Legs McNeil on Joey Ramone, punk in 2012, and not trusting music critics

Categories: Q&A

Talk about that further...

For straight-ahead rock 'n' roll, I think the problem is music has gotten so much more diverse than when we were putting out Punk Magazine. Now there are so many genres and subcultures that you have to know the language to know what they're talking about. They'll go "this sounds so great, sounds like early Dictators." I'll follow their link and think, "this doesn't sound like the Dictators at all! What the hell were you thinking?" There's stuff that I really like. I like pop music a lot, weird pop music. I really like Broadcast.

If you could change anything with the music journalism today, what would it be?

I don't know enough about it. I always envisioned its guys with tape on their glasses sitting in a room and talking about how great the Doobie Bros. were or something. I never wanted to be a rock critic. I never wanted to be one of those guys with tape on their glasses who didn't get laid. Blech, you know? There's something really geeky about that, its like they replaced rock 'n' roll from going to the Star Trek convention you know? I never really liked rock critics. Lester Bangs was really like that. He was a 7th Day Adventist who replaced Jesus for rock 'n' roll. He'd preach at you. And if you disagreed, he'd get really mad at you, it was really weird. So we'd say stuff to piss him off all the time. It was fun to piss off Lester. He'd get furious. He wrote that horrible piece about White Noise supremacists, that we were racists. We were the least racist people we knew!

How has the tour been going?

I'm really shocked, because the kids seem to love [my new book] more than Please Kill Me. They were talking to me afterwards. There were a couple hundred kids, mostly talking to me about the new book. It surprised me because I thought, "Nobody gives a shit about me and my dead girlfriend." It's given me a lot of energy and strength, in a real way.

Are you working on anything else now?

Yes, I lived in a small town in Pennsylvania and Gillian and I came across a girl's journals that we turned into a diary, called Dear Nobody. That's going up for sale as we speak. It's quite good. You remember reading Go Ask Alice when you were 12 or 13 and thinking that was great? That was made up by its Avon editor. That bugged me because when I read it when I was 12 or 13, I thought nobody I'd ever met used any of the slang used in the book, that seemed fishy. I did research and found there'd never been an original manuscript. I thought there should have been a real Go Ask Alice. Then we came across these journals, that was a diary. She was 15 or 16 and she dies in the end. Again. Everybody tends to die in my books.

How do you feel about Minneapolis?

I like the Minneapolis scene. We're staying with Doug Anderson. Doug's a great guy and we love the food at Nick and Eddie. He better serve his butterscotch pudding at the new place or I'm going to kick his ass. It's amazing. It's almost better than sex. Not quite. But almost. Tell him he better have it or he's a dead man. I want it morning, noon and night.

Legs McNeil and Gilliian McCain Open the Belmore/New Skyway Lounge 25 South 4th Street, Minneapolis Saturday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. Free BYO refreshment as no food or alcohol will be for sale

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