. Add to that stew the burgeoning LGBT movement and it was the perfect setup for raw, uncompromising, real music made at ground level.

The stuff that came later, like hardcore and crossover and grunge… This is one of the few truly essential books on punk rock that you should own if you have any interest at all in the subject. Leggs McNeil, the author, was one of the founders of Punk! View 1 comment.

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