IF YOU’VE READ it, you probably remember exactly where you were when you first encountered Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. I first came across the book as a 16-year-old kid in a small town in southwestern Colorado. I’d recently discovered punk, and went about putting safety pins in my clothes and calling myself a punk, but for all I knew, punk rock began and ended with the Sex Pistols. When I found Please Kill Me on the shelf of the local bookstore, I bought it without question, expecting mohawks and mosh pits. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
PKM 20th in the NME!! - - "Please Kill Me, the oral history of punk written by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, was published 20 years ago this year. It's credited as the book that popularised the oral history format, but, more than that, it's an essential read for anyone with even the slightest interest in the movement. "
Please Kill Me made its way into my life 13 years ago, when I was 14. I used to hang out at a record store in South Florida, where I'm from, and at one point the store clerks decided to take me under their wing. One of the clerks, Chris, ripped out a tiny slip of paper from behind the counter. He wrote the words “Please Kill Me” on it and handed it to me. "Go to the bookstore and get that book," he said. Music nerd in training that I was, I did as I was bidden without question. And so I entered the world of punk from its very beginning, told by the people who lived it.
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.
Please Kill Me is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with a re-release and a series of readings (well, more like parties with music, alcohol, and Michael Des Barres hosting). BUST spent some time with Legs and Gillian and talked about the book, the evolution of punk, and how the show Vinyl got it all wrong.
As seminal punk saga 'Please Kill Me' gets a 20th anniversary rerelease, we speak to co-author Gillian McCain about why the antiestablishment genre deserves to be preserved just like any other piece of history.
Please Kill Me is the punk-history Bible, and poet Gillian McCain is the woman behind it. McCain coauthored the influential book, which was published in 1996, with music critic Legs McNeil.
As the authors mark its 20th anniversary, with an edition that includes a new afterword, they will visit Pittsburgh for a reading at the Ace Hotel on Monday, July 18. City Paper spoke to McCain, before a reading in London two weeks ago.
We look forward to the Rio Olympics with journalist David Goldblatt, author of new book ‘The Games: A Global History of the Olympics’. Plus: Gillian McCain joins us to discuss the stories behind music book ‘Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk’, which is 20 years old this year, and we welcome back writer and journalist Matt Potter to learn how to write the perfect resignation letter – post-Brexit.
Photos of the 20th anniversary Please Kill Me reading at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, London with Gillian McCain.
Gillian McCain will be reading from Please Kill Me, the book she co-authored with Legs McNeil, at the Ace Hotel in London this Friday! July 8th