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Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Paperback – April 13, 2006
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
This book tells it like it was. It is the very first book to do so.” William S. Burroughs
Does for the Ramones what the disciples did for Jesus.” LA Weekly
Dishes the crud on everyone . . . candid, inside, and detailed.” The New Yorker
Lurid, insolent, disorderly, funny, sometimes gross, sometimes mean and occasionally touching.” The New York Times
The riotously funny story of New York punk told by those who were there.” Daily News
Top customer reviews
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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.
In New York, and some in Detroit and London. Bit of California. Mostly Lou Reed and Iggy Pop and the Ramones and the Dead Boys and Blondie.
And the club kids and the hangers-on, the club owners and the drug dealers.
Everyone who doesn’t die gets old.
It is sad.
It is beautiful.
It ends, like everything, too soon.
The book is entirely made up of interviews from everyone who could possibly have anything to say about the seedy history of Punk music. There is no descriptive content other than these interviews which are carefully and cleverly woven together to provide a dynamic timeline of this ugly step child sub-genre of rock and roll. Everyone is interviewed, from musicians to producers to journalists to drug dealers to drag queens to groupies. This complete cast of characters from both sides of the Atlantic creates a narrative so seedy that sometimes you feel you have to bathe after reading it.
And that is as it should be because the story in its decadence is completely mesmerizing.
Everybody is here, The New York Dolls, MC5, The Dictators, The Dead Boys, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Patti Smith and that only gets you half way through the book. I am also happy to report that as a huge fan I was gratified to learn that the number one degenerate from which all Punk sprang (or, more appropriately, seeped) is the king himself, Mr. Iggy Pop; a man pretty much at the center of this descent into musical madness.
For me this is the definitive story, and by far the best overview, of the insane world of Punk music I've ever read.
This book is nothing but that stuff.
Tales of living hard and wild and irresponsibly. Sad and squalid at times, laugh-out-loud funny at others, The dirt is dished by people who were maling the scene. The Velvets, The Stooges, Warhol, Jim Morrison, Nico, MC5, New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Television, David Bowie, The Ramones, Blondie, Jim Carroll, Sid and Nancy, and more.... a lot of rock mythology has been built up around these people, but this book is not afraid of bursting the bubble over and over again. If punk meant anything it meant not giving a sh-- what other people think, an attitude which is displayed on every single page in "Please Kill Me". No analysis, no legend-building, just the crazy tales of a crazy time.
A true account for mthose who were there.
Just a point, it's a contradiction the creative monster that David Bowie turned out to be, no disrespect to the fallen master, to check here his evolution from mere mortal to musical god.
The stooges' stories are amazing, avoid the crappy authorized biography, when was punk rock authorized?