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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't be able to put this down.
A candid account of the 1970's New York music scene. Punk before it was given a name. Anyone who is anyone contributes, and a few nobodies to boot. It is basically a selection of interviews pieced together enabling you to read about different accounts of the same situations, many of which involve the then up and coming, and now rather infamous, musicians of that decade;...
Published on 9 Oct 2003

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yank punks junk Brit punks
Interesting confessionals from American proto-punks desperately trying to say they invented punk. They certainly did, in the form of two-minute masterpiece geniuses The Ramones. Joey, Dee-Dee and Co. provide a lot of the best material here, but unfortunately a lot of the book is taken up with minor figures like the Dead Boys and their supporters banging on about how great...
Published on 7 Nov 2002 by Dobester


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't be able to put this down., 9 Oct 2003
By A Customer
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This review is from: Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Paperback)
A candid account of the 1970's New York music scene. Punk before it was given a name. Anyone who is anyone contributes, and a few nobodies to boot. It is basically a selection of interviews pieced together enabling you to read about different accounts of the same situations, many of which involve the then up and coming, and now rather infamous, musicians of that decade; Andy Warhol, Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Johnny Thunders to name a few. This is SEX, DRUGS and ROCK & ROLL as its most extreme, and most disgusting.
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Lou Reed bar account. Truly horrible! You most certainly won't be able to put this book down but you might need to take a shower once you've reached the other side.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and fascinating, 16 May 2007
This review is from: Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Paperback)
From the title ('The oral history of AMERICAN punk') you shouldn't be duped into thinking this is much to do with the UK scene. In fact, the story pretty much ends with the [...] Pistols arriving in America and the whole Sid and Nancy debacle.

What you do get, however, is the genesis of punk, American style. The authors take a Studs Terkel-like approach to interviewing and let the major and minor players give their take on the whole scene - from the early days of the Velvet Underground, through the MC5 and the Stooges, up through the Dolls, the CBGB scene and Patti Smith.

It's chock-full of great stories and hilarious anecdotes (Elton John trying to sign Iggy, by leaping on stage at a Stooges show dressed as an ape, for example) - and gossipy enough to make getting through it fun and easy. I've re-read my copy so many times now that the covers are coming off.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The birth and death of New York Punk rock music., 30 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Paperback)
McNeil & McCain were two-thirds of the team behind the original "Punk" magazine. Obsessed with the Velvets, MC5, Stooges, New York Dolls - They later had their own pet punk band in the Ramones. "Please Kill Me" rarely lets the music get in the way and sticks to the dirt and apocryphal that you really want from any good pop music book. Written entirely in interview quotes that retain a loose chronological thread it captures the dirty glamour of mid-70's New York perfectly. CBGBs, Max's Kansas City, Iggy, Johnny Thunders, Blondie, Richard Hell and a supporting cast of supergroupies are all here. Ultimately it settles the debate concerning where Punk Rock was invented and it's not on the King's Road. In "Punk" magazine terms the Sex Pistols were the death-throes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book about music, 23 April 2007
By 
Mr. Paul D. Maher "joey-chickenskin" (Nottingham NG7) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Paperback)
Please kill me covers my favourite period in music the Punk Rock of the late seventies but also the bands/musicians who influenced and often became involved again during that period (Iggy Pop, Lou Reed etc).

What is amazing about the book is that while there are editorial choices, it's all quotes from key players and what you get isn't a glamourised version of rock stars from the perspective of fans but a set of dysfunctional people who managed to create some of the most exciting music ever made.

In Please Kill Me, your heros aren't junkies who are rock stars, they're junkies who stink and steal and behave erratically like you might expect junkies you see on the streets to do but somehow manage to keep bands together (sometimes), play shows (sometimes) and record music (sometimes).

It does make you look at these people in a different way but I think that that's a good thing. So much is written about punk rock from the outside by journalists and fans who impose heroic qualities on these musicians and gloss over their failings as functional people. In the same way that I wish that people wouldn't write about Bukowski as though he were a genius who happens to be a drunk when he's a Drunk who happens to produce interesting writing, Pleas Kill me tells us more about the where this music was really coming from than ten books that impose some kind of revolutionary manifesto on a group of people expressing their most simple, raw emotions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not complete. But completely overwhelming., 18 Dec 2011
This review is from: Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Paperback)
This is NOT the complete history of punk rock, not every band is mentioned, classic albums are not discussed in detail, and the book ends (apart from an epilogue) in 1979 with the death of Sid Vicious. So no details about the making of Rocket to Russia, no LA punk scene, The Clash and Talking Heads are hardly mentioned and Blondie comes along more as a social factor, than a musical one.
But perhaps precisely because of this choice, this IS a great book.
The book is constructed around the stories, quotes of especially the New York Dolls, MC5, Iggy & The Stooges, Patti Smith, Television, The Dead Boys, Malcolm McLaren, and many more famous names from particular the NY (art) scene. The construction of the book itself is above all the quality of this book. All quotes are presented in an unpolished way (like the scene itself!), but are positioned in such a way that the narrative is as smooth as it can be: Please Kill Me is an unprecedented page turner.
It is full of hilarious, shocking, painful anecdotes about the punk rock scene. Focusing not necessarily on the music, but sometimes chapters long about groupies and particularly drugs. Recommended, highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Punk from a New York perspective, 26 July 2014
This review is from: Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Paperback)
As others have mentioned its certainly a mis-leading title but still well worth buying. As its written by Legs McNeill (writer for NYC magazine 'Punk') and Gillian McCain (from NYC) it has very much a New York perspective on the emerging punk scene. It certainly seems that McNeill wants to tell the world his side of the story as the Sex Pistols have frequently been seen as stealing the thunder from NYC punk. Even with the benefit of hindsight McNeill and a couple of others can come across a bit anglophobic (surprisingly not Richard Hell who can see both sides of the story).

The book covers the pre-punk are (Velvets, Stooges, MC5, NY Dolls) - I loved this as it contained loads of info I never knew about the bands. It then goes into the NY punk scene with Patti Smith, Ramones, Dead Boys (no mention of the scenes in the USA, SF/LA for example). But the interviews are done with people who know how to tell a story though some i expect are a little bit exaggerated. For example Dee Ramones comments about the Sex Pistols/Clash at their first UK concert are inaccurate as both bands were miles away playing Sheffield that night. But it was a book I just loved reading, I buy most punk books and this is one of the best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Infatuating, intimate portraits of the icons of (pre-)punk, 7 Feb 2007
This review is from: Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Paperback)
I became immediately infatuated by this book, and found myself dragged into it, like if it was a novell. The structure of this book, is no less than genius. It contains nothing but quotes from the involved people, let that be musicians, friends, groupies, -edited into a linear story.
It induces to describe the world of punk (and pre-punk), with so much intimacy, that it raises beyond ordinary documentation.
Icons like Iggy Pop, Dee Dee Ramone, Patti Smith and Johnny Thunders (a.o.) emerge very lively, because of the chosen structure.
The book focus on the pre-punk/punkscene in New York in the early 70's, and it is describing that period that the book is at it's best. It is also from this period, it collects it's maincharacters.
The british punkscene is more superficially described, as well as the phase-out of punk is through the last
chapters.
Nevertheless: Please Kill Me is a fascinating acquaintance, that probably will disturb you and inspire you, but without a doubt give you appetite on the music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest book on punk history, 22 Jan 2012
This review is from: Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Paperback)
I'm going to keep this short. If you love music and want to know the true origins behind punk (and the many genres it accidently created) then you need to read this.. This isn't some whimsical account...it's the proper story told at the time by the people who created it. This is a work of genius.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Punk America, 3 April 2010
This review is from: Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Paperback)
From Velvet Underground The Stooges and MC5 to The Ramones, the New York Dolls and the whole CBGBs scene this is brilliantly put together and compelling reading if you're at all interested in the Punk scene.

I keep finding myself dipping back into it as I make new connections between events and people. Not really a How To Live book though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great insight into the formation of the American Punk scene, 7 July 2014
By 
Mr. M. J. Leigh "Mike Leigh" (Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Paperback)
A great insight into the formation of the American Punk scene
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Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Gillian McCain (Paperback - 3 July 1997)
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