Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Hardcover – 1 May 1996
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Interesting, informative and highly entertaining (Alexa Chung)
Comes as close to capturing the coruscated brilliance and vein-puncturing style of the Blank Generation as the written word is likely to get (MOJO)
Archly contentious and enormously enjoyable (SUNDAY TIMES)
Monumental and intensely entertaining (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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 the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Ossian
My husband bought this book and really enjoyed it. He has many books of punk/music.Published 20 months ago by sonya alida mitchell
A present for my sister. Reliving her punk youth in prose. A good read, especially if you were around at the time.Published 21 months ago by Helen.
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... Read morePublished on 26 July 2014 by Westpier
A great insight into the formation of the American Punk scenePublished on 7 July 2014 by Mr. M. J. Leigh
A story that starts with gross intrigue, treks across both fascination & despair, and finishes with a bittersweet aftertaste & a falcon punch to the heart. Read morePublished on 26 July 2012 by A. Southan