Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil

Please Kill Me

A Time Out and Daily News Top Ten Book of the Year upon its initial release, Please Kill Me is the first oral history of the most nihilist of all pop movements. Iggy Pop, Danny Fields, Dee Dee and Joey Ramone, Malcom McLaren, Jim Carroll, and scores of other famous and infamous punk figures lend their voices to this definitive account of that outrageous, explosive era. From its origins in the twilight years of Andy Warhol’s New York reign ...

Details Please Kill Me

TitlePlease Kill Me
Release DateApr 13th, 2006
PublisherGrove Press
Number of pages488 pages
GenreMusic, Nonfiction, History, Punk

Reviews Please Kill Me

  • Mike DaRonco
    Man, Lou Reed is such a dick.
  • Jessica
    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 u...
  • Noel
    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-...
  • matt
    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" ...
  • Laura
    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 shama...
  • Rebecca McNutt
    This is the most extensive book I've ever read on punk culture, from the fashion to the music. It even briefly mentions similar styles, like goth.
  • Cynthia
    Punk rockers would make terrible dinner party guests. They will break your good china and roll around in the shards. They will defacate on the dessert. They will shoot up in your bathroom. They will hit on your grandmother. They also should make for interesting reading and, for the most part, the book delivered. I learned:*Nico drank good wine.*Phil Spector drank bad wine.*Nancy Spungen was advised to go to England to clean up and kick her seriou...
  • Thomas
    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 just might find... you get what you need." It always pissed me off and made me em...
  • Erika
    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 det...
  • Meredith
    i loved this book. i picked it up on a whim, thinking "hm, i don't really know enough about punk," and i couldn't put it down. (which became amusing: what's LESS punk than opting out of a crazy fun party on a friday night to stay in and read a book about punk?)the book is compiled entirely of excerpts from interviews with all the people who were involved in the New York punk scene. Leggs McNeil, the author, was one of the founders of Punk! magazi...
  • Troy
    After the horrendous disappointment that was American Hardcore, I decided to pick up this book, an old favorite, to see if my younger self was delusional. Maybe this book, which I loved so much, was a steaming pile of dog shit?So I picked it up, trepidatious, and started randomly. And I was hooked. After careening through many chapters and completely losing myself in the crazy panoply of deranged and contradictory voices, I stopped reading and st...
  • Satyrblade
    There's a lot to like about this book. But is it a "definitive history of punk rock"? Fuck no. Not even close. Although PLEASE KILL ME features tons of great material from the people who were there at Ground Zero during the Factory and CBGBs scenes, I wound up fucking pissed at this book's contention that punk began with the Velvets and ended with the deaths of Sid Vicious and Johnny Thunders. Bull fucking shit. There was zero mention of the West...
  • Dr. Detroit
    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 Rushmore 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 Br...
  • Nate
    One of the most purely entertaining books I've ever read. I can't count how many times I've read this book, whether it's cover to cover or just skimming through for particularly hilarious/bizarre/noteworthy parts. I love all of the 70s New York bands and artists that get covered in this book, so this definitely fulfills the role of the historical retrospective and sated all of the curiosity I had about the era. The other awesome facet of this boo...
  • Larissa
    This book is chocked full of fantastic anecdotes--the types of stories that make you proud to have such crazed, self-destructive icons, and also really comforted that you'll probably never be that bad. Some favorites include: the Warhol Superstars insisting that Jim Morrison copped the leather pant look from them and that David Bowie was nothing but a wierd English hippie in a dress before they made him over; Iggy Pop inciting a riot with a bunch...
  • Erik
    At times I can't help but think that Legs McNeil gives himself a little too much credit in terms of defining what came to be known as "punk" or "punk rock." However, one thing you could never take away from Legs is this amazing book. Out of all the same old rehashed books on the history of rock music, "Please Kill Me" is not only refreshing, but it may be the definitive source on the underground rock and roll culture from the '60s onward. It was ...
  • Kevin
    As any decent music fan will testify, punk was not an English invention. It started in the suburbs or Detroit and New York in the 60's. Bands like The Velvet Underground, The Stooges and The MC5 fired up a generation that included The New York Dolls and The Ramones. The fact that the movement was named Punk long before the Sex Pistols and the Clash came on the scene should give punk fans a decent history lesson.Nevertheless, this is an oral histo...
  • courtney
    i learned not to leave a member of the dead boys alone with a guinea pig.
  • Rachel
    It is an inside look into the New York punk scene during the late seventies. It's foul so don't read it!
  • Ben Winch
    Am I the only one who thinks Legs McNeill is a pretentious tosser and the omnipresence of the so-called 'blank generation' is the next-worst thing to the previous media-takeover by the boomers? The amount of marketing/repackaging that's gone into this shit has just about reached utter absurdity, accelerated by the internet beyond anything anyone could have dreamed of. And yeah, some of it was good. But I'm supposed to care about who sucked Stiv B...
  • Matt
    The explicit redundancy of the punk scene is offensive. While some of the stories are interesting and the first hand account of it all is better than most, it's just boring. Listening to how f'd up people get has become tiresome. It isn't awesome anymore.That said, some of the stories are pretty ok. If you're a disillusioned person looking for something to hang on to look no further. Your rebellious ways are all documented and ... shockingly enou...
  • Rod
    Goodreads defines the five-star rating as "It was amazing." I've given books five-star ratings before, then asked myself, "Was it amazing?", and then had to admit to myself that the answer was "no" and changed my rating accordingly. In the case of Please Kill Me I don't even have to think about it. It was amazing. I've read it three times and I'm sure before long I'll probably make it four. Greatest rock 'n' roll book ever and one of the greatest...
  • Stephanie
    From a conversation between Duncan Hannah and Danny Fields (as remembered by Duncan Hannah):So we went to Danny's loft on Twentieth Street and smoked some hash. We were all looking around his house, at all the pictures on the walls—because he had photos of everyone—so I was pumping him for what they were like. I kept saying, "Well, what's Iggy like?"He'd say, "Well, he's an asshole."Then I'd say, "Well what's—God you must know everyone—we...
  • Robert Beveridge
    Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Grove, 1997)Let's get this out of the way first: the title is misleading, unless “Punk” is referring to the New York-based magazine of the same name, for this book centers on a couple of blocks in New York City (specifically, those containing GBGB's and Max's Kansas City), along with tales from other places lived by bands who ended up making those bars their ...
  • Patrick
    Thought this was exellent. One of the reasons was that although it was an oral history, it was structured so that each bit moved the overall narrative forward. I don't think I've ever read any other oral history that has done as good a job with that. Usually, they will present multiple perspectives of stuff, but I don't think i've ever read one where the oral history is constructed so skillfully to move the story forward.I thought it was interest...
  • Veleda
    The main message of this book is that just about everyone involved in the origins of punk rock was a total asshole.As an oral history, Please Kill Me is excellent. It always maintains a coherent, engaging narrative. It could have been a mess and it isn't.Throughout the book I was torn between wishing I could have been there to see it all, and being, really, really glad I was nowhere near it.The book both benefits and suffers from Legs McNeil's in...
  • Nestor Rychtyckyj
    This is really the definitive history of punk (at least in the USA) and covers the pre-history (VU, Stoohes, New York Dolls) as well as the birth of the New York scene with the Ramones, Talkking Heads, Blondie etc. The book is a great read - almost everybody that was part of the scene and was around is in the book and the stories they tell are incredibly hilarious and fascinating. If you're interested in the music (as I most certainly am) it's im...
  • Ryan
    All the Iggy Pop stories alone make the book worthwhile. Patty Smith was badly injured once and everyone was talking about it. She fell from a stage during a show. At least one person thought "She's hurt? Iggy's been falling from stages for years and he's fine." There's another account of him tumbling all the way down a huge staircase in a house in Ann Arbor, then sort of shaking himself off and walking out the door. The book is an excellent read...
  • Shannon
    There is an important lesson to be learned from this tome, and that lesson is that no matter how cool your punk-rock idols may be, most of them would make terrible roommates.Everything here is either a first-hand account from the people who were there or directly quoted from old newspaper and magazine articles. McNeil did the same thing in "The Other Hollywood," and it was a little frustrating in that book, but here, it's like listening to a bunc...
  • Ryan
    man, what a crazy book. these people were NUTS!! i love the way it was told, perfect technique. i still cant believe what sleazeballs some of my favorite people are!