Interview by Gillian McCain - A contemporary of Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, and Francesco Scavullo, William “Bill” Helburn was at the top of his profession from the early 1950s through the 1960s, with bylined covers and editorial images in the pages of such magazines as Harper’s Bazaar, Life, and McCall’s. Helburn also worked extensively in advertising. Throughout his career Helburn strove to grab the viewer’s attention, “Shock value was a term that was used. And I meant to shock people as much as I could.”
America used to have sanctuaries across the country where fuck-ups, weirdos and other "marginalized" people could hide out and live without much contact with "straight" America. Places like downtown New York City in the East and West Village, Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, and, of course, Provincetown, that great artistic outpost at the very tip of Cape Cod. All these locations provided affordable living, while tolerating bizarre lifestyles. Hallelujah!
As authors of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History Of Punk, Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil influenced a lot of people on several levels. Now regarded as the best-selling book on punk rock of all time, Please Kill Me first and foremost described what the heyday of the New York City punk scene was like as according to people that were around it. It cleared up myths about key players in the scene, and also helped readers pick up on some of the era’s underappreciated characters.