Saturday, August 13, 2005



Please Kill Me - The Uncensored Oral History of Punk is constructed perfectly, and runs smoothly. How did you go about constructing this?
You think Please Kill Me is constructed perfectly? Many people don't. I can tell you everything that is wrong with the book. I doubt that I can tell you everything that is right with it. But that isn't the point. Since I'm not such a big fan of my own work, I think I can look at it a bit more objectively, let me give you an example of how my brain works: You say PKM is constructed perfectly, well what about Dee Dee Ramone renting an apartment from Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, where he lived with Connie for a while after he got thrown out of Arturo's? I think it was important. I think Dee Dee is important, as a writer, an artist and performer. I believe Dee Dee wrote Chinese Rocks at that apartment and felt his life would somehow come together. Also, they way Debbie and Chris respected Dee Dee's talent is important. Dee Dee paying rent and trying to be a human being is important, and, also, that it ended in a big mess is important. How Dee Dee couldn't sustain himself is important. It makes him a much more three dimensional character and less of a cartoon-character-mess that he promoted. But it's not in the book, probably because Debbie can't remember much and Chris Stein was smoking crack when I was trying to interview him.

The week I handed in the final manuscript to the publisher was the same week Chris Stein called me and said, "Okay Legs I'm ready to be interviewed!" Great, now what? The publisher was already pissed at me. I'm working on deadline. So what happens? Dee Dee is lost to history and the story doesn't go in. What we've lost now, is a connection to Dee Dee that might have demystified him somewhat, which I think is very important. Was Dee Dee a genius or a fuck up? Dee he know what he was doing when he wrote Chinese Rocks or I Don't Wanna Walk Around with You or any of the other hundred great songs he wrote? Where did that come from? I think by including the story of Dee Dee renting the apartment from Chris and Debbie, some of those questions MIGHT have been answered. Would he still come off as a cartoon character? Probably, but it might have given us a closer insight into one of the most talented and weirdest guys in rock & roll, proving that people are much more interesting and damaged than you think. Which is interesting, you have to admit.

So when you pay me a nice compliment and say that Please Kill Me is perfectly constructed, I look back on what I did and say, "Well, no probably not. I would have liked to have tried and solve the problem of Dee Dee, and make him more accessible to me, as a reader." I would have also liked to done that with The Runaways, The Cramps and Debbie and Chris and Blondie, and Suicide. But at a certain point, you have to say, what am I doing-- and put it out. But was I happy doing it that way? No. Remember, this is history, which is a lot bigger than you or me. You’re going to influence people for a long time, and it's not great if they don't have all the facts. So it's a tricky road, and one that you’re destined to fail at, ultimately, but you have to try anyway. I hope that is an answer.


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