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 to its ...

Details Please Kill Me

TitlePlease Kill Me
Release DateApr 13th, 2006
PublisherGrove Press
GenreMusic, Nonfiction, History, Punk

Reviews Please Kill Me

  • Mike DaRonco
    Man, Lou Reed was 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" ...
  • 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...
  • BAM The Bibliomaniac
    4.5 stars just not a 5 because I don't think a reread will affect me the same way Little did I realize that the punk movement started as early as 1968 with the Velvet Underground and amphetamine usage. Thus begins Please Kill Me, a compilation of interviews with some of the most influential talent in the industry and on the streets through the early 90s. Photos throughoutThe book is broken into chapters that follow a timeline that flow through mu...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Lynx
    I've read this book many times before and will often pick it up and reread chunks here and there. It is simply the best book you will ever find on the birth of punk rock. Everyone who was in the scene adds fascinating, fun and often outrageous stories you won't find elsewhere. From musicians, poets, artists, groupies, friends, management.... Legs McNeil & Gillian McCain knew where to go to get the goods. Super informative and so much fun. Very hi...
  • 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.
  • Satyros Brucato
    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...
  • 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...
  • Michael Jandrok
    Sometime in the late 1960s, a bad mojo was beginning to well up within the ranks of the flower power movement. There were quite a few disaffected outsiders that seemed to have figured out that the revolution was not destined to last, that it was in fact quickly becoming a sham. As corporate America began to swallow and repackage the '60s, some of the folks left behind by the peace and love generation began to vent their anger and shape a new visi...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • courtney
    i learned not to leave a member of the dead boys alone with a guinea pig.
  • Goatboy
    Entertaining and informative.Definitely gives you the feeling of being there.
  • Caleb
    The title kinda speaks to how I feel after reading this book.I know, I know. It's not really fair to go there, but man is this book a real piece of work. I mean, it starts off pretty cool, and has some interesting stories from time to time. It just gets old and depressing when well over half the book is just variations on how trashed so and so was and what stupid thing they did because of it. It's like reliving every inane conversation I've ever ...
  • Alvin
    A few weeks ago I was in a crowded thrift store when the Ramones came over the sound system. I glanced around and saw every teenager in the place (and there were nearly a dozen) start bopping their heads in time with the music. I was reminded of the first time I heard them, back in 1977. Two-and-a-half minutes of Sheena is A Punk Rocker completely rewired my brain, unleashing enough of my inner brattiness that I began pushing back against the wor...
  • 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 ...
  • Rachel
    It is an inside look into the New York punk scene during the late seventies. It's foul so don't read it!
  • Ted Prokash
    It was like candy. And the first chapters on the Velvet Underground, et al were like the first sweet taste of the candy and as the book went on you sort of got a little sick of the candy, but you were sure as fuck going to keep eating it! Or maybe junk would be a more appropriate metaphor.Anyway I hope you don't have any illusions that Lou Reed or Johnny Thunders were 'cool guys'. Spoiler alert: most of your favorite rock stars were self absorbed...
  • 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...
  • 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...