photo by Melissa Eagan

Richard Hell, photo by Melissa Eagan

On ‘growing up’:

“It seems to me like the dividing line, kind of, between being a kid and being an adult – is that, when you’re a kid, you want to impose yourself on the world and change the world to be like you; and be congratulated for being yourself.

“The other side of that line is you realize that maybe the world itself is interesting and you should take a look [laughs] instead of wanting it to pay attention to you.”

On being a musician:

“To do it right, you’ve gotta always be… you’re never going to have an audience that likes you, because you’re going to always be changing; and they’re always going to be coming there to see the person you had been before – you know what I mean? To really do it right, you’ve got to accept that and live with it and not care.

“But me, I’d rather stay at home and write a book than have to go out, and go from town to town, doing something that everyone hates me for.”


Richard Hell, punk rock icon and co-founder of the bands Television, The Heartbreakers and Richard Hell and the Voidoids, as quoted in the documentary ‘Un-Defining Punk’, part of the DVD extras from ‘The Filth and the Fury’ (Sex Pistols documentary.)

Hell has written two novels, Go Now and Godlike. He also published a collection of essays, poems and drawings called Hot and Cold. This year he published a memoir called I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp.



Nov.6th, 2014:

I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp was good!

My favorite Richard Hell line of all time is from the song Oh:

“Then I step outside and – oh!

The sun is breaking through the clouds

The sky is like the face of god

And all there is to say is…”

It’s a feeling I can relate to – I felt that way, one time (while slightly chemically altered) – but I would never have thought to express it so exquisitely.