Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain hope to get the juicy inside stories of ’60s SoCal rock, as they did for its putative anthithesis, punk.
Wavy Gravy, who coined the axiom “If you remember the ’60s, you weren’t there,” has a lot of explaining to do. Another refutation of that old saying will be coming in the form of a new oral history about the late-’60s Southern California rock scene by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. According to this piece in LA Weekly, the authors, most famous for 1996’s Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Grove Atlantic’s publishing a 20th anniversary edition next year), are in the process of interviewing several major players from that music-biz Mecca for a book they’re titling 69: An Oral History. (I’ll pause while you crack some jokes about how much this will suck or how you find the premise hard to swallow.) McNeil and McCain hope to have the volume finished in two years. “The book’s a lot about the counter culture not just rock & roll,” McCain told LA Weekly’s Lina Lecaro. “LSD, Black Panthers, Watts Riots… In this music scene, there’s like six degrees of separation to everything. So we’re using that as a bounce off.”
The oral history book — which gathers numerous voices to tell one story, usually of a pivotal time in pop culture — remains one of the most compelling forms of non-fiction. It’s particularly illuminating when it comes to music. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain is widely regarded as one of the most revealing and well-done examples of the genre. It’s been published in 15 languages since its release in 1996 and continues to inspire rebellious music lovers to this day.
“Wanna go for a drink?” I asked Norman Mailer, standing on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 14th Street, when I realized I’d fucked up. I’d been out all night at the Mudd Club with a skinny Jewish girl with large breasts, drinking, doing coke, and getting my dick sucked, when I suddenly remembered that I had a girlfriend…
“No,” Norman huffed, pulling up the collar of his ski jacket. “Not now…”
The 4th Annual L.A. ZINE FEST
is happening this Sunday February 15
in Los Angeles
KEYNOTE SPEAKERS An interview with Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
(co-authors of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk) facilitated by DM Collins and Daiana Feuer of L.A. Record.
FREE TO ATTEND L.A. Zine Fest celebrates self- publishing and
D.I.Y culture in the community. This year’s Fest will feature OVER 180 ZINESTERS writers, illustrators, comix creators, photographers and artists/makers selling, trading and sharing their work, all in one place, for one amazing day!
“The more we fear the future, the more we recycle the past.” Legs McNeil
Growing up, my knowledge of punk rock music was limited to dancing to the Ramones’ “I Want To Be Sedated” at United Synagogue Youth events and watching videos of the Clash’s “Rock the Casbah” on MTV. Later in life, as I became more familiar with punk I was struck not only by the creativity of the confrontational music of bands like the Velvet Underground and Patti Smith, but also the do-it-yourself innovation of bands like the Ramones and hardcore punk bands like Minor Threat. My discovery of punk coincided with a societal fascination with creativity; people were touting creativity and innovation as the key factor in everything from a thriving economy to good health and well-being. It was for this reason that I hoped to learn the secrets of punk rock innovation by interviewing a true “punk” original, Legs McNeil.
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk was the first published work of its kind, and, despite a shelf life of close to twenty years, remains the ultimate guide to punk rock. The book’s co-authors, Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, are responsible for pushing the genre to the forefront of the industry and inspired several authors of the 21st century to jump in the oral history bandwagon.
Johnny Rotten’s Memoir Seethes With Anger—And Charm
by Legs McNeil The former Sex Pistol’s memoir ‘Anger Is an Energy’ proves that he still knows how to howl and rant, but who knew he was such a beguiling storyteller?(Original at Daily Beast)
We all know, or think we know, what Johnny Rotten hates.
He’s the anti-Christ, right?
He hates everything!
Which to me, after the initial explosion of the Sex Pistols, always made Rotten kind of boring.
“Yeah, yeah, everything sucks; the world is full of liars and cheats, you grew up in some shitty London flat, everyone was on the dole, no one understands you—and enough already! Jeez-Louise, we all know anger is a great inspiration for creativity, but isn’t there anything worthwhile out there?