In some ways, Punk, more than any other genre in rock and roll, has come to define the modern conception and sound of rock music. Created by New York street kids born to lose, Punk took the world by storm in 1977 thanks to groups like Patti Smith Group, the Ramones, The Sex Pistols, and the Clash. Born out of the avant-garde genius of Lou Reed and John Cale, the ferocity of MC5 and the Stooges, and given its look and sensibility by The Beatles and the New York Dolls, punk exists at the center of the rock and roll canon. For years fans debated whether the music was born from the same NY streets that gave rise to Lou Reed or whether it emerged from the rock clubs of London’s backstreets.
Enter Legs McNeil, co-founder of Punk Magazine, and Gillian McCain, a NY-based poet and Bowery regular, whose now iconic Please Kill Me: An Uncensored Oral History of Punk, dug through the layers of rock and roll history to bring the truth. Through over 400 pages and countless interviews with punk legends, Legs and Gillian show Punk’s genesis, development, and blossoming as an American-based form of rock and roll music. The two were gracious enough to chat with WGTB on November 5th, five days before their talk at Georgetown University. Legs and Gillian discuss part of their interviewing process, their thoughts on some representations of punk, and its meaning today.
Originally broadcast on 11/7/14 on WGTB.