Friday, January 29, 2010

“Please Kill Me” (book)


1-29-10 “Please Kill Me” (book)


I have been reading the book “Please Kill Me” by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. It is billed “The Uncensored Oral History of Punk” – which is from a New York City perspective. It is entertaining reading, despite my not being terribly interested in some of t music / musicians being discussed.


The book starts with a bunch of stuff about The Velvet Underground. I am not a fan. I tried those records in the early 70’s, and couldn’t get the message. I also eventually tried some Lou Reed records, because of the apparent connection to David Bowie, and I couldn’t get that through my head either. I don’t mind David Bowie from the early 70’s, but…no go on Lou or the V.U.


Next comes Iggy Pop. I am not an Iggy & The Stooges fan. I once lived in an apartment in Hermosa Beach, CA – and a neighbor across the way used “I Wanna Be Your Dog” to cover up the sound of her arguing with her boyfriend. “Ugh, and I have to get up and go to work in the morning with this crap blaring at 2:30am?” – I don’t mind “The Idiot”, “Lust For Life” and even “New Values” – but I haven’t got that far in this book just yet. I always chuckle when I think of the song “Lust For Life” being sung by Tom Jones – or being used to sell cruise ships to…yuppie punks?


Also not much of an MC5 fan. Heard ‘em when I was a kid – but the pull of Krautrock was much stronger. It didn’t even matter to me about the “m. f.” stuff – that kind of language was all over records by The Fugsyears earlier!


Television and The Ramones – two groups that have never much troubled me. I own the debut album by each artist, however – the result of prowling inexpensive used CD bins. I heard both artists at the time they were ‘new’, as I was working in a hippie record store, and there were always a few punks around – Hi, Mott!


And not much more patience for Blondie or the Talking Heads. At least T.H. used Toshio Nakanishi artwork! I have “Best Of” CD’s for both these artists, which will likely suffice. I remember seeing the members of Blondie walking around The Whisky in Hollywood, desperate to be noticed. I think we were all there seeing The Screamers, a really good band.


I don’t do and have never done Patti Smith. It wasn’t enough that John Cale produced her debut album. It just didn’t say anything to me. And I would’ve been all of 17 or 18 when I first heard her. “Please Kill Me” paints a fairly ‘accurate’ picture of her – highly motivated, but majorly derivative. Not so interested in Jim Carroll either.


I still enjoy reading about all of this stuff, even if they don’t make my playlists. R.I.P., Jim Carroll and all deceased members of The Ramones, V.U., MC5, Stooges etc. It is a tale to be told.


Would a book about L.A.’s punks be better? Well, only in that I met / knew some of ‘em.

3 comments:

Brian Ware said...

Wow, with the exception of Talking Heads, artist for artist here I'm in the same boat as you. V.U., Lou Reed, MC5, Iggy, Patti Smith, etc - I guess I can intellectually respect whatever place they may have earned in music history, but for listening on an emotional level I can only take them in very small doses. Blondie just haven't aged that well for me at all.

The book I'm looking forward to is the Jack Bruce bio due in March!!

Ron Kane said...

I'll be reading Jack's autobiography too! I wish Pete Brown would finish his autobiography - that would be an amazing book!

REVO said...

I beg to differ. I'm all over East Coast music and down on West Coast Rock. Give me Eat To The Beat and I melt to this day. The handful of West Coast acts I respect include: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Wall Of Voodoo/Stan Ridgeway, Oingo Boingo (and I'm not a HUGE, fan) with Sparks revered like unto gods by me. I have consistently found West Coast music does not speak to me at all. Quite the opposite. I find the vast bulk of it bogus in a bad way, if not outright offensive. Truth be told, Iggy is technically midwestern, but he has pure East Coast mentality.