Recently I read Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. The book tells the history of punk by sharing memories, thoughts and stories from the people who made it happen. The narrative starts with the formation of The Velvet Underground and the influence of Andy Warhol in New York City at the time. It continues through the 70s, ending in the early 80s and featuring memories from legends like Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop and Joey Ramone, to name a few.
Passion for music and art as well as an appreciation for weirdos and misfits shines through so many of the interviews. And, of course, there is much talk about drugs, especially heroin, but the stories weave together, pointing out the negative effects and loss of so many talented people. Reading this made me feel like I was in it, like I would have fit in. Funny enough, I was emailing with the lovely Kimberlin Brown and she recounted her friendship with Joey Ramone, because she was one of those misfits that fit into the punk scene back then. She said, "Joey Ramone was sweet, sincere, humble and shy but had a huge presence. An outsider, geek that created an entire genre for the world!"
That's what I really loved about this book - I got to better understand many of my icons. A must-read, especially if you love music.
And now for a short playlist - listen here.
- Pale Blue Eyes - The Velvet Underground
- Personality Crisis - New York Dolls
- Looking at You - MC5
- Lonely Planet Boy - New York Dolls
- See No Evil - Television
- I'm Waiting For The Man - The Velvet Underground
- I Wanna Be Your Dog - The Stooges
- Blitzkrieg Bop - The Ramones
- Gloria (In Excelsis Deo) - Patti Smith
- Marquee Moon - Television
- Alison - Elvis Costello
- Judy is A Punk - Ramones
- X-Offender - Blondie
- All Tomorrow's Parties - The Velvet Underground