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Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Paperback – 1 Sep 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Sep 1997
£12.53
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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; First Printing edition (Sept. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140266909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140266900
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.3 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,156,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Ranks up there with the great rock & roll books of all time." -"Time Out New York"
"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"


Ranks up there with the great rock & roll books of all time. "Time Out New York"
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"
" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Legs McNeil lives at the Schwenksville Narrative Oral History Institute. He was the former Resident Punk at Punk magazine, a senior editor at Spin, and regularly contributes to Vice online. Gillian McCain is the author of two books of poetry. Legs and Gillian s most recent book is Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose, and they are currently at work on a new book about the California music and counterculture scenes of the 1960s." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastically written, gives a real insight into the history of Punk and the interactions between the historical figures. So emotional and raw.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great read.
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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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Fantastic book about the origins of punk in the USA, prior to the variation developed in Britain. Never mind the Sex Pistols, this is the real story of Year Zero. If you thought you knew about punk, read this book to find out the real source of punk rock.
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Good
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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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This is a most entertaining book in a gossipy way. It also dispels some myths about famous musicians. As other readers noted, the book is divided in chapters, charting the history of punk in chronological order. I thought that reading a series of short interviews might be boring, but it turned out as probably the best way to learn about the punk scene, without any extra comment.

So I learnt that everything started with the Velvet Underground and continued with the MC5 and the Stooges. Being unfamiliar with most of the pre-punk music mentioned, I did a lot of "research" on Youtube and I must confess I did not like it much, with the notable exception of the VU. They were great innovators and it is no surprise that their music is still celebrated.

I was also unfamiliar with the New York Dolls and unimpressed by their musical production. After the Dolls, the story started to be more interesting for me, because I knew already something about The Ramones, Television, Patti Smith and Blondie. However, the book does not dwell too much on musical prowess but mostly on excesses, debauchery, nasty drug habits and the bickering that destroyed many bands when they were just starting to enjoy some success.
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Format: 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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