Legs McNeil / Gillian McCain - Please Kill Me [book] (Cover Artwork)

Legs McNeil / Gillian McCain

Please Kill Me 📕 (1996)


This book should've definitely been on everyone's summer reading list, because the only thing more punk than being in a punk band and voting Democrat is reading about punk rock. Oh yeah, and it was on "The OC."

This book is made up of a bunch of interviews from peeps in the early New York punk scene including musicians, fans, groupies, nobodies, and the like. While now most people consider the Ramones the inventors of punk, this book starts with the Velvet Underground, and ends with the Ramones. You're not gonna find as much about the Clash or the Sex Pistols as you might expect. Instead, you're gonna read a lot about Patti Smith, the New York Dolls, Iggy and the Stooges, MC5, the Dead Boys, and Blondie.

This book does a great job of covering the people and lifestyles of the scene, rather than just focusing one or two bands. You'll get a good dose of stories about drugs, alcohol, prostitution, and all out rock and roll. You'll hear about punk from the people who invented it, lived it, and discussed it before internet message boards. There isn't any author commentary except for a few comments from Legs McNeil, (who actually was the first one to use the term "punk" to describe the music and lifestyle) so you pretty much get an unfiltered history of how it was. This format was used later for a few other punk rock books. The book is pretty long, about 400 pages. So if reading isn't your thing you might get bored, but there are some pretty cool pictures in it too. Also, you should be able to find this book at your friendly, local library.

Before I read this book, I didn't really give a shit about the Velvet Underground and Patti Smith, and to be honest, their music puts me to sleep. However, if you're a punk fan, it is important to know your roots. The thing that really struck me after reading this book is how many truly creative and open-minded people were in the punk scene back then. Creativity wasn't wearing your hair in your eyes and not smiling or looking at the camera in your Myspace picture. People were free-thinking, bold, and really did not give a shit about what other people thought. So throw away your white belt and women's jeans and get out (or stay in) and read this book. But don't take my word for it…