Richard Hell, punk rock's patient zero

In the latest episode of the RiYL podcast, Brian Heater interviews Richard Hell, one of the pioneers of punk rock.

By Brian Heater at 1:07 pm Mon, Jul 14, 2014

When we spoke in the East Village tenement apartment Richard Hell has occupied since 1975, the conversation turned turned to writing. His memoir covers the years beginning with his birth up through the end of his music career, and, as Hell made clear early on in our conversation, he’s not found of being asked the same question twice.

Between last year’s I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp: An Autobiography and all that goes on between the iconic red and white covers of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, there’s seemingly little about Richard Hell’s relatively short music making career that hasn’t been written. Save for an outing with members of Sonic Youth under the banner Dim Stars, the man who played such an instrumental role in defining the aesthetics and voice of New York City punk had largely retired from the music game by the mid-80s.

It’s a tough proposition when speaking to an artist who’s been in and out of the public eye since the mid-70s, and it’s no doubt at least part of the reason Hell seemed to balk at my initial interview request. With his latest book having just been released in paperback, however, Hell agreed to meet with me and discuss his career as a writer, from his early days in poetry to the novels Go Now and Godlike and his 2013 autobiography.

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Published 1:07 pm Mon, Jul 14, 2014

About the Author

Brian Heater (@bheater ) is a senior editor at Engadget and the founder of indie comics site, The Daily Cross Hatch. His writing has appeared in Spin, The Onion, Entertainment Weekly and The New York Press. He hosts several podcasts and shares an apartment in Queens with a rabbit named Sylvia.

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