Category Archives: Gillian McCain

THE ORAL HISTORY OF THE FIRST TWO TIMES THE BEATLES TOOK ACID! (VICE)

BY LEGS MCNEIL AND GILLIAN MCCAIN VIA VICE

 Lead image by Lili Emtiaz. All other illustrations by Alley Cat

It was while Gillian McCain and I were working on sixty-nine: An Oral History, our new book on the 60s music scene, that we got the idea to create chapters where we hadn’t done any of the interviews ourselves. Rather, the material came from a variety of secondary sources that we edited together, such as interviews from magazines like Rolling Stone and books like Peter Fonda’s Don’t Tell Dad. Not many chapters were created this way—just two or three—and since LSD played a major role in the music scene, we chose for one of our “experimental” chapters in the book to use this bricolage style to detail the first time the Beatles willingly experimented with acid on their own. Some quotes have been edited for length and clarity.

The Beatles took their first acid trip by accident. In the spring of 1965, John Lennon and George Harrison, along with their wives Cynthia Lennon and Patti Boyd, were having dinner over their dentist’s house when they were first “dosed” with LSD.

Continue reading THE ORAL HISTORY OF THE FIRST TWO TIMES THE BEATLES TOOK ACID! (VICE)

OF BOURBON AND BLACK BEAUTIES: NAN GOLDIN AND COOKIE MUELLER IN PROVINCETOWN! (VICE)

BY LEGS MCNEIL AND GILLIAN MCCAIN VIA VICE

Bruce Weber and Philippe Marcade on the beach, Truro, MA, 1975. Courtesy of Nan Goldin and Matthew Marks Gallery

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!

Now most of these sanctuaries have been wiped out by yuppies and gentrification, or in downtown NYC’s case, fucking idiot students who’ve made the East Village their own private frat party. Gone are these special places to live out your life exactly as you wanted to, so we thought we’d provide a reminder to all those kids who have told us they were born too late and look fondly to the past—Quaaludes, 45 records, black beauties, 16 millimeter movies, and when “making art” was not just a hobby. You lived it.

Continue reading OF BOURBON AND BLACK BEAUTIES: NAN GOLDIN AND COOKIE MUELLER IN PROVINCETOWN! (VICE)

GILLIAN MCCAIN AND LEGS MCNEIL ON THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF PLEASE KILL ME! (DOWNTOWN MAGAZINE NYC)

BY DARREN PALTROWITZ VIA DOWNTOWN MAGAZINE

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Photo by David DuPuy

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. On a commercial level, the book went on to be published in 12 languages and undoubtedly popularized the oral history format. Time Out and the Daily News were among the book’s early champions.

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ANITA PALLENBERG: A LIFE IN STYLE

By Gillian McCain

My obsession with the haberdashery of the Rolling Stones continues, girl-style. Say hello to fashion icon and IT GIRL Anita Pallenberg, running mate of not one but THREE Rolling Stones.

As you scroll down these pictures its hard not to notice how much influence she has had on fashion, even now. This woman knows how to dress. Enjoy.

 

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A side of Anita Pallenberg I’d never seen before. Pretty, but a little too ordinary for Ms. Pallenberg.  She has yet to admit to herself and the world the powerhouse she is about to become.
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ANDY WARHOL WANTED LOU REED TO BE HIS ‘MICKEY MOUSE!’ (VICE)

BY GILLIAN MCCAIN & LEGS MCNEIL

Billy Name was a magical guy who had a profound affect on Andy Warhol, and therefore, the entire culture. Billy was the one who decorated Warhol’s original Factory in silver. Billy was a fantastic photographer who captured those beautiful 60s moments seen on a US Post Office commemorative stamp of Andy Warhol, as well as the first two Velvet Underground album covers.

Billy was many things to many people, but everyone considered him a friend.

Billy was so much fun that when Gillian McCain and I went to interview him in Poughkeepsie, New York in the mid 1990s, we had to go to Friendly’s to have an ice cream–eating contest. Billy and Gillian both gobbled down a “Reese’s Peanut Butter & Cookie Dough Hot Fudge Sundae,” of which the results of the contest are still being tallied.

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PUNK’S NOT DEAD: LEGS MCNEIL AND GILLIAN MCCAIN AND ‘PLEASE KILL ME!’ (L.A. TIMES)

BY CAROLYN KELLOGG VIA L.A. TIMES

RICK LOOMIS/LA TIMES

They came not to bury punk but to praise it. 20 years ago, Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain published “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk” with Grove Press. The format was ingenious — no single person could lay claim to know the whole of the sprawling, anarchically creative, drug-riddled scene.

Not even McNeil, Punk Magazine’s “resident punk” from its founding in 1976 through its 1979 end, who couldn’t bring himself to write a memoir. “I thought, how boring,” he says. “My story?” It took the help of McCain, a friend, fellow lover of oral histories and patient co-conspirator, to make the project come together.

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BRUSHES WITH GREATNESS: THE IMMUTABLE LAWS OF STARFUCKERY! (PARIS REVIEW)

BY NAOMI FRY VIA PARIS REVIEW

Painting by Lucien Rudaux, ca. 1920–30.

In Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s oral history of punk, Please Kill Me, the ’70s LA groupie Sable Starr recounts the excitement she felt the first time she slept with David Bowie:

Upstairs at the Rainbow they have just like one table. Me and David were sitting there, with a couple of other people. And to have all your friends look up and see you—that was cool. That was really cool … Back in the hotel we were sitting around. I had to go to the bathroom, and David came in and he had a cigarette in his hand and a glass of wine. And he started kissing me—and I couldn’t believe it was happening to me, because there had been Roxy Music and J. Geils, but David Bowie was the first heavy. So we went to the bedroom and fucked for hours, and he was great … I became very famous and popular after that because it was established that I was cool. I had been accepted by a real rock star.

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GILLIAN MCCAIN LITERALLY WROTE THE BOOK ON PUNK! (ELLE)

BY MELISSA LOCKER VIA ELLE

When Gillian McCain was in high school she took an aptitude quiz that told her she should consider a career in “writing with a sociological bent, especially about fringe groups.” A decade or so later, she teamed up with writer and editor Legs McNeil for their seminal history of New York’s ’70s punk scene, Please Kill Me. Score one for the quiz, right?

Filled with uproarious vignettes about Iggy Pop shaving his eyebrows and instantly regretting it, or Cheetah Chrome insisting to the cops that he really does have pants on (if spandex tights count), the on-the-ground account of punk and its stars has endured. The book was released 20 years ago, but like the scene it documented, Please Kill Me’s impact is still felt now. While Please Kill Me can’t claim to be the first oral history (its authors say Jean Stein and George Plimpton’s Edie: An American Biography was an inspiration for the project), it did lay groundwork for the still-booming genre.

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GILLIAN MCCAIN AND LEGS MCNEIL ON THE INDY CAFE RADIO SHOW WITH HOLLY STEPHEY AND SPENCER DRATE!!

BY HOLLY STEPHEY VIA RED VELVET RADIO’S INDY CAFE

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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 last gasps as eighties corporate rock, the phenomenon known as punk is scrutinized, eulogized, and idealized by the people who were there and who made it happen. Legs McNeil was the Resident Punk at Punk Magazine, a senior editor at Spin, and currently contributes to Vice. His other works include The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Film Industry as well as Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose, which he co-edited with Gillian McCain. He currently lives in Schwenksville, PA. Gillian McCain is the co-editor (with Legs McNeil) of Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose, and is the author of two books of poetry, Tilt and Religion. A collaborative work called Descent of the Dolls will be published this year by Blazevox Books. Make sure to go to http://pleasekillme.com and subscribe to the newsletter ! Daily news and much More !

Continue reading GILLIAN MCCAIN AND LEGS MCNEIL ON THE INDY CAFE RADIO SHOW WITH HOLLY STEPHEY AND SPENCER DRATE!!