Kick back with a cup of coffee and dive into Please Kill Me’s Top 10 stories of 2018… where John Lennon brawls with Chris Montez, Gram Parsons charms Pamela Des Barres, Lemmy drinks whiskey and gives drug advice, “White Boy Rick” the teenage drug trafficker’s tale is told, Lou Reed’s archivist tells of the riches yet to be released, Shane McGowan celebrates his 60th birthday with Nick Cave, Johnny Depp, Sinead O’Connor, Glen Matlock… and much more!
We hope you will agree with us when we say this has been the best year yet for the website that presumes to tell you what is cool. The following are the top ten most-read stories we published in 2018. If you have not read them, please take time during the holiday season to give them a second chance.
Stay tuned for 2019. We’re kicking off the year with some exciting stories that we’ve been saving for the occasion, among them Richie Unterberger’s blockbuster on the real story behind Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks album; Bruce Eaton’s reexamination of the legacy of Chris Bell, who shaped the sound of Big Star and then died on the verge of a resurrected rock & roll career; Sharon Hannon’s long-awaited piece on the Riot Grrrl movement; a reconsideration of the legacy of Easy Rider, Dennis Hopper, Terry Southern, and William S. Burroughs; and all the usual great stuff from our growing team of writers.
10. THE TRUTH BEHIND THE BRAWL BETWEEN JOHN LENNON & CHRIS MONTEZ IN 1963! EXCLUSIVE!
The name of John Lennon continues to echo through the ages—for good reason, of course—but we tend to forget that in the early days of the Beatles, he was a scrappy punk from Liverpool, loud and proud and something of a hellraiser. Burt Kearns uncovered the truth about one particular incident that had been shrouded in mystery over the decades. He did it by talking to two people who were actually involved in it—pop hitmakers Chris Montez and Tommy Roe, who toured with the Beatles in the UK in 1963.
9. SWEETHEART OF THE RODEO: GRAM PARSONS
Pamela Des Barres, author of I’m With the Band and a longtime keeper of rock & roll’s flame, needs no introduction. She shared her cherished memories of her deep friendship with Gram Parsons, who at the time was carving out a new countrified rock & roll sound with the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and on his influential solo recordings. It’s a heartwarming story of enduring affections.
8. THE DAY LEMMY TAUGHT ME ABOUT SPEED
Lemmy Kilmister, the supercharged engine-tender of Motorhead, suffered no fools on his righteous rock & roll journey. And when Chris Simunek found Lemmy sitting alone in a bar he thought twice before approaching the man. PKM and the rest of the world is now glad that he did, because his story for our site has taken on a life of its own.
7. PAMELA DES BARRES: COMING OF AGE AT ALTAMONT
Again, Pamela Des Barres hit the charts for PKM with her remembrances of the time she found herself not just at Altamont but at the center of the aftermath of that blood-red date in rock & roll history.
6. THE LEGEND OF WHITE BOY RICK – THE FBI INFORMANT WHO WAS SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON AT AGE 17
When Chris Simunek wrote this story for PKM, the film White Boy Rick had not been released. Chris’s story was among the first to tell the true story about the life and hard times of Richard Wershe Jr., who was an undercover informant for the FBI as a teenager who was then sentenced to life in prison for drug trafficking.
Once the Hollywood-ized film hit the theaters, Chris’s story served as an invaluable resource for those viewers who wanted to learn the real story.
5. SHANE MACGOWAN’S 60TH BIRTHDAY – A MAN YOU DON’T MEET EVERYDAY
Our international correspondent (ha!) Amy Haben found herself at an event all of the rest of us would have killed to attend: A 60th birthday bash for the Pogue-meister Shane MacGowan. On the guest list for this liquified shindig were Nick Cave, Johnny Depp, Sinead O’Connor, Glen Matlock, Carl Barat, Glen Hansard, and Clem Burke. And, of course, the indomitable Ms. Haben.
4. LOU REED’S ARCHIVE HOLDS SIX HUNDRED HOURS OF MOSTLY UNRELEASED AUDIO, AND OTHER REVELATIONS FROM HIS ARCHIVIST
Leave it up to interviewer extraordinaire Michael Shelley to mine the gold of Lou Reed’s archive for the PKM readers. He offers a fascinating look at the rigorous and time-consuming process required to properly catalog, store and share rock & roll artifacts, not to mention some revelatory peaks at Lou Reed, professional musician and human being.
3. LINK WRAY, INVENTOR OF THE POWER CHORD, SNUBBED AGAIN
How has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame managed to overlook the great Link Wray into its gilded corridors? And when are they likely to redress this egregious error? These are questions that have plagued Deke Dickerson, guitarist, historian, writer and consummate professional. For PKM, he also reminds the world of WHY they need to redress this blunder. His story unleashed a firestorm of blowback against the RRHOF over the Internet.
2. GUT TERK: THE COOLEST OF THE COOL
When legendary outlaw biker Gut Terk died Jan. 18, 2018, few outside the inner circle of the 1960s counterculture realized what an amazing life he had led. Benito Vila knew this, of course, because Benito knows everything about the 1960s counterculture! Thankfully, Benito shared other aspects of Gut Terk’s life and legacy as a Merry Prankster, Blue Cheer manager, poster and album cover artist with PKM’s readers.
1. THE KID WHO RECORDED THE FIRST PUNK RECORD (AND INVENTED SURF GUITAR)
And….drum roll please, the # 1 most widely read PKM story for 2018 was…
Once again, Deke Dickerson dug deep into his treasure chest of musical arcana to remind us of the amazing story of Larry Collins – a rockabilly guitar whiz who, at age 13, laid down what might be the first punk record. And, while he was at it, Larry also “invented” surf guitar, influencing the better known Dick Dale. He also teamed with his sister Lorrie (RIP) as the Collins Kids, regularly seen on the TV show Town Hall Party.