Put another log on the fire, top that tankard of shade-grown coffee with, uh, more coffee, and kick back with Please Kill Me’s Top 10 stories of 2019…starring Jack Casady and his magic bass, the truly trippy tales of the Trident (where you could get anything you want), enjoy Bebe Buell’s “theft” of Stiv Bators, gasp at the murder of Alfalfa and death of Sgt. Carter (“sha-ZAMMM!”), mourn the passing of Karen Carpenter and the Ramones but rejoice at their rebirth and revival, flashback with the street photography of Godlis, dig the roots of erotic cinema, and feast your ears on the first generation of female rock bands.
Judging from our ten most popular articles in 2019, it’s safe to say that our readers have wide-ranging tastes. That’s entirely to be expected as PKM, which dares to speak the name of COOL, continues to attract new and repeat visitors. Below, you will find the top ten PKM articles for 2019. If you missed them the first time around, now’s your chance to redress that oversight. If we may say so ourselves, the stories also reward a second reading.
And, stay tuned for 2020, where and when our eyesight will be perfect. We’re kicking off the year with some exciting stories we’ve been woodshedding for a spell, including a revisit to the musical legacy of the BBC’s John Peel and the visual legacy of gonzo artist Ralph Steadman, the underappreciated contributions of the Stones’ guitarist Mick Taylor, Pamela Des Barres’ conversation with Cherie Currie, Benito Vila’s conversation with the Beat legend Charles Plymell, an appreciation of the late Nick Tosches by his friend James Marshall, not to mention stories on Skydog Records and Ork Records. And, of course, stuff we don’t even know about yet because our dauntless team of writers are out there on the trail of more good tales.
Because he has never been one to draw attention to himself, the gifted bass player Jack Casady possess a Sphinx-like quality of mystery. Apparently, the fascination to know about the things he’s seen, heard and done as a member of the Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna has built up over the decades because once PKM’s Benito Vila got him talking, the floodgates opened. Articulate, funny, deeply intelligent and likeable, Casady drew the biggest crowds on the website, making this the most popular story of 2019 on PKM.
Benito Vila strikes again! Our dauntless chronicler set the wayback machine for the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and a Sausalito-based waterfront eatery and drinkery called the Trident. The transition from beatniks to hippies to yuppies that took place nationally can be viewed microcosmically in this story about the antics that took place at this club, in the words of those who were actually there. The Trident was a “trippy space ship” whose passengers included rock & roll giants, Hollywood stars, Hell’s Angels, cosmic adventurers and whose staff included a busboy named Robin Williams. All aboard…
Illegally made and exhibited, featuring hardcore sex images and acts, stag films were vital stepping stones toward the sexual revolution of the 1960s, helping to modify attitudes toward sex. The Museum of Sex in New York offered a fascinating peep at the history of stags, from the earliest days of silent cinema to the 1960s. PKM’s Erika Blair spoke with Kelsey Brewer, the curator of STAG, and peppered the conversation with some titillating visuals.
By Jim Allen. The Runaways and the Go-Go’s, all-female rock & roll bands, seemed like such an incredible revelation at the time but, of course, they were not the first of their kind. In the 1960s, bands like Ace of Cups, She, The Girls, Goldie & The Gingerbreads, The Untouchable, The Pleasure Seekers, The Liverbirds and many more, were part of the first wave of bold young women, mostly teens at the time, who knew that rock & roll belonged to them just as much as anyone else.
Frank Sutton, who played the gruff sergeant foil to Jim Nabors’ country bumpkin Gomer Pyle, was a talented actor on screen, tube and stage. He lived and died, quite literally, for his profession as an actor, but there was a side that few outside celebrity circles knew—Frank Sutton the cultured Ivy League grad and serious student of theatre history. Burt Kearns tells the compelling and touching story of the underrated actor.
Model and singer Bebe Buell fell into Stiv’s arms in the wake of her romances with Todd Rundgren, Rod Stewart and Elvis Costello. And they remained best friends to the end of his life. Bebe shares some happy and surprising moments with the man she calls “one of the most exciting front men in pop culture history…one of the best and absolutely one of the most enigmatic.”
Because he brought a street photographer’s eye to the party, David Godlis captured New York’s early punk scene at its most raw and humane. His shots of the CBGB scene are some of the most interesting on record, but Godlis continued to pursue his street photography over the decades. Godlis talked to PKM’s Eric Davidson about CBGB, the MC5, Joey Ramone, his own 35-year battle with MS and his dedication to his art.
Legendary producer Ed Stasium recorded The Ramones It’s Alive 41 years ago at the Rainbow Theatre in London – a recording that many regard as one of the best live albums ever. This is his story, which was the first story we ran in the new year of 2019 and it ended up one of the year’s most popular.
Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer was the most popular star of the classic Our Gang comedies. But the facts of the Little Rascal’s untimely death have been clouded in Hollywood Babylon myth… until Burt Kearns & Jeff Abraham started digging. As Muhammad Ali once said, this story will “shock and amaze ya.”
The singing/drumming half of the 1970s’ hitmakers the Carpenters died at age 32 in 1983 of health issues related to anorexia. As popular as she was in her lifetime, Karen Carpenter has never been more popular than she is now. Why is that? We asked Karen Tongson, author of a compelling new book Why Karen Carpenter Matters. Tongson, a professor of English and gender studies at the University of Southern California, offers an offbeat, affectionate and provocative meditation about the many “afterlives” of Karen Carpenter.