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Please Kill Me


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Legs McNeil is responsible for naming the movement 'punk' and is the author of Yuppie like Me. Gillian McCain is a published poet and a former editor of the Poetry Project Newsletter.


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. (July)

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

Imagine one of those on-line "chat rooms" filled with the aging movers and shakers of American punk rock‘former members of the Velvet Underground, the Stooges, the New York Dolls, the Ramones, and others‘as well as assorted hangers-on, all reminiscing about the glory days of punk. Denizens remember when downtown Manhattan was the epicenter of a musical and cultural earthquake whose aftershocks are still felt long after its initial impact. The stories told by these musicians and scenesters trace the history of punk from its earliest incarnations in the late Sixties, through its appropriation by British imitators in the Seventies, and ending just before its stylistic balkanization and quick decline in the early Eighties. Unfortunately, this oral history depends almost entirely on voices from Detroit and a small core of New York bands, ignoring the important scenes in Los Angeles, Boston, and Cleveland. Numerous behind-the-scenes anecdotes make this book undeniably fun reading. But the lack of any index, bibliography, discography, or overarching narrative context keeps it from being much more than that. Not an essential purchase, but worth considering for larger collections. (Photos not seen.)‘Rick Anderson, Penacook, N.H.

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