*20th Anniversary Edition*
Featuring New Photos and an Afterward by the Authors
PLEASE KILL ME
The Uncensored Oral History of Punk
By Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
This year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of PLEASE KILL ME: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Grove Press; August 9 2016; 512 pgs; $17; 978-0-8021-2536-1), with an updated edition complete with new photos and an afterword by the authors detailing the oral history narrative genre.
A Time Out and New York Daily News Best Book of the Year when it came out in 1996, PLEASE KILL ME is a genuine cult book, published in 12 languages and in print for 20 years. It has become a contemporary American classic and spawned a generation of music oral history books, often imitated but never equaled. Here are scores of famous and infamous punks who lent their voices to chronicle a musical revolution and social history, including lggy Pop, Richard Hell, Patti Smith, Dee Dee and Joey Ramone, Malcolm McLaren, Jim Carroll, Debbie Harry and many more. From its origins in Andy Warhol’s New York to its last gasps as eighties corporate rock, the phenomenon that was known as punk is analyzed, criticized, eulogized, and idealized by the people who were there, and who made it happen.
The 20th anniversary of PLEASE KILL ME also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Ramones debut album, Ramones, which was released in 1976 and is now acknowledged as the definitive album of the punk rock era. Meanwhile, the English punk scene is also celebrating its 40th anniversary with a series of events throughout the year.
In celebration of the occasion, Ace Hotel will host a series of events at five of their locations,
at which Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain will be the guests of honor; Ace Hotel New York on
July 14th; Ace Hotel Pittsburgh on July 18th; Ace Hotel Palm Springs on July 30th; Ace Hotel
Downtown Los Angeles on August 1st; and Ace Hotel Portland, OR on August 8th. Gillian McCain will also be the guest of honor (with a surprise guest) at the Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, on July 8th. The events will be free and open to the public, and will combine book readings and signings by the authors with festivities to mark the occasion. “We love the Ace hotels, and have stayed at a lot of them over the years! Also, we expect a great party with great DJs!” said McNeil and McCain.
In addition, Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil have created two one-hour radio documentaries entitled Please Kill Me: Voices from the Archives with content drawn from the original recordings of their interviews. The documentaries, co-hosted and co-written by Michael des Barres and produced by Jonathan Ehrens, feature the music, stories, and voices of the people who were actually there: Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, The Ramones, and more. They are currently being played on many NPR stations across the nation.
When Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s PLEASE KILL ME: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk came out in 1996 it was revolutionary, not just because it unashamedly and outrageously chronicled America’s punk movement, it also popularized the narrative oral history style perfected in Edie: American Girl by Jean Stein and George Plimpton.
In addition to a new photo insert, McNeil and McCain have written a new afterword explaining the art of writing a narrative oral history. McNeil and McCain sum up the beauty of the form: “The narrative oral history is such an incredible format because it draws from every art form, the chapters have the rhythm of song, the cuts are cinematic, newspaper headlines can punctuate incidents, slang is celebrated, and first-hand accounts bring the poetry of the spoken word.”
This unique blend is what still brings PLEASE KILL ME to life all these years later. The book reads like a fast-paced novel, but the energy it celebrates and the tragedies it contains are all too real, and all too achingly human.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
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 Porn 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.
About Ace Hotel: Ace Hotel reimagines urban hotels for people who make cities interesting. We crave experience more than hospitality clichés. We are curious about the history and geography of the buildings we inhabit, and let these guide us to someplace fresh and familiar.
PLEASE KILL ME: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk
20th Anniversary Edition
By Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
Trade paper; 512 pgs; $17