I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp

I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp

An Autobiography

eBook - 2013
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The progenitor of American and British punk rock shares his journey, from his arrival on the streets of New York in 1967 to his rise to fame, touring with such bands as The Clash and The Sex Pistols, to his full-blown descent into drug addiction.
Publisher: New York, NY : Ecco, [2013]
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780062190857


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Aug 28, 2017

The intention seems to be that, though this is a rockstar memoir, it is literary. Though maybe not a triumph, the book succeeds on most levels, and undeniably benefits from Hell's background as a poet (and eventual status as a novelist).

For me the most interesting bits involve the intersections between the 70's New York punk scene and the second generation New York School of poets and other affiliated artists. I don't love artist's stories of addiction - to me this is the least interesting part of an artists creative life - but I also recognize that this is central to Hell's journey, and he does a good job of not overly sensationalizing, glamourizing or demonizing that history.

Overall, readable and interesting. Hell is extremely honest, and jaded in a way that doesn't exclude self-awareness or insight.

Jul 18, 2013

An interesting autobiography by one of the very earliest punk musicians from the mid 70's. Hell didn't fit in as a child and as a youth he took his rebellion to another level mostly by doing drugs and living on the fringes. he was very literate and used that literacy to write some songs, learned to play bass and start a band; although his musicianship was limited he became popular railing against the establishment and being sexual.

Jul 15, 2013

I love books about NYC in the seventies. This was not as good as Just Kids by Patti Smith, but right up there in terms of painting a vivid picture of the CBGB type scene.

I have read Hell's novel Go Now and enjoyed it. His life explored in this memoir is a little contrived and he obviously didn't get along with everyone - very opinionated on certain folks (like Smith and Tom Verlaine).

May 21, 2013

"Maybe the most extreme example of this class of moment is what I'm trying to describe here. What it felt like to first be creating electrically amplified songs. It was like being born. It was everything one wants from so-called God."
Hardly a household name, Richard Hell is quite possibly the most influential punk--as much for his style, attitude and look as his music--of the 70s. He co-founded Television and the Heartbreakers, put out two albums with the Voidoids, wrote poetry and interacted with seemingly every musician in NYC in the late 70s. He quit music in the 80s to focus on writing. His memoir is candid, funny, exhilarating and poignant. A must for anyone who cares about this incredibly fertile period in music. Also recommended: Just Kids, Please Kill Me, Love Goes to Buildings on Fire.


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