The Ramones, Lou Reed and Blondie are among those featured in the groundbreaking book that just turned 20. (Photo: Ramones Instagram)
Twenty years ago, Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain published Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, a scabby inside-look at the wildly fun, incredibly seedy and at times terrifying underbelly of the 1970s New York City punk scene.
The book’s groundbreaking oral history form (interviews with musicians, artists, groupies, and druggies who populated a scene that peaked with a hallowed creative fervor at CBGB in the mid-to-late 1970s) gave it an unmistakable raw power that was immediately recognized as something truly special.
An instant cult favorite, Please Kill Me was even compared to the Bible: LA Weekly wrote that it “does For the Ramones what the disciples did for Jesus.” It was also applauded by leading mainstream outlets like the New York Times and The New Yorker.
To mark the book’s 20th anniversary, a new edition, filled with dozens of new interviews and an updated afterward, hit shelves in August (Grove Press.) Equally exciting for fans has been Please Kill Me: Voices From the Archives, an audio program in which selected interviewees—some now deceased like Lou Reed, Joey Ramone and poet/rocker Jim Carroll—can be heard talking about the bad old days.