Richard Hell may best be known as a punk icon, a founding member of seminal bands Television, the Heartbreakers, and The Voidoids, but for decades he’s been a prominent voice in American letters. Through his novels Go Now and Godlike, and his critically acclaimed autobiography, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, Hell has proven himself as a talented and insightful writer across many genres, in many forms. But one might argue that Richard’s true genius lies in shorter form as a writer on culture. “Love comes in spurts,” Hell once sang, and that could well describe the intensity of his penetrating and wickedly droll criticism.Massive Pissed Love is a collection of Hell’s ruminations on art, literature, and music, among other things, that’s like a candy box of reading treats, a bag of shiny marbles, a cabinet of mementos and uncanny fetishes. However one thinks of it, it’s a joy to read from start to finish and a deeply necessary addition to the oeuvre of one of the sharpest minds and sensibilities at work today.
Hell is funny and abrasive and blunt, across a wide array of interests.
He’s a sharp and masterful writer, the kind of scribe who can take any subject and wax at equal turns poetic and profane on it. ... Hell has wisely compiled his writings on music, art, literature, culture and anything else that grabs his fancy beneath the odd but appropriate title Massive Pissed Love. There’s snark a-plenty here, but there’s much more than that, too. Call it a celebration of the meanderings of an uber-keen mind.
Fuel for Hell’s minions, a fan’s notes for fans.
For fans of Hell’s personal mythos and/or musings on others, Massive Pissed Love
is the must-read.
A rueful, battle-scarred, darkly witty observer of his own life and times.
In his poetic memoir, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, Hell takes us on a tour of a lost world and stakes out his place in cultural history.
Hell brings to his new autobiography more literary experience than your typical rock memoirist...I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp ultimately celebrates passion, in all its complicated, sometimes dangerous forms.
This valuable book... is not only an absorbing cultural history but also a clear-eyed story that superbly channels the attitude expressed in the first blurt to his best-known song ’Blank Generation’ "I was saying let me out of here before I was even born.
Mr. Hell has an excellent new memoir, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, that describes that wild, reckless and important era in downtown Manhattan with candor, wit and reverence.
His book shines its own dirty light. Which means it has lots of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. Pick up I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, if you want poetry and insight.
There are many shivery, illicit pleasures in this louche memoir... Hell was a virtuoso of taste, a critic with a sensibility so fine and unconventional it bordered on its own form of art... weird and singular and superbly self-aware.
Hell is an enthusiastic reporter of the critical artistic crossover of the avant-garde art scene and the world of punk rock... his account rings true and it entertains... a treasure both to those present during gritty, heady ’70s NYC and to those not.
Hell brings his searingly honest songwriting style to this candid and page-turning memoir... [Hell’s] portrait of the artist searching for himself offers a glimpse into his own genius as well as recreating the hellishness and the excitement of a now long-gone music scene in New York City.
A skilled writer...In recalling the days when love came in spurts, Hell is precise, telling a lot without ever seeming to tell too much. He nails the essence of both scenes and people, from rock peers to exploitative record producers...A deft, lyrical chronicle.
Hell is a fine writer and full of self-knowledge, and part of the pleasure of this randy, drug-addled memoir are his descriptions of New York during the bad old days when crime was rampant and the streets filthy. A compelling and entertaining memoir.
Before Richard Hell, all was darkness. He can rightly claim to have started ...everything...Poet, musician, fashion icon and terrific, terrific writer. Chances are, you have been deeply influenced by Richard Hell your whole life. You just didn’t know it.
Richard Hell designed and executed a sustained performance of rock stardom as if he had invented the concept himself. Radically self-aware, he wields prose keen as a diamond knife, sharpened by the light of the moon.
An exquisite snapshot of early punk possibility--that so beautifully captures the exuberance of starting a band!
Charming and impossible, Hell is the first (and best!) name in punk rock. His insights are informed by the romance of running away to the mystery heard in the rowdy grooves of a dirty LP or in the pages of a thumbed book of verse.
Tramp gave me the same feeling I had as a kid... I cozied up and fell in love with a world that wasn’t mine. There are very few books that make me want to start writing my own; this is one of them.
Other rock bios are tasteful and cautious -- you feel the writer take you to a certain point but then pull back... Hell will take you right there, and that is why this book is an honest and special treat.
... It’s a defining history lesson, a moving, brainy personal exploration, and literature at its most uncompromising and greatest.
...It works as both punk memoir and a universal coming of age story about being young, rude and less stupid than you put on.
Hot and Cold is remarkable for its enthusiasm and generosity of spirit.
...From the beginning, Richard Hell has burned with the same blue flame of misfit insight and desperate beauty.
...Neo-punks and the alternative "whatever" crowd will enjoy this beautifully printed document of overlapping subcultures.
Hell is a genuine writer... some of the best writing about rock I’ve ever read.