Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History Of Punk Paperback – May 2 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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
And something else, too. McNeil and McCain have the benefit of hindsight - they didn't arrange this book until long after punk was no more. The writing during the glory years have a wonderful, kinetic urgency to them - but as the music started to get co-opted, and people started to die as a result of hard living, the book becomes genuinely moving and heartfelt. And the fact that so much time is spent on "forgotten" artists is totally heartwarming - and completely in the spirit of the music, and the movement.
You can skip around "Please Kill Me," but it's a much better read from cover to cover. Read it, and emit a deep, mournful sigh at the next Blink 182 song you hear.
There are things you might argue are missing -- for example, the book seems to devote more time to sex and drugs than it does to, say, music. And it basically draws the line at covering anything beyond the New York scene, a reasonable decision that isn't immediately obvious from the cover. One could imagine very different but equally valid punk histories. But it's long enough and interesting enough, and the authors readily admit to having much more interesting material than they could reasonably include.
Readers to whom all of this is old hat, or who get bored by tales of degenerate behavior, might find the book less engaging. But I found it engaging and readable, a fun way to learn more about punk's beginnings.
Most recent customer reviews
Great read. Very interesting first hand view of the punk culturePublished 1 month ago by Robyn Gibson
I read Legs in the Punk Magazine collection and bought this one based on the content of the magazine. This is amazing stuff. Read morePublished on Oct. 6 2013 by James Armstrong
Please Kill Me is a fantastic and highly entertaining exploration of the early American punk rock'n'roll scene. This is the REAL history of punk baby! Read morePublished on May 7 2004 by jason gilmour
A rollicking great read of the road from late 60's bands like the Velvets and the MC 5 to the original glam band, the NY Dolls, to NY punk and beyond as told by those who were... Read morePublished on March 4 2004 by D. Roche
I loved this book because it tells you what happened straight from the horses' mouth. Legs and Gillian use these people's memories and stories to paint a picture of New York City... Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2004
I loved this book, it's a total gem. I first bought it because my music history textbook is incomplete and inaccurate when it comes to punk music. Read morePublished on Feb. 5 2004 by Chelsea Johnson
I love how this book is written by 1st person point of view. Every passage is quoted from the actual person/persons that were there when an event happened. Read morePublished on Jan. 28 2004 by bluegalaxie7
Please kill me is a very good book. I thought that it was very well put together. Also, there were many different perspectives from many different people who were in the punk scene... Read morePublished on Jan. 14 2004
This book tells it all. How CBGB's became the home of the NY punk scene and it follows the rise of bands such as The NY Dolls, Ramones, Sex Pistols, Blondie, MC5, Iggy & The... Read morePublished on Jan. 12 2004 by Taylor
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