[Ebook] ➤ Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk By Legs McNeil – Motyourdrive.co.uk

10 thoughts on “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk

  1. says:

    Man, Lou Reed was such a dick.

  2. says:

    I read most of this one night while working the graveyard shift at a very institutional group home in the real methy part of SE Portland I was the only person awake and not severely mentally ill in the whole building, except for the parole guys, who I was pretty sure were faking it, or at least greatly exaggerating There were these big sliding glass doors where of course the methhead psychos lurking in the dark could watch me mopping, all lit up, but I couldn t see out, and most nights I d be really on edge and ready to run for the parole guys room if any of the scary noises I heard outside turned out to be some twisted someone smashing through the glass and grabbing my spleen as an ingredient to use in his basement meth lab.Anyway, that one night I didn t have time to worry about getting chopped into pieces by violent, spun out hicks, because I was too busy drinking Vanilla Coke after Vanilla Coke in the office, not mopping the place and absorbing naturally this very absorbing oral history of the seminal New York City punk scene The best part by far and I wish I had my copy still, so I could quote directly was this desciption of Richard Hell, who d rip all those holes in his shirt and then go around all moony eyed and moaning, Oh, poor me, my life is so hard, here I am, with all these holes in my shirt You ll have to find the book to get the actual verbatim, which is better phrased, but if you don t have time for the whole book though you should make the time , that s the passage that brilliantly sums up the gist of that whole glorious punk rock movement.From an educational standpoint, this book really made me appreciate the ladies who intervened in the years after the era it described Not that things ever got great, but reading this paints a pretty horrifying picture, from a female perspective With the exception of Patti Smith, and to some extent Debbie Harry, the early punk scene was pretty damn limiting if you were a woman Basically if you were amazingly gorgeous you were Bebe Buell, and you were considered a muse, which meant you d pick some hot rock star and be a highly coveted, specialized, and respected version of what most of the other girls around seem to have been considered during this time, which was interchangeable fuck hole groupies It might ve been worth it to see these bands live in their heyday at CBGB s, but I don t think being a lady hanging around that scene sounds very fulfilling This book makes for an interesting contrast with his newer porn oral history, from a feminist perspective I mean, I d rather be Marilyn Chambers any day of the week than most of these punk chicks This is not to say it was bad for all of them, but that s one of the impressions this book left me with.In any case, it s a great read, and anyone who cares at all about classic punk has doubtless read it already, or should have.

  3. says:

    I absolutely inhaled this Legs view is that punk was a strictly American phenomenon with its roots in The Doors, The Velvet Underground, The MC5, The Stooges, and that the British got it completely wrong and basically killed the movement And he presents that argument well.Pretty much everyone in the book appears to be exactly what I already thought Jim Morrison was often drunk and frequently terrible live, and wrote really bad high school grade poetry David Bowie was a rather uptight guy until he fell in with the New York crowd The MC5 were phony revolutionaries, using it as a marketing gimmick Lou Reed is not, as you will see constant reference to, a scat munching asshole No, Lou Reed is a scat munching douche Patti Smith was a truly creepy girl with a tenuous grip on reality, who stalked the stars of the underground scene until they invited her in OK, I didn t know that before, but FUUUUUUUUck Everybody was SO FUCKED UP I can t BELIEVE that of them did not die Almost everyone in the NY punk scene turned tricks at one time or another to make ends meet Musicians are assholes, or so goes the refrain from the label AR guy that signed a lot of these bands Of course, so are label execs Despite being just as fucked up, selfish, and self absorbed as everyone else in the book Iggy Pop is the only guy that comes out looking good I m not even that much of a fan, but it s hard to hate Iggy.So, highly recommended, is what I m getting at here

  4. says:

    As an avid reader and subsequent loather of punk rock history, I was excited to get into this And although I didn t get exactly what I was looking for, it s certainly worth a read for those who can stomach it I can t claim to not like oral histories having only previously read the People s Oral History by Zinn which is a blood orange compared to Wayne Kramers red delicious That being said, I found this book far too gossipy and sceney making me think that cliques in music existed long before the internet came and quantified it for the world to see read You fucked Johnny thunders Great He vomited on your couch NO WAY For those who want the shortened version, I ll sum it up Patti Smith was a delusional bitch Lou Reed had tons of gay sex and was mean to everyone Dee Dee Ramone was a prostitute and hated the rest of his band The Dead Boys and The Heartbreakers did a lot of drugs Iggy Pop manipulated people for smack The New York Dolls were popular for a year, tops MC5 were sexist and full of shit A few people OD ed, and the Sex Pistols came along and ruined the fun for everyone Sound good Kind of But a few major gripes here This book, first and foremost should be about the history of NEW YORK punk Or people Legs McNeil was friends with It is embarrassing that the Talking Heads were completely excluded from this because the writers thought that they were yuppies How you can talk about Blondie, Television and Patti Smith and completely leave out David Byrne for better or worse to me seems ludicrous It s the same with the British movement Malcolm Mclaran is of course given his due here but the raging prejudice put against the UK bands The Damned were posers The Clash didn t know what they were talking about seems like territorial squabbling than actual criticism Perhaps this book serves as an interesting antidote to the idea that it was better in the old days although I m sure that the author and the few that survived probably believes otherwise It certainly doesn t seem that way Too many knife fights and junkies shooting up in the bathroom, thanks Yes, Iggy might have been electrifying rolling around in glass but nihilism, as it turns out, isn t all its cracked up to be.

  5. says:

    Along with Dave Marsh s Before I Get Old, Ian Hunter s Diary of a Rock N Roll Star, and Tony Sanchez s Up and Down With the Rolling Stones, Please Kill Me is right up there on the Mount Rush of Rawk Tales from the Naked City but if you come here in search of Malcolm McLaren, Sex Pistols, The Clash, Generation X, or The Stranglers, look away now.Although, inevitably, there is a bit of overlap with old school Brit punk, just beginning to take seed across the pond somewhere along this sordid timeline, Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain hit the ground running er, staggering, trying to explain out how two bands of proto punks MC5 and the Stooges placed Detroit, a noisy nowhere land in mid America, on the map forever.It must have been something in the water around here or the charm and comfort of living in a place where music biz marketing trends and gimmicks are met with a wizened, cynical roll of the eyes When punk did finally break out, the Detroit faithful had reason to shrug and ask, What took you guys so long In the end, MC five knockaround guys from the downriver shot and a beer enclave of Lincoln Park just weren t cut out for the revolution, or at least not manager, guru, and counterculture cause celebre John Sinclair s complicated, woefully misguided, and hopelessly na ve version of it, dope, guns, and fucking in the streets completely out of their wheelhouse Well, the guns part of the equation at least Their idea of liberation had to do with smoking marijuana cigarettes, dropping acid, and playing on 10 as a means to an end avoiding the path of least resistance to their birthrights as shop rats in the automobile factories which have sustained Detroit for most of the past century The rest they just sort of fell into.The Stooges well who knows what the hell they were thinking, their stock in trade a big bang, primordial collision of monosyllabic angst and convulsing, tribal rhythm that staked out a section of real estate entirely its own, oscillating between grey areas of alienation, tedium, and outright dementia, Iggy yammering, grunting, and howling like a feral cat on methamphetamine and human growth hormone Plain and simple they weren t fooling around But by early 1974 the band was done like dinner, Iggy facing down a motorcycle gang at the Michigan Palace, finger on the self destruct button while dodging eggs, light bulbs, paper cups and worse, taunting them with, You nearly killed me but you missed again, so you have to keep tryin next week his final comment to close a seven year run Only problem was there wasn t a next week.From Detroit it s onward but not necessarily upward to the New York Dolls and the reputation of the toxically charming Johnny Thunders as a pharmaceutical repository, most of the band so high they had to call NASA to find their heads Big Apple dreamers, the band went to the edge of teen beat stardom and looked down, content to lift a few drinks, crank a few chicks, and wreck a couple of hotel rooms Anything greater would have been just too much hassle.Thunders was monumentally talented, everything Keith Richards was supposed to be but often wasn t chaotic, lurching, and with nothing else besides rock and roll to live for except um a bump of heroin After the Dolls went belly up in Florida of all places , Thunders and drummer Jerry Nolan rebounded with the Heartbreakers not the Tom Petty outfit , equal parts genius and myth and perhaps the most thrilling and self destructively drug addled group of bad influences to ever congeal in one place, once again stalling at second level stardom by willfully mismanaging their career and never quite getting their collective shit together enough to even come close to a follow up to their killer but woefully mixed debut album L.A.M.F By the time the Ramones stumble out of Forest Hills, into CBGBs, and then hit the road on a 20 year bus ride across the U.S and beyond over 2,200 gigs in all , much of America was ripe for the picking They just didn t know it yet Their debut album, released when punk was overlapping disco, fell on deaf dimwit ears for the most part and for those of us who felt they may just change the world if not the music biz the failure of their sales to approximate the accolades or even get on the radio once in a while is still a stake through the heart of the 20 year old that beats within my chest somewhere.Anyone who s been following the plot knows things don t end well here, the entire New York scene going down in flames faster than The Clash after releasing Sandinista but it s like rubber necking a multi car pileup on I 75 North the Friday before Labor Day It s impossible to look away.

  6. says:

    If you love gossipy oral histories, this is the book for you It s probably better if you re familiar with the music, but that s not a prerequisite And it s often hysterically funny, depending on who s being interviewed Richard Lloyd and Richard Hell both made me laugh out loud a number of times.One of the best parts several people are talking about how Jim Morrison was an 18 carat prick, and Ray Manzarek comes along saying, Jim was a shaman I ll let Danny Fields have the last word on Mr Mojo Risin , as he said it far better than I ever could Patti Smith was a poet I think she elevated rock roll to literature Bob Dylan elevated it Morrison s wasn t poetry It was garbage disguised as teenybopper It was good rock roll for thirteen year olds Or eleven year olds There has got to be a reason why women like Nico and Gloria Stavers, the editor of 16 Magazine, fell so deeply in love with him, because he was essentially an abusive man to women But it sure wasn t his poetry I ve got to tell you, it wasn t his poetry He had a big dick That was probably it.

  7. says:

    4.5 stars just not a 5 because I don t think a reread will affect me the same way Little did I realize that the punk movement started as early as 1968 with the Velvet Underground and amphetamine usage Thus begins Please Kill Me, a compilation of interviews with some of the most influential talent in the industry and on the streets through the early 90s Photos throughoutThe book is broken into chapters that follow a timeline that flow through music progression and drug prevalence I m seriously surprised of these people didn t die during the early years, although many were dead by the re authorization The focus is on American punk, which, unbeknownst to me, is where the movement began, about fifteen years before England There is a similar book on England s movement, and it is on my to read list if anyone is interested In this book only the Sex Pistols are discussed I am ashamed to say that I ve had to create a list of bands with whom I m not familiar so I can Spotify the music These bands, except Patti Smith, were men, and were self destructive Their behavior was off the charts, but most were extremely artistic How they attracted so many women in such a decrepit state is beyond me I guess like attracts like This read was an absolute revelation I ll never listen to music the same way.

  8. says:

    Things I learned from this book Everyone involved in the early American punk scene was one big incestuous relationship Everyone had sex with everyone else at one point or another Male, female, transsexuals, johns, etc Everyone was on drugs How did punk even get started I mean really, it amazes me that punk even remotely got off it s feet, everyone was so messed up Patti Smith still kind of freaks me out, but you have to respect her determination Lou Reed is a douchebag Even completely drugged out of his mind, I still love Iggy He s so perfectly strange They consider Jim Morrison to be a forerunner of punk because of his stumbling drunk performances seemed to be a fuck you to the buttoned up squares going to the shows to be cool I love the Doors and Jim to a fault, but let s get real Those performances were less fuck you s and I m wasted out of my mind and don t know what is going on But hey, it gave Iggy motivation too do the Stooges so I ll take it Nancy Spungen went to England to clean herself up Well that worked out well to quote William S Burroughs I always thought punk was someone who took it up the ass I find it interesting and a little amusing that this was the term that was used to coin this movement I respect that they took a derogatory term and flipped it on it s head though It s very punk of them No one liked Steven Tyler Well, that isn t really new, but it needs repeating Malcolm McLaren is still one of the worst things that happened to punk I m a little torn on my feelings on this book It was incredibly interesting, but less an oral history of punk and of an oral history of the absolute sex and drugged fueled insanity that was NY Detroit punk How the albums that came out were even remotely decent is shocking, much less as game changing as they were It was interesting to see the NY scene s take on the origins of punk, obviously they lay claim to the title for themselves rather than the UK scene I see it as of feeding off each other, they both used the same nihilistic anarchy and general fuck off feeling put out through simple but heavy guitar riffs They both brought music away from the heavily synthesized embellishment that came out of the late 60s early 70s rock and took it back to the basic 50s rock with a twist It was garage rock with a flair of fuck you I guess a majority of the hate towards UK punk seems to come at the heels of the fashion statement that came along with them Like so many other genres, people latched on to a fad to follow and then they lost their way with the music It doesn t make some of those bands any less influential under all of that crap though Anyway I loathed to enjoy most of this book While the antics of the scene had it s moments of enjoyment, the fact that the same scene played a part in destroying so many lives makes it hard to read about it They did it to themselves, yes, but that doesn t make it any less sad to see how they ended up They definitely lived the sex, drugs rock n roll lifestyle full tilt though and created amazingness in their wake No matter whether it was the NY or the UK scene who started punk, they created something amazing and in turn influenced so many others to create even Now I need to find a book on the Cali punk scene to finish my journey of punk off.

  9. says:

    when i was a kid and i would whine about not getting new shoes or some stupid shit my mom would sing that old Rolling Stones song, You can t always get what you want only she wouldn t sing it she would talk it like it was some ancient wisdom from the lips of Plato inserting pauses to let the complicated cadence of his words sink in, but if you try some timeyou just might find you get what you need It always pissed me off and made me embarrassed that my mom thought she was being cool quoting some stupid ass song by some guy with a drippy face Guess what momthat song was about heroin.bad music often good sometimes great noise made by terrible people kick out the jams

  10. says:

    I ve read this book many times before and will often pick it up and reread chunks here and there It is simply the best book you will ever find on the birth of punk rock Everyone who was in the scene adds fascinating, fun and often outrageous stories you won t find elsewhere From musicians, poets, artists, groupies, friends, management Legs McNeil Gillian McCain knew where to go to get the goods Super informative and so much fun Very highly recommend

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