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You’ve heard of punk music, but you don’t really know what it’s all about. You might picture mohawks, leather jackets, and anarchy symbols, but the truth is much more complex and fascinating. That’s where “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk”comes in – a book that will take you on a wild ride through the birth of punk rock in New York City.

Written by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, “Please Kill Me”is not your typical history book. It’s told through interviews with the people who were there – the musicians, artists, groupies, and hangers-on who made up the early punk scene. It’s raw, uncensored, and at times downright shocking. But if you’re looking for an honest portrayal of what really happened during those wild years in the late 1970s, this book is a must-read.

Overview of the Book

Get ready to dive deep into the gritty and unfiltered world of punk with ‘Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk’. This book is a captivating compilation of interviews, anecdotes, and stories that will take you on an unforgettable journey through the history of punk. Through oral storytelling, this book gives readers a firsthand account of the evolution and impact of punk music on society.

The book covers various topics such as the birth of punk in New York City, the emergence of influential bands like The Ramones and Sex Pistols, and their influence on modern-day music. What makes this book unique is its use of first-hand accounts from key players in the punk scene. From musicians to managers, producers to groupies; everyone has something to say about how punk came to be.

Through these interviews, readers get an inside look at what it was really like to experience the raw energy and rebellious spirit that defined punk culture. So buckle up for a wild ride as we explore how punk rock became one of the most influential genres in music history – starting with its roots in New York City.

The Birth of Punk in New York City

Imagine yourself walking down the gritty streets of New York City in the late 1960s, witnessing a rebellious energy brewing amongst an underground music scene that would soon give birth to an entirely new genre. This was the birth of punk rock, and it emerged from a fusion of early influences that included garage rock, blues, and even glam rock. Pioneers such as The Velvet Underground and The Stooges paved the way for bands like The Ramones and Television to create something truly unique.

As you delve deeper into “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk”by Legs McNeil, you’ll discover how this movement quickly gained momentum in New York City’s Lower East Side. With their raw sound and DIY attitude, these young musicians were rebelling against society’s norms while creating a new subculture. It was a time when anything was possible – including making music without any formal training or traditional instruments.

The impact on music culture was immense. Punk challenged mainstream ideals about what constituted good music while also providing an outlet for people who felt marginalized by society. Through its rawness and honesty, punk gave voice to those who had been silenced for too long. As you read through this book, you’ll experience firsthand the passion and energy that fueled this movement – a raw and uncensored portrayal of punk that will leave you feeling both inspired and liberated.

The Raw and Uncensored Portrayal of Punk

As you delve into the raw and uncensored portrayal of punk in New York City, you’ll discover a movement that challenged mainstream ideals and gave voice to those who had been silenced for too long. The book “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk”is an unapologetic account of the punk scene in New York during the 1970s. It offers personal anecdotes from some of the most controversial personalities of the time, including Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, and Patti Smith.

The book portrays punk as a rejection of everything that was deemed acceptable by society at the time. It was loud, aggressive, and confrontational. Bands like The Ramones and The Sex Pistols were not afraid to shock people with their music or appearance. They embraced their flaws and celebrated them instead of hiding them like many others did.

Legs McNeil’s book captures all these elements perfectly. He is able to provide an insight into what it was really like to be part of this movement without shying away from any uncomfortable truths or gritty details. As you read on, you’ll learn more about his role in the punk scene and how he helped shape it into what it became.

McNeil’s Role in the Punk Scene

You’ll be transported back in time as you read about McNeil’s pivotal role in shaping the punk scene, from his co-founding of Punk Magazine to his involvement with iconic bands like The Ramones and the Dead Boys. McNeil’s influence on punk culture cannot be denied, as he was one of the first to document and celebrate the raw energy and DIY ethos of this musical movement. His uncensored interviews with musicians and fans provide a rare glimpse into a world that was often dismissed or misunderstood by mainstream society.

One of the most fascinating aspects of McNeil’s story is how he managed to balance being both an insider and outsider in the punk scene. He had personal relationships with many of the key players, yet he also maintained enough distance to provide objective commentary on their music and behavior. This allowed him to give an honest portrayal of a subculture that was often shrouded in myth and rumor.

Overall, McNeil’s impact on punk culture goes beyond just his contributions to journalism. He helped shape a generation’s attitudes towards rebellion, individualism, and artistic expression. As you read through “Please Kill Me,”it becomes clear that this book is not just about music history – it documents a cultural revolution that has left its mark on society even today. With this understanding, we can move onto discussing why this book is so important for anyone interested in exploring the roots of modern music movements.

Importance of the Book in Music History

The book’s documentation of the punk scene’s raw energy and DIY ethos has had a significant impact on counterculture. Its uncensored oral history offers readers an unfiltered view into the movement’s birthplace and evolution, providing a rare glimpse into the minds of those who created it. The interviews with punk legends such as Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, and Lou Reed demonstrate the influence that punk had on modern music.

Legs McNeil’s book serves as a crucial resource for understanding the roots of modern music movements. It paved the way for punk rock to become a legitimate genre and inspired countless musicians to create their own unique sound. The DIY mentality that was integral to the punk scene is still prevalent in contemporary music, which speaks to its lasting influence.

In conclusion, “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk”has cemented its place in music history as an influential piece of literature. Its impact on counterculture and influence on modern music cannot be overstated. For anyone interested in learning about one of the most important cultural movements of our time, this book is a must-read.

Final Thoughts and Recommendation

Now that you know how important ‘Please Kill Me’ is in music history, it’s time to talk about its final impact and legacy. The book has been widely praised for its raw honesty and unfiltered portrayal of the punk scene, which made it an instant classic among fans of the genre. It also helped pave the way for other oral histories in music, such as ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life’ by Michael Azerrad.

One of the most significant impacts of ‘Please Kill Me’ is that it gave a voice to a generation that had been largely ignored by mainstream media. The book chronicled the rise of punk from its humble beginnings in New York’s Bowery neighborhood to its eventual spread across the globe. Through interviews with key players like Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, and Richard Hell, readers were able to get an inside look into a world that was previously inaccessible.

Overall, if you’re interested in learning more about punk or just want to read an engaging piece of music journalism, ‘Please Kill Me’ is highly recommended. Its legacy continues to live on today through countless bands and musicians who were inspired by the gritty DIY ethos of early punk rock. So go ahead and give it a read – you won’t be disappointed!


Congratulations, you have reached the end of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil. This book is more than just a collection of interviews; it’s an immersive journey into the raw and rebellious world that birthed punk in New York City. With its uncensored portrayals and candid conversations with key players in the scene, it’s no wonder that this book has become a cult classic.

McNeil’s role as a co-founder of Punk Magazine and his insider knowledge make him an invaluable guide through this chaotic period in music history. While some may argue over certain details or perspectives presented in the book, there is no denying its importance as an accurate portrayal of punk’s origins. It provides insight into not only how punk sounded but also how it felt to be part of such a groundbreaking movement.

In conclusion, Please Kill Me offers a unique perspective on the emergence of punk rock and its impact on music history. McNeil’s writing style captures not only the sound but also the ethos of punk culture through personal stories and candid interviews with some of its most iconic figures. Whether you are a die-hard fan or simply interested in exploring one of music’s most vibrant eras, this book is well worth your time – so go ahead, pick up a copy and immerse yourself in all things punk!

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