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Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk

by Legs McNeil, Gillian McCain

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1,795217,341 (4.1)19
An "oral history of the most nihilistic of all pop movements. Iggy Pop, Richard Hell, the Ramones, and scores of other punk figures lend their voices to this decisive account of that explosive era"--Page 4 of cover.

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
I read this book years after my teenaged experience with punk music in the late 70's - early 80's. It was fun to relive those years and learn all about the stories behind the music.

Can anyone who is not part of the Blank Generation really get this book? As the little brothers and sisters of the Baby Boomers, we were musically abused by them.....they tried to brainwash us into believing that their music was the "be-all, end-all, best ever, forever, amen" and punk was just the thing to throw in their faces. If it hadn't been for punk I might have believed them and these days I would be one of those sad, middle aged people still buying tickets for Journey and Styx concerts. To this day I cannot listen to the Beatles.....the Baby Boomers totally ruined it for me. (also, can't stand Grateful Dead either....oh my god, yuck!!!!!)

People might criticize their nihilism, but years later, I can see how the Clash and the Sex Pistols were right about everything. As for their hedonism and low survival rate, I say, good for them, rock stars should burn out and not fade away.....at least we have far, far fewer decrepit old wrecks still trying to imitate youth by getting up on stage and playing songs nobody really wants to hear anymore.

Anyone under 40 should not read this book or listen to classic punk....you have your own music, listen to it. ( )
  Equestrienne | Jan 5, 2021 |
devastated that I’ve finished, I never wanted it to end !!! ( )
  chloec | Jul 7, 2020 |
Entertaining and informative.
Definitely gives you the feeling of being there. ( )
  23Goatboy23 | Jan 17, 2020 |
Totally engrossing, disgusting, harrowing, you name it. Also great pictures. This oral history of punk is mostly focused on the scene in New York City, but also works in the Sex Pistols. Depending on who is doing the recollecting, you may get various views. The surprising thing is that anyone can remember anything, given how many drugs they took. This is the only book where I have ever gone through the cast of characters at the end to mark off the additional ones who have died since the book was published in 1997. But of course, Iggy is still alive--which would seem to defy the odds. But perhaps it stems from the fact that as crazy as he was, he seemed to be enjoying himself and not having a death wish. Of course, by 2019, some of the folks have lived a normal lifespan. In any case, enough with the death obsession. This book provides fascinating stories about some of my favorite performers such as Patti Smith and Tom Verlaine, and it introduced me to some other performers I knew nothing or very little about. The book traces punk back to The Velvet Underground, the MC5, and the Stooges. I can't argue with that. Some sort of sequel is really warranted. ( )
  datrappert | Feb 28, 2019 |
Lots of sex, some drugs, not much rock 'n' roll. (If you read the ecstatic blurbs for the hardcover edition and encountered Jim Marshall's contention that this is the "best rock & roll book ever, and not a word about music", you probably got the same sinking feeling that I did even before you arrived at page one of the actual text.) Here and there you'll find a worthwhile fragment of information about the music itself, such as Dee Dee Ramone's recollection of writing "Chinese Rocks", but they're few and far between. Essentially, Please Kill Me is 446 pages of dreary scenester memories: the first time Iggy Pop got the clap, the cute shapes that the Dead Boys shaved into the pubic hair of a groupie, blah blah blah ad nauseam. Yeah, I get it--my friends were a bunch of drunk, horny pus bags too--and it's just not that interesting. Few of the participants are as forthcoming about their lack of depth as Malcolm McLaren: "(The prospect of managing the Stooges) didn't sound trendy-nice, there was no lipstick there. It didn't have that fashion element that the New York Dolls had, that fashion twist...It's kind of pathetic when I think about it now, all that tartiness, but that's what I liked. I always thought the parties were gonna be better, I always thought the scene was gonna be better. The Dolls just looked more attractive."

Hats off to the late Mr. McLaren for his honesty.

If you wanted to argue that the concept of subcultures is total nonsense--that there's no such thing as alternative values and that no matter where you go or what you do, the people you meet will be the same cruel, selfish, shortsighted assholes you knew in high school--then you could make one hell of a case with this book. Personally, I recommend that you bypass the disappointment and head straight for a volume of Arthur Schopenhauer's essays and aphorisms. One and a half stars. ( )
  Jonathan_M | Oct 15, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Jag skulle inte vilja kalla Please kill me för punkrockbibel, men visst innehåller den en bra grund att stå på när man letar vidare efter nya sköna biografier inom genren att sluka.
added by andersocheva | editNostalgia Special (#3 2011), Jonas Andersén

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Legs McNeilprimary authorall editionscalculated
McCain, Gillianmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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An "oral history of the most nihilistic of all pop movements. Iggy Pop, Richard Hell, the Ramones, and scores of other punk figures lend their voices to this decisive account of that explosive era"--Page 4 of cover.

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