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SINEAD O’CONNOR: THE JOAN OF ARC SYNDROME

2022-10-31T17:02:21+00:00October 31st, 2022|Essays, Music|

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.

INTRODUCING LIZ HAND AND A PREVIEW OF HER WORK

2022-08-22T23:58:41+00:00August 22nd, 2022|Essays|

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!

THE NOD MONASTERY: THE TRUE STORY OF HOW JIM MORRISON REALLY MET NICO

2022-08-06T20:40:11+00:00August 4th, 2022|Music|

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.

STERLING SPEAKS! STERLING MORRISON’S LAST INTERVIEW WITH LEGS MCNEIL, 1995

2022-10-21T17:20:53+00:00July 31st, 2022|Music|

©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.

PUSHING PUNK

2022-07-29T16:55:58+00:00July 29th, 2022|Music|

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

ORAL HISTORY OF THE MONTH – CALL ME: HERB ALPERT & THE REMAKING OF CHRIS MONTEZ

2022-07-16T15:20:36+00:00June 26th, 2022|Music|

(Or: How a Jewish Mariachi Trumpeter Turned a Chicano Rock ‘n’ Roller into an Easy Listening Pop Crooner) | Born in Los Angeles, a high school classmate and friend of Brian Wilson, rock ’n’ roll tenor and devotee of Ritchie Valens, teenage Mexican-American Ezekiel Christopher Montañez got a name change to Chris Montez and at nineteen had a Top Ten record in 1962 with Let’s Dance. Meanwhile, in another part of L.A., A Jewish singer, songwriter, and trumpeter named Herb Alpert formed a record label called A&M, and inspired by a group of mariachis at a bullfight in Tijuana, recorded a song called The Lonely Bull. The single hit the charts alongside Let’s Dance in the fall of 1962, and also made the Top Ten.

RAY DAVIES NEVER WANTED TO BE A SINGER

2022-07-16T15:20:05+00:00June 23rd, 2022|Music|

In 2009, Ray Davies toured America to promote The Kinks Choral Collection, which featured new studio recordings of some of Davies’ finest songs backed by the Crouch End Festival Chorus. He performed with the chorus at Town Hall in New York in November. Six of the songs from the classic, underrated Kinks’ album Village Green Preservation Society were included in Davies’ “choral collection.” On the forty-ninth anniversary of the release of Village Green Preservation Society, we present the following exclusive interview with Davies, conducted on Nov. 11, 2009 by Legs McNeil and Stacey Asip, in which Davies talked about his family, his working class roots and the early days of being a Kink. This version is condensed from a much longer interview.

DUNCAN HANNAH: THE CARY GRANT OF PUNK ROCK (AUGUST 21, 1952 — JUNE 11, 2022)

2022-06-17T14:14:11+00:00June 17th, 2022|Essays|

Dunc had it all; the charm, the clothes, the looks, the brains, the talent, and more importantly, he was not an asshole. He didn’t need an entourage, he enjoyed going to see his friend’s work, and he enjoyed explaining why he liked something or did not like it. He was extremely accessible and his take on “the work” was inspiring. And his manner was classy, in an unpretentious way; more Mid-West down home. And his smile was infectious.

JONATHAN RICHMAN: IN LOVE WITH THE MODERN WORLD

2022-06-03T15:41:59+00:00June 3rd, 2022|Music|

Ernie Brooks is a very likable fellow who was raised in New York and Connecticut by intellectual, liberal parents, which explains why he became a civil rights activist down South during the violent “Freedom Summer” of the early 1960s. Ernie’s a Harvard graduate who studied English literature, poetry, and rock 'n' roll, along with his college roommate Jerry Harrison, who later became the keyboard player for the Talking Heads. A chance encounter with Jonathan Richman led to a wild ride as one of the founding members of the legendary Modern Lovers, perhaps the greatest alt-rock, pre-punk, indie band that no one has ever seen.

HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY! REMEMBERING ARTURO VEGA

2022-06-02T15:31:30+00:00May 24th, 2022|Music|

Arturo Vega was the most optimistic, jubilant and fun pal anyone could wish for. If it wasn’t for Artie, Joey Ramone and I would’ve starved to death in those early days. He used to give us each a buck fifty so we could each buy a quart of beer and a pack of cigarettes. Joey smoked Winstons; I smoked Marlboros, at 75 cents a pack.

WHEN THE BEATLES MET ELVIS

2022-05-12T19:35:43+00:00May 12th, 2022|Music|

In one of his many interviews, John Lennon called it the most exciting day of his life. I rather doubt it, but then I grew up with the Elvis that was making movies like “Clambake” and “Girls, Girls, Girls,” so I was never impressed. Like Lennon, I loved Elvis’ early Sun Records stuff and believed Presley went to hell when he joined the army. Still, I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall the night the Beatles finally met Elvis. I hope you enjoy this!

THE BALLAD OF CYNTHIA PLASTER CASTER

2022-04-30T18:03:22+00:00April 30th, 2022|Essays, Music|

Cynthia was truly an original thinker and a meticulous goofy artist who took the job of casting rock stars’ erect “rigs” extremely seriously while never losing her sense of humor about the job at hand. Join me now as we listen to Cynthia Plaster Caster’s story….

G.G. ALLIN’S LAST DAY ON EARTH

2022-06-02T15:30:54+00:00April 1st, 2022|Music|

When I was doing a reading tour of the south last winter, I became friendly with Johnny Puke, from Charleston, South Carolina, where he books and manages the Tin Roof, a fun, dumpy punk club. Johnny told me that he was with G.G. the night he died and I thought it would be an interesting story to get on tape.

WHY WE STILL LOVE ANNA DELVEY!

2022-03-19T16:32:27+00:00March 19th, 2022|TV & Film|

When I first binge-watched nine episodes of “Inventing Anna” on Netflix a few weeks ago, I was appalled by the little sociopathic girl with the over-sized glasses, the crooked smile and that grating voice that reminded me of a broken fourth wheel on a broken grocery store cart; “You’re such a disappointment.”

NARRATIVE ORAL HISTORY OF THE MONTH: BUNNY YEAGER LAUNCHES THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION!

2022-03-01T20:44:27+00:00March 1st, 2022|Narrative Oral History Of The Month|

In 2001 I interviewed the delightful Bunny Yeager at the Lowe’s Miami Beach Hotel for The Other Hollywood, my narrative oral history of the porn film industry, and found her to be charming and forthright and underappreciated. Bunny had a fascinating life and really was one of the main liberators who helped launch America’s sexual revolution in the 1960s.

HOWIE PYRO SPEAKS — PART ONE

2022-02-22T14:02:35+00:00February 22nd, 2022|Music|

©2022 By Legs McNeil | In honor of Howie Pyro’s new liver and Jesse Malin’s benefit show for Howie’s medical expenses on Saturday, March 5th, I present Howie Pyro, the East Village Zelig, founding member of both the Blessed and D Generation.

JOHN WATERS TALKS PORN: THE MITCHELL BROTHERS, DEEP THROAT, TRACI LORDS & JOHN HOLMES

2022-02-10T17:23:45+00:00February 10th, 2022|TV & Film|

I called him and asked for an interview, and told him what I wanted to talk about—and he graciously accepted. I think he wanted to try out his new stand-up act on me, and as usual John was hysterically funny. In honor of Valentine’s Day 2022, I present to you John Waters on pornography—So get comfy, I think you’re going to enjoy this one….

THE STORY OF SUICIDE WITH ALAN VEGA & MARTY REV

2022-04-29T17:08:54+00:00January 25th, 2022|Music|

Suicide was anything but boring. Far from it. This was dangerous, wildly unpredictable, chaotic performance art. They were really quite a spectacle and left anyone who stumbled into their concerts at CBGB or Max’s with their mouth open, thinking, What the hell is this?

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