Nobody could have written a better book on the origin of Punk,
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Paperback)
I found this book, appropriately enough, lying on the sidewalk by the gutter. And I was up all night, reading it from cover-to-cover. Compliled from hundreds of taped interviews, Legs McNeil makes it look easy with a brilliant editing job. The narrative carries you like a runaway train, building steam until the bitter end. Nobody (with the possible exception of John Holmstrom) could’ve written a more accurate inside account. Since McNeil mostly takes a “nothing-but-the-facts” approach, the reader is left to ponder out the true meaning of the story on their own. What did it all mean? This strange and “nihilistic” underground phenomenon known as Punk? Was it, as Jim Carroll suggested, the natural response to the pre-Nuclear Holocaust times we live in? Or was it that the great Rocknroll Dream that so many of us were chasing after was really a rotten Nightmare at its core? Or is it that life basically just kind of sucks, period? As you watch so many of the central characters wipe out and come to a bad end from the excesses of Sex and Drugs and Rocknroll, you can’t help speculating on these dark questions. And yet, in spite of it all, so many of the deranged and demented characters in the cast — such as Iggy Pop, Johnny Thunders, and Dee Dee Ramone — come across as downright loveable.