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Paperback Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Book

ISBN: 0140266909

ISBN13: 9780140266900

Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk

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Book Overview

"Ranks up there with the great rock & roll books of all time."-- Time Out New York "Lurid, insolent, disorderly, funny, sometimes gross, sometimes mean and occasionally touching . . . Resounds with... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

As authentic as it gets.......a riveting roller-coaster of a read

Sometime in the late 1960'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 60's, 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 started to build upon the foundation that had been laid by the Velvet Underground. Their music was raw and violent in it's presentation, sonically threadbare and unpretentious. By the mid-1970's, 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 it's 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 it's name and identity. "Punk" magazine was truly a groundbreaker, giving vital press to bands who would have otherwise gotten precious little exposure in the mainstream rock fanzines. "Please Kill Me" covers New York punk from it's birth in the mid-60's at Andy Warhol's Factory all the way to it's eventual death in the late-70's, as corporate America once again begins to catch the wave and numerous members of the original first wave of punk begin to burn out from the excessive and dangerous lifestyles that they embraced. 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. Johnny Thunders, Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, The Ramones, Richard Hell, Danny Fields....they are all heard from here along with a host of groupies, drug dealers, hookers, agents and managers, club owners, and other scene hangers-on. Overall, it's a great book, and the interview format really works well. The book is worth it's price just on the strength of the Iggy stories alone, but there's a ton of great source material here covering a lot of ground. it's a weighty tome at 500+ pages, but it reads fast and the stories never drag. 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 1970'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 70's, 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. HIGHLY recommended!

I Love Legs!

I first got this book because a good friend and fellow music afficianado was AGHAST that I'd never read it. Or even heard of it. So, happily she supplied me with a copy for my birthday a few years ago. It's one of those books that alternately horrifies you and makes you laugh out loud in surprising bursts that scare away pets. The stories are told by those who were there, and are so blunt it's almost shocking. It's all about the music, the drugs, the art, the friendships..and it's absolutely a book you have to set aside enough time to read in one sitting. I've read this book so many times, and now I've turned into my friend: "you've read Please Kill Me, right? NO?! Aggghhh!" Then I rush out and buy it for the poor soul who's unaware of the greatness. Cheers to Legs McNeil for gathering up all this information from all these different personailites and having the sense to write it all down!

Great recounting of the NY underground music scene

I am not sure who invented the oral biography, though I suspect the honors should go to Studs Terkel. This is one of the best representatives of the genre that I have ever read. Some have called the book revisionist, in that it asserts the primacy of the New York and American punk movement over that of the English Punk movement. Properly speaking, it isn't at all revisionist: it is a corrective. In fact, the point of the book is that the British Punk Movement, which made more of an impact in the public eye and the mass media, actually hit the scene as punk was more or less dying. Johnny Rotten and the Clash and all the others didn't come at the beginning of punk, but only after it had been around for years and was actually fading in NY. In other words, Punk wasn't an English invention, but an American one.The book begins with the Velvet Underground and then proceeds to the founders of Punk, people like Iggy Pop and the MC5 and the New York Dolls. All the major figures on the New York scene are dealt with in detail, from Patti Smith and the Heartbreakers to the Ramones and, my favorite NYC band, Television (who I discovered after they broke up for the first time, but who I have since seen live twice in Chicago, first in 1993 and then in 2001). Not merely the great bands and performers are featured, but a lot of the people on the scene that music fans might not have been familiar with. In fact, so many people are quoted that you begin to get confused, but not to despair: there is a very helpful Cast of Characters near the end of the book.A great book, and one that will have any fan of the New York underground music scene in the sixties and seventies rushing to pull out their old records, and perhaps to rush out and buy a few new ones.

Blitzkrieg Book

This is one of those books that I loved so much it's actually kind of hard for me to put into words and write a review for. My husband had it on order... months before it came out, and after he brought it home, we practically fought over who got to read it first. We eventually had to work something out where we took turns and read it in shifts. Either that or one of us would sneak out and read it when the other fell asleep. If you like punk rock, it's hard to put down.I love "oral history" style books, and this is one of the best I've ever read. At first I planned just to read everything about The Ramones (which was a lot)and not the rest. But I had so much fun reading everything else I just read it straight through. I wasn't around for the New York punk scene in the mid-late 70's, but this book gives you such a vivid idea of what it was like that I felt like I was there. I'm partial to any of the Ramones-related sections, but Dee Dee Ramone's voice really stood out. He tells enough in PKM that it could almost fill another book. He's definitely just as good of a storyteller as he is a song writer, has a good sense of humor, and his prose was definitely different. He talks about meeting his girlfriend from hell, Connie (I never thought I'd get to see a picture of the woman who inspired the Ramones song "Glad to See You Go"): "She was a hooker, I was a Ramone, and we were both junkies."If you want gossip and dirt about the NY scene, there's plenty of good stuff. Who slept with who, who wanted to sleep with who, who back-stabbed who (sometimes literally), who didn't get along, who did what drug and how much, and much more. Even if you thought you'd read everything there was about the NY scene, or your favorite band from that time, there's stories you never heard before. This back doesn't try to glamorize anything, in fact the scene was sleazier than I thought (I remember wondering about halfway through if there was anyone that WASN'T doing heroin or sleeping with everybody else at some point). You still, however, get an idea of how fun it must have been. I went back and forth between being glad I was reading about it instead of being there and wishing that I really had been there. It really covers just about everything, and continues on to the present day. The last 1/5 or so of the book has many of the people involved in the scene getting ill and/or dying (mostly caused directly or indirectly from drugs) so it does get pretty sad and even depressing, but that's what happened, and they don't try to gloss it over. I'm just glad the book came out before Joey Ramone passed away or even got sick, because there's enough heart-breaking stuff in there as it is.I actually prefer the first edition. True, there are some stories in the updated edition that are pretty funny, in particular one someone told about running into Sid Vicious and saying they had to go pick up their vacuum cleaner, and Sid assuming "vacuum cleaner" was some kind of drug lingo and wantin

They shoulda been rich!

This book is a who's who of the true spirit of American rock'n'roll--never mind that the average person on the street couldn't tell you who Johnny Thunders, Stiv Bators, Dee Dee Ramone or Richard Hell are. What a marvelous way of writing history--we see how the outrageous stories collide and intersect; we get to "hear" the youthful energy and enthusiasm first-hand; we gain fresh insights into folks we thought we'd learned all about years ago. People like Joey Ramone and Iggy Pop are, of course, heroes to me--to see them brought to such life here as real people is an absolute joy. I got to meet Legs and Gillian on their tour for the book several years ago and they are the epitome of COOL, as are the people in this book. Pix are good too, I especially dig the one of Johnny Thunders, Richard Hell and Sid Vicious out on bail. Poor kid. I don't care if the majority of music listeners don't know who these folks are--rock'n'roll wouldn've died out years ago if it hadn't been for their reckless, drug-fueled ferocity and their maniacal genius raw power. Buy this and "England's Dreaming" and that's punk baby! LAMF Forever!

Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Mentions in Our Blog

Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk in Welcome to the 2020s!
Welcome to the 2020s!
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • January 01, 2020

Happy New Decade! We are embarking on a brand-new era. It may seem a bit arbitrary, but we humans like to retrospectively infuse these tidy ten-year periods with distinct personalities. Here we review the character of the last five decades and make some guesses about how the 2020s will be remembered.

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