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Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Paperback – April 13, 2006
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Though Britain's notorious Sex Pistols shoved punk rock into the face of mainstream America, the movement was already brewing in the U.S. in the 1960s with bands like the Velvet Underground and Iggy and the Stooges. Through hundreds of interviews with forgotten bands as well as the ones that made names for themselves--including Blondie and the Ramones--Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain chronicle punk rock history through the people who really lived it. Please Kill Me is a thrash down memory lane for those hip to punk's early years and an enlightening history lesson for youngsters interested in the origins of modern "alternative" music. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
As its sensationalist title suggests, this stresses the sex, drugs, morbidity and celebrity culture of punk at the expense of the music. Starting out with the electroshock therapy Lou Reed received as a teenager, working through such watersheds as the untimely deaths by overdose or mishap of Sid Vicious, Johnny Thunders and Nico, as well as the complicated sexual escapades of the likes of Dee Dee Ramone, the portrayal here of the birth of an alternative culture is intermittently entertaining and often depressing. McNeil, one of the founding writers of the original 'zine, Punk, in 1975 , is certainly qualified to tell this tale. But the book's take on punk rock as "doing anything that's gonna offend a grown-up" overemphasizes the self-destructive side of the movement. Details of Iggy Pop's drug abuse and seedy sex with groupies receive more attention than important bands such as Television and Blondie, which had comparatively puritan lifestyles. Constructed as an oral history, the book weaves together personal accounts by the crucial players in the scene, many of whom seem to have been so drugged out most of the time that their reliability is questionable. McNeil and McCain (Tilt) provide a vivid look at the volatile and needy personalities who created punk, if they do not offer perceptive musical or cultural analysis. Photos.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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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.
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?
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.
As a teen living in Detroit during the mid to late 1970's,I experienced this energetic form of music. This book provides first hand accounts and insight about the bands and people who created that unique sound and mode.
A paperback version of this book has replaced that original hard bound copy that once rested upon my coffee table and now it is often heisted by a younger generation who are intrigued about this era of music called Punk.
Legs McNeil has provided --through interviews and first-hand resources-- absolute raw data , just as his book's title suggests . And , this data is served in generous amounts ; no holds barred by its subjects . I must admit , my favourite "Superstars" from that era are : Sterling Morrison (1942-1995) , Ed Sanders (1938- ), Dennis "Machinegun" Thompson (1948- ), Ron Asheton (1947-2009) , and Jim Carroll.
Ostensibly , my favourite era is , say , '65-'73 .
But , the decadence continues ! After the V.U. , mc5 and Stooges dissolved , the next generation took the helm ! The New York Dolls' story is both delightful and tragic . Reading how Syl Sylvan recalls his youth and his brotherhood-friendship with Jim Mura (spelling?) , and the story which ended in a horrible manner.
Although I've never been much of a fan of the Sex Pistols , I certainly have enjoyed reading about them and their antics !
Thanks to Legs McNeil , et al. , the REAL story of "Punk" has been told , in all of its candid entropy .
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !
Most recent customer reviews
I know that New York is all that matters but it would have been nice to read about the rest of the country.Read more