I moved to Hollywood in 1997 and was quickly initiated into the music scene, which at the time was hanging by a thread to a lost rock & roll dream that grunge had laid waste to a mere six years earlier. The glitz and glam of Sunset Boulevard had moved east – away from Gazzarri’s and their tasteless “hot body bikini contests” to more turtleneck and ponytailed nightclubs like the Roxbury, where cocaine became less of a party drug and more of a designer hangover from the 1980’s. (Yes, the Will Ferrell-Chris Kattan sketch was based on a real place)
On the 66th Anniversary of the Integration of Public schools, I present “The Untold Story of the Little Rock Nine”— about nine Black high school students who were the first to integrate the whites-only Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957, after the Supreme Court ruled in “Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka” in 1954 that segregating Black and white students was unconstitutional. Central High School in Little Rock would be the major test case for integration. And the nine sacrificial lambs and exceptional nine Black students who had been selected to be thrown to the huge wolf pack of 2,100 mostly racist, white high school students, and became known as “The Little Rock Nine.
“I like to be worshiped,” Richard Hell declares in “Love Letters,” one of the first poems featured in his latest offering, What Just Happened (Winter Editions, 2023). The collection comprises new poems—his first in decades—followed by “Falling Asleep,” a morbidly driven essay written with a hint of optimism, and “Chronicle,” a list of musings from Hell’s notebooks kept in recent years. The concept of worship coupled with a punk ethos poses an intriguing juxtaposition, going against the popularized “no gods, no masters” ideology that defined the early stages of punk in the 1970s. But this contrast is precisely what makes Hell’s work, and his place in the pantheon of punk culture, so appealing.
Cheetah Chrome, guitarist and songwriter for punk originals the Dead Boys, is alive and on the road with a new version of the iconic band. Legs talks to his old buddy about the good old days at CBGB, Dead Boys, dead friends, and life as punk survivor … Watch The Video!
Sinéad was right to stand up against the Catholic Church since she had been committed to one of the “Magdalene Laundries” for five years for shoplifting and being incorrigible and had witnessed the horrors firsthand. But no one listens, and once people hate you for being different, the truth no longer matters. It doesn’t matter that Sinéad was right about Catholicism in Ireland, right about the “The Magdalene Girls,” right about the “Me Too Movement,” before it even had a name, right about abortion, right about racism in rap and hip-hop being unacknowledged by the music industry, and right about the Grammy Award members being slaves to fame and fortune and cowards for not speaking out on America’s ills, but that was the 80’s and 90’s.
Legs catches the original Sex Pistol at home in London, as Glen Matlock talks about his reunion with John Lydon, his current role as bassist with Blondie, and his new solo album, ‘Consequences Coming.’ And lots more in this latest Legsville Oral History.
Ivan Julian is a guitarist, singer-songwriter, and, as a founding member of Richard Hell and the Void Oids, a punk legend! Ivan talks with Legs McNeil about his long and colorful career, including his time singing for a Led Zeppelin cover band, playing Build Me A Buttercup night after night, the golden age of NYC punk, his times in London, Macedonia and Guantanamo Bay — and his new album, Swing Your Lanterns.
Originally published on RollingStone.com By: Joseph Hudak | June 14, 2023 | The New York troubadour has been paralyzed since May: "There's moments in the day where you want to cry, and where you're scared. Even though this has been the hardest time of my life, there’s been some gifts,” Malin says. “I knew I had some great friends and great fans and people in this world, and I’m getting to see a lot of that — though I would have really preferred a birthday party than to find out this way.”
Yes, it does sound like it could be a biography of the founder and editor of Legsville.com, but NO! Legs and Cigarettes is a documentary short film, directed and produced by Legsville contributor Veronica Vigil that’s screening on Monday, June 19 in competition at TAFFNY, The Americas Film Festival of New York. Veronica’s documentary is described as “a deep and intimate conversation with photographer Robert Whitman, on one of his most iconic and provocative collections, ‘Legs and Cigarettes.’ A beautiful studio in Tribeca, a male photographer, a female producer and the lack of political correctness, are the main ingredients of this modern experiment with NYC as its background.” Whitman is a provocateur, whose career kicked off in a big way in Minneapolis in 1977, when he was invited to photograph a young local musician who was recording his first album. The musician’s manager hoped to use the photos in a brochure to help the nineteen-year-old get a record deal. The musician was Prince.
The long-awaited conclusion to Legs McNeil’s interview with his friend Elizabeth Hand, the acclaimed author of more than fifteen books, including the Cass Neary mysteries. Her upcoming novel, A Haunting on the Hill, was inspired by Shirley Jackson’s classic The Haunting of Hill House. In Part I, Legs and Liz talked about the iconic Cass, the punk rock photographer turned reluctant amateur sleuth. In Part II, Liz tells why she was selected by Shirley Jackson’s family to carry on the literary tradition – and more.
At the age of 12, Tommy was already on the road to stardom. His brother Bob Stinson put a bass in his hands to keep him out of trouble and “voilà!” The Replacements were formed in 1979, inadvertently joining the punk circuit and sharing the bill with bands like Black Flag and X. They blazed a trail throughout the 80s, helping to pave the road for future indie bands and do-it-your-selfers in the music biz. After cutting a few albums for Twin Tone Records, they were signed to Sire Records by Seymore Stein in 1985, eventually calling it quits in 1991. Tommy has remained a permanent fixture ever since, fronting his own bands Bash & Pop and Perfect, even joining Soul Asylum for a brief stint. He also served as a longtime member of Guns N’ Roses from 1998-2014 before reuniting with Paul Westerberg for a successful Replacements reunion tour. His latest project is Cowboys in the Campfire.
(From the moment they blasted off in the Casbar Lounge in Las Vegas in December 1954, there was no stopping Louis Prima, Keely Smith and Sam Butera and the Witnesses from becoming the most popular act in show business. No one but themselves. In a pair of exclusive Legsville stories based on long-lost interviews with sax legend Butera and jazz and pop goddess Smith, Burt Kearns unearthed the beginnings of the legendary act, Now, a year later, he traces the beginning of the end — the personal dramas and betrayals that would end the rocket ride, not in a glorious splashdown, but in flames. We return to the Casbar Lounge. Four years after lift-off, it’s now the “Casbar Theatre” — and everybody wants in. Including Frank Sinatra…)
I was asked to write a remembrance of my former husband, Howie Pyro, and I didn’t realize how therapeutic it would be for me. As I write, the pending anniversary of his passing May 4, 2022 has brought up so many overwhelming feelings. Howie’s illness and death is the heaviest thing I’ve ever been through and I suppose I have done a lot of mourning in public posting pictures and memories on Facebook. I was devastated that I couldn’t get to LA for his funeral– finances and work schedule prevented it but I was able to go back to my hometown, NYC, for the Memorial there. I thought I’d try to share some of the stories I told at that intimate event at Bowery Electric.
THE MILLIONAIRE DRUG ADDICT, THE HOT CAR, AND THE ROOKIE MISTAKE. I would get a shot of adrenaline into the vein every time I wrote a bond. I would be completely interested to hear the circumstances of my client’s unfortunate situation. That’s because my clients are an interesting type. This client was a millionaire drug addict. They had the means to support a very taxing drug addiction that nearly took their life. Idle hands, as they say. To keep this strictly confidential, I will use everything in my word power to never reveal the gender of this client. We’ll call them Casey (my favorite androgynous name). This young person had a family that cared about them and went to various lengths of treatment to help them.
Howie Pyro was the love of my life, my soulmate. It's hard to write about a person when you've had such an intense relationship. It's difficult to put into words exactly the impact of the lightning bolts that shot out of his eyes the first time we met. It was like the heaviest deja vu I have ever experienced. So forgive my gushing as I try to write a remembrance of my dear departed onetime hubby. Cool. That is the number one word that comes to mind when I think of Howie. He was the cool little kid with the extended fork chopper banana seat bike. He was the coolest pre-teen with the most monster magazines. He was an actual teenage runaway who ventured to NYC and started his own punk rock band. He shared stages and drugs with his idols in the late 70s Max's Kansas City scene where his group The Blessed were the underage darlings.
©2023 By Allison Rapp | Published: April 14, 2023 on ultimateclassicrock.com. Supergroups do not come around very often, but a new one was temporarily formed earlier this month. The Derelicts features some of punk’s and post-punk’s best-known figures: Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, Clem Burke of Blondie, Richard Lloyd of Television, and Ivan Julian of Richard Hell and the Voidoids. The foursome got together unexpectedly in early April at Julian’s Super Giraffe Sound Studio in New York City to record a punk-style version of “The Bowery,” a song from the 1891 Broadway musical, A Trip to Chinatown. Kris Gruen, son of the legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen, came in to sing lead vocals, and the new track is slated to be used as the theme song for the upcoming docuseries The Bowery Boy … Read More
Academy Award winner Martin Scorsese & David Tedeschi premiered their David Johansen documentary on Showtime this month. By Legs McNeil ©2023. It would be about 3:00 o’clock in the morning on the Bowery and I would’ve already spent all my money on beer, and Joey Ramone and Arturo Vega would be out of town with the Ramones, so I couldn’t crash at their loft, and I’d be walking back to the “Punk Dump” on 10th Avenue and 30th Street to the offices of Punk magazine in the basement of Hell’s Kitchen.
What is it like dealing with gangsters and thugs? There are thugs in suits, and there are thugs with motorcycles. The major differences are that some are educated and savvy, dressed better than others, and commit their crimes above ground in front of God and everyone else. Then there is the subculture of organized crime. There is no school on how to deal with thugs, I could not find any “business for bruiser’s” class so I had to go with my instincts. It was the early 2000’s, notorious biker gangs were at “war” and it was headline news. The first time I spoke with a clearly intelligent criminal was an experience that will never forget. You don’t expect these guys to be smart.
“Got a dick an’ 2 balls/That’s more than you all!” Politically incorrect to the bone and unrepentant, these are the first two lines you hear after a blast of Stooges-esque guitar, including a dose of satisfying amplifier hum. Welcome to Every Loser, Iggy Pop’s 19th studio album, and first in four years, interestingly released on January 6th. But this is good. Now that date can signify something positive.
I’m Andrea Kusten, but they call me The Big Mama Freak. FREAKS was my Heavy Orange Rock band with then-husband, Howie Pyro, in NYC circa the late 80’s. Fast forward to 2023, we’ve just released a deluxe career-spanning retrospective double LP set on translucent 180 gram orange vinyl, available to purchase from Rough Trade mail order: https://www.roughtrade.com/us/product/freaks/still-in-sensurround
My client was in a small narrow hospital room with no windows and no lights, handcuffed to the bed. He was emaciated, dehydrated, and completely dope sick. It was painful to see. I looked at all things obvious. There was no drip, no oxygen, no nurse. No signs of any food trays, no water bedside with a straw. I whispered to my client, “Hi, it’s me, your bail bondsman Raquel…”
Jim Carroll came to my studio apartment on St. Marks Place one afternoon on June 16th, 1995 to be interviewed for our book in progress, Please Kill Me; The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. Jim was in great shape and had one of those unmistakable New York City accents that left no doubt he was a native New Yorker. He first came to prominence when he published his memoir-in-progress, The Basketball Diaries in excerpt form throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s; most notably in the Fall 1970 issue of The Paris Review— and became the talk of the town.
It is essential to include a story on women in jail because women are perpetually forgotten and overlooked. Ninety percent of my clients are male. This may suggest that women don't get arrested as much, but they do. By nature women are made to care, nurture, rescue and protect. Men do not take care of women the way that women take care of men, whether they be a husband, boyfriend, son, brother or friend.
©2021 By Legs McNeil Originally published on: PleaseKillMe.com Miles (aka Barry Miles) had a front-row seat to the London underground scene of the 1960s, as a bookseller and gallery co-owner at a time when Beatlemania was morphing into psychedelia. He met and befriended Paul McCartney at his Indica bookstore and gallery, and from there, he met the rest of the Beatles. In this conversation with PKM, Miles recalls what now seems like a magical, mysterious era.
In honor of the CIA releasing 12,879 documents Thursday, December 16th, 2022 by the National Archives, and the 1,491 documents a year ago today-- I present my chapter 34 from my book Tomorrow Is Canceled. Chapter 34 is entitled, “Something Is About To Pop,” about the apprehension of Lee Oswald inside the Texas Theater about an hour after President Kennedy was assassinated and about a half hour after Officer Tippet was murdered in front of his police car in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas.
I never dreamed of becoming a bail agent. It fell into my lap and seduced me with quick large sums of cold hard cash. What inspired me to stay was the discovery that I could really stick it to The Man! This brought me so much joy. When an innocent person minding his own damn business had a tail light out and then got shook down by some cop and a personal amount of marijuana or some other recreational drug would land you in jail, I had the magic piece of paper that could have a person out of custody within hours. The fact that I was part of an industry felt fake. Cops make arrests, there’s city and county jails, and the courts employ tons of people. It’s an industry like any other.
The first biography of the legendary and notorious actor Lawrence Tierney was published on Tuesday, December 6, by the University Press of Kentucky. Lawrence Tierney: Hollywood’s Real-Life Tough Guy, by Legsville contributor Burt Kearns, traces Tierney’s career from his overnight success in the 1945 film Dillinger, through the drunken scenes, brawls, and arrests that derailed his career, to his “rediscovery” by Quentin Tarantino in Reservoir Dogs.
More than sixty films. More than thirty television roles. More than seventy arrests. Lawrence Tierney was the toughest, meanest, coldest actor in Hollywood, onscreen and off. An overnight sensation in 1945 as Public Enemy #1 in the movie Dillinger, he proceeded to drink and brawl his way out of a career by the early 1950s – or so it seemed. Lawrence Tierney is the great untold story of the dark side of Hollywood – a story of alcoholism, madness and violence, but also survival, loyalty, and genius.
A few years ago, I was driving through Dallas, Texas on my way to Los Angeles, and dropped by the Texas School Book Depository and watched in horror as hordes of tourists kept running into Elm Street to pose for selfies at the exact spot where President John F. Kennedy was shot. There was an “X” permanently marked on Elm Street so the gangs of sightseers knew exactly where to stand. Too often, when a national tragedy occurs in the United States it becomes an event or an argument, rather than the loss of human life.
Remember the line in the David Ayer film “End of Watch” about the four food groups of crime? That line resonated with me, because it’s funny and true. The drug dealer is definitely one staple of major crime food groups. I was always looking for huge drug dealer clients and drug user clients alike. What I was not looking for was a client who committed crimes against unknowing people.
It’s very rare that 34 years after you date someone, you get a chance to witness a documentary about what was going on in that person’s life at the time you were dating them. Remarkable, really, but I got the chance recently when Showtime premiered the documentary, “Nothing Compares,” about Sinead O’Connor by filmmaker Kathryn Ferguson.
A LEGSVILLE ORAL HISTORY: Legs McNeil speaks with his friend Liz Hand, the acclaimed author of the Cass Neary mystery books, and whose next novel is inspired by Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and authorized by the Shirley Jackson estate.
It was a frenzied New Year’s Eve bond call with all the bells and whistles. I had just ended my night, and as my head hit the pillow, sure enough, my phone rang. I saw it was a “friend” of mine in need. The frantic girlfriend, the innocent arrestee, with the old “we don't have all the money” and the life-or-death need to get out of jail saga. The usual stuff. This New Year’s Eve bond took a very sour turn for the worst. “No good deed goes unpunished” comes to mind when I think of this story.
Lucid spoke about punk rock, politics, metaphysics, and more in this email exchange with Happiness author Zack Kopp. “To me punk and metaphysics seem to belong together,” says Tamra Lucid. “Both are rebellions against bullshit. And what is punk anyway? Punk can be for peace or violence, for racism or for equality, for noise or pop, for anarchy or for Broadway. My band has never fit any category. Sucks for algorithms, but so much fun!” Lucid Nation co-founder Ronnie Pontiac was mentored by American metaphysician Manly Palmer Hall (1901-90) at his Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles before the band started playing shows in 1994.
©2018 By Legs McNeil | Originally Published on PleaseKillMe.com on July 25, 2018. Legs McNeil interviews Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding at Cafe Nine just before they play a sold-out show. Robert talks about turning down Bob Dylan’s songs and Link Wray pulling a knife on Sid Vicious.
I was sitting home alone on a quiet Wednesday night when my phone rang. It was a bond call! A shot of adrenaline went straight to my brain whenever my phone rang. I answered eagerly with a million thoughts going through my head. Many people assume I had celebrity clients through nepotism. Not necessarily so… Here’s the true story of my first celebrity client.
The Legsville Bail Bondswoman, Raquel Vasquez, tells the hard lessons she’s learned in Part Two of Bail Tales: Getting Paid! "First, I learned quickly that the cops and sheriffs were contentious, but that was a known fact. My clients' adversities and dramas were much more complicated than expected. You’d think rappers who pulled up in Maybachs would have cash dusted with cocaine particles, but that wasn't the case. And not all my clients had celebrity status. Some of my clients were just hard-working white boys from the San Fernando Valley who happened to have a heroin addiction."
I went to a preview of David Byrne and Mala Gaonkar’s Theater of the Mind, inspired by both historical and current neurological lab research, in a warehouse in Northeast Denver last night. Official shows begin next week, but a friend of mine got me a ticket, and what follows is my review of the experience. No doubt there are things I’ve forgotten to mention, like the Scottish interlude of traffic changes so gradual they go unnoticed until the guide hits rewind, the whole production having been designed to illustrate the unreliability of the senses we go by, but not many.
Volume one (of many) ©2022 By Chris Zappa As an artist, it must be stressful coming up with album titles. It’s a bit like naming a baby, if that baby’s name was a determining factor in its commercial success or lack thereof. More often than not, artists strive for interesting names, names that make you think, inspiring one to wonder what’s the story behind the title. Oftentimes however, throughout the history of modern music there have been plenty of instances where the band or artist clearly phoned it in, choosing a name so odd — in many cases, so dumb or gross — that no matter how great the songs contained therein may be, there’s no redeeming it. In no particular order, here are a few particularly stinky stinkers that really stink.
Liz Hand is one of my favorite contemporary writers, as well as being a friend. As her website (elizabethhand.com) tells it; “Her work has received multiple Shirley Jackson, World Fantasy and Nebula Award, among other honors, and several of her books have been New York Times and Washington Post Notable books.” My favorite books of Liz’s are her critically acclaimed novels featuring her fictional character, Cass Neary, a bisexual, alcoholic, speed freak, who published an acclaimed photo book in the 1970’s, but has faded into obscurity, supporting herself by authenticating photos for weirdo collectors around the world. This is where the fun begins-- as inevitably someone gets murdered-- and instead of wanting to solve the crime, Cass wants to get the fuck out of town!
Duncan Hannah is a New York City–based artist whose paintings have been featured in over seventy solo exhibitions around the world since his debut in 1980. His work has been collected by both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Mick Jagger. Hannah has occasionally acted, and his filmography includes Amos Poe’s Unmade Beds (1976), Jennifer Montgomery’s Art for Teachers of Children (1995), and Michael Bilandic’s Hellaware (2013). Originally Published at The Criterion Collection | ©2016 By The Criterion Collection
I’m not going to lie, it was exciting for me to go to Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles. I’m not sure if it’s the “high power” inmates or just nervous energy. You see, in LA ex-cons are everywhere and they’re not embarrassed to tell you about it. Having been in Men’s Central Jail can earn you a pack of sycophants for the rest of your life. So yes, I’ll admit, on my first visit to MCJ I was genuinely giddy. I was there to interview a defendant in custody. I needed to feel him out and determine whether he was worth the risk of posting his bond. All my rookie enthusiasm changed very quickly.
We mourn the death of Olivia Newton-John. She was a pleasant singer and actress, an icon to a certain generation of fans who grew up with her, most after she made the transition from British-born Aussie country singer to pop star, the little girls wanting to be her, young boys wanting to be with her – and even more boys wanting to be her. Now that she’s gone, after a long and valiant battle with cancer, Olivia Newton-John is receiving well-deserved honors, but she has left this plane with a mystery that dangles and clouds her legacy. It’s a mystery partially of her own making, a question left unanswered: WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO PATRICK MCDERMOTT?
We’ve all seen that horribly facile Oliver Stone film, “The Doors” and we still watch it anyway, even though it sucks– thus is the power of Jim Morrison. He still captures our inner belligerent souls. And Val Kilmer looked and imagined Morrison they way we believed him to be. If only Val had a script to work with. One thing that really bothered me was the scene in the movie, when Jim Morrison meets Nico and she says, “Hi, want to fuck?” Or something equally ridiculous. Nico wasn’t that vulgar, uncouth or stupid. But now for millions of kids, Nico is thought of as a moronic floozy instead of the serious artist that she was. I’m getting sick of bio-pics that get it all wrong and re-write the facts, which happen to be even more fascinating than the tripe we are fed on the screen. Which brings me to “The Nod Monastery,” my corrective of what really happened the night Jim Morrison met Nico, and I think you’ll agree it’s a lot more passionate and dramatic than anything Oliver Stone could dream up.
©1995 and 2022 By Legs McNeil [Originally published on pleasekillme.com] Sterling Morrison (1942-1995) was the guitarist for the Velvet Underground, appearing on all four studio albums that the band made. He left the band in 1971 and moved to Texas to finish graduate school, became both a tugboat captain and a college professor. Legs McNeil interviewed him in New York in early 1995. At the time, Morrison was undergoing chemotherapy. Sadly, he did not live long enough to witness the answer to his very first comment in this interview. He died on August 30, 1995. The Velvet Underground were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame the following year.
The book is squalid, evocative and often very, very funny — full of contradictory versions of the same story, all of which have some grain of truth — and that’s how real life is; his version, his version and the truth, which is still compromised