Thursday, April 12, 2012
April 12: Legs McNeil
As was the case with an overwhelming majority of those involved within the underground and punk music scenes of the 1970's, McNeil got his start as a journalist at an early age, and in many ways, under the ultimate "punk" circumstance. It has been stated that Punk magazine was started by McNeil and two friends in an effort to "get free drinks" as well as set themselves apart from others within the scene. Yet the fact of the matter is, it was these early writings that played a vital role in documenting exactly "what" was going on within the underground music scene of New York City. Largely inspired by the music of The Dictators, the magazine took a rather similar approach to writing as the music upon which Punk was founded. Though many may argue the fact, Punk magazine is often cited as the "first" place that the actual term of "punk" was used in reference to the music. Whether or not it was actually the first place, the reality is that the magazine played a vital role in moving the scene and sound forward, and as the decades have passed, the name of Legs McNeil has become absolutely synonymous with the entire world of punk rock. Strangely enough, after only a few years, McNeil was able to see the rather predictable and "mainstream" direction that the genre had taken, and instead of being affiliated with this almost ironic shift in the scene, he stepped down from the magazine, moving to other journalistic avenues.
As the next few decades passed, McNeil stayed within the world of music journalism, serving as the Senior Editor at Spin magazine, as well as founding Nerve magazine, which speaks to a far wider range of subjects within world culture. Along with this, Legs McNeil worked with Gillian McCain to author the book, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History Of Punk, which to this day, many cite as the most authoritative work on the genre as a whole. Due to his longstanding place as a journalist and overall observer of the world of punk and hardcore music, few can be seen as having a greater knowledge on these styles, and even in the current day, one can find his writings on a wide range of subjects on the world of music. Though he may not have played with a seminal band or served as a producer as has been the case in creating a number of "music legends," it is the existence and complete body of work of Legs McNeil that serves as absolute proof that those who document history are often just as, if not more important than those that "make" the events. Had it not been for his continued efforts in covering the reality around him, one can make the case that the genre may not have succeeded as it did, and while there have been many people who have written about music over the decades, none are on the same level as the great Legs McNeil.
Posted by The Daily Guru at 4:33 AM