I am Richard Lester Meyers, mostly known by my stage name, Richard Hell. I was a musician for majority of my life in a series of groups such as Neon Boys, Television, the Heartbreakers, Dim Stars, and lastly, Richard Hell and the Voidoids. I am currently a writer and collector of novels, residing in my East Village, New York City, apartment for the last thirty years. I am originally from Kentucky, and I went to school in Delaware for one year, before running away with my buddy, Tom Verlaine. We got arrested for vandalism and got sent back home. I ended up not finishing high school and moved to New York City to become a poet. I was learning my craft of writing poems and music, on my own throughout the years and during this time, I made a living working in bookstores and cinemaphile collector shops. My poems eventually landed in periodicals such as Rolling Stone and New Directions Annuals, and my creative career took off from there. It took years of writing poems until I was finally satisfied with my ability to write. In my creative path, I picked up the bass guitar and started playing shows regularly in downtown New York City with Tom. This is when Neon Boys was born and we later evolved into Television. I spiked my hair and wore torn, cut and drawn-on shirts, which often consisted of safety pins closing up all the tears. As an innovator in punk scene, I was one of the first punks to wear ripped clothing, and eventually I was identified as a pioneer for doing something so new. My spiked hair was a style that many punks would copy, including the Sex Pistols. The way I looked was simply a representation of who I was as an individual and it represented my achievement of being one of the original punk rockers to emerge from New York in the mid 70s. In 1977, Blank Generation, the Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ debut studio album, became one of punk’s all time classics. That could’ve been the start of a very successful music career for me, but my substance use delayed a lot of what was suppose to happen for me. I originally moved to New York to be a poet, but I ended up diving into the CBGB music scene in the early 70s. At this time, I was becoming a cultural icon in New York City for my music, poetry, and fashion sense. I wrote poems and books for many years, but in 1997, I wrote a novel titled, Go Now, about a tale of twisted love, and in 2005, I wrote, Godlike, and these two novels are what classify me as a professional novelist. One of my favorite books I wrote is titled, Wanna Go Out?, a collection of poems written with Tom Verlaine. In the early 80’s, I retired from punk to become a full-time writer. I knew this meant that I’d be struggling until the day I die, but writing is what matters to me and this is who I really am. In 2018, I continue to be a novelist and memoirist, who still lives in the East Village of New York City. I write books and launch them every few years. My books are about truthful observations of humanity. My most recent novel is, Massive Pissed Love. The novel is a collection that uncovers a lot of my thoughts and ideas on art, literature, music, and life. My life throughout has been an exciting journey, navigating my way through New York in my teens to create and share a passion for the things that made me feel alive. Therefore, this is the calm after the storm, and I still choose to contribute my thoughts to the world, but through writing novels. I will be doing this for the rest of my days and you can find me in the East Village, reliving my past as I walk the streets.
Adam Leith Gollner, “Classic Dionysian Shit: An Interview with Richard Hell,” The Paris Review, December 8, 2015, https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/12/08/classic-dionysian-shit-an-interview-with-richard-hell/
Brett Sokol, “Forsaking the Punk Clubs of His Youth for a Well-Stocked Library,” The New York Times, November 7, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/arts/forsaking-the-punk-clubs-of-his-youth-for-a-well-stocked-library.html
Greg Prato, “Richard Hell,” All Music, n.d., https://www.allmusic.com/artist/richard-hell-mn0000848913/biography
Legs Mcneil, “Richard Hell Was the First Person to Shoot Up Heroin in Front of Me,” Daily Beast, March 18, 2013, https://www.thedailybeast.com/richard-hell-was-the-first-person-to-shoot-up-heroin-in-front-of-me
Nick Hasted, “Punk’s founding father, Richard Hell,” Independent, August 18, 2005, http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/punks-founding-father-richard-hell-306738.html