A Lost Stooge, Punk Women Pioneers, Vampira, Ray Davies, Glen Matlock, Jim Sclavunos, Jack Kerouac, Danny Fields on David Cassidy, and so much more – don’t miss our most-read stories from this tumultuous year
By the Please Kill Me Editors
More than a century and a half ago, Charles Dickens must have known 2017 was going to happen. In fact, he wrote the perfect description of this year in A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
As Creem magazine used to put it: ‘nuff said.
For Please Kill Me, it was the best of years for stories. We put together what we believed were offerings our visitors might enjoy, learn from and share with others. And, boy howdy (another Creem affectation), did they!
The following are the Top 10 stories that appeared on the website, based on the traffic they generated. If you haven’t already read them, take time during the craziness of the holiday season to give them a second chance. If you have, read them again, to savor the contents like a dish of Christmas cookies. Thanks for visiting. Stay tuned for 2018, which will continue this trend of best-ness.
Todd McGovern traveled to Hell, Michigan to look for some answers to the mystery of the too-short life of Dave Alexander, the Stooges’ original bass player. What he found was a cautionary tale about fame and alcohol, leavened by Alexander’s complete devotion to rock ‘n’ roll.
Writer and researcher Sharon M. Hannon went deep into the history of punk to shine a light on an obvious truth that somehow had stayed hidden. Judging from the reaction to her piece, this history is no longer hidden.
While working on a biography of director Nicholas Ray, Stacey Asip-Kneitschel met Maila Nurmi, the stunning actress best known for her Vampira character. Suffice it to say that the then 85-year-old Nurmi had been waiting for a chance to unravel the astonishing story of her life in and out of Hollywood. And name names!
Amy Haben tracked down the “gentle giant” named Jim Sclavunos, the multi-instrumentalist who has played with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Grinderman, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and many more. With a resume like that, Sclavunos had some great stories to tell.
The Modern Lovers were like the gateway drug for those who moved on to punk music. Fronted by the enigmatic Jonathan Richman, the band was launched on a meteoric trajectory by their debut album, produced by John Cale, before Jonathan went solo. Often overlooked was the contribution of Ernie Brooks, the band’s smart, witty and talented bassist. Legs McNeil sounded Ernie out, uncorking stories about the Lovers that have never before been told.
Valerie Simadis tracked down Martin Chambers in the UK, and talked to him about many things, most movingly about the band’s late, great guitarist James Honeyman-Scott. The result was a tribute by a loyal friend and some fascinating anecdotes about the early days of the Pretenders.
Ray Davies is, as he once put it in a song, “not like anybody else.” The co-founder and leader of the Kinks sat down with Stacey Asip-Kneitschel and Legs McNeil and proved just that.
Amy Haben discovered something we probably all suspected—Glen Matlock, the original bass player for the Sex Pistols, is a funny, articulate and altogether decent chap. This probably explains why his tenure in the Pistols was so short-lived.
Alan Bisbort celebrated the 60th anniversary of the publication of On The Road by reminding readers that Jack Kerouac didn’t just write a great and influential novel: He saved Western Civilization.
After David Cassidy died in November, Danny Fields dug deep into his bottomless archive to unearth some photographs of a particularly dark moment in the career of the one-time ‘teen idol”—the May 1974 White City concert that turned tragic. Danny also shared some of his own memories of his late friend.