The Sex Pistols are no ordinary band; their story is long and complicated, and not without its casualties. For a band who really only released one album and four singles, they spawned a sea of imitators; and still do to this day. The Sex Pistols could certainly play; one listen to their ferocious slab of raw rock and roll will soon tell you that.
Despite claims from New York, the Sex Pistols are the true originators of punk; no one else had their attitude, balls, or honesty. The Pistols were inspired by anger and poverty, not art and poetry. There was the Sex Pistols and there was the rest. Big difference… History is blatantly being re-written.
Fabrications are constantly spouted that when The Ramones came to England in the Sex Pistols turned up at their first show at London, Roundhouse, and asked them how to form a band. For 30 years the Pistols have had to put up with these kind of lies and petty jealousies. There is always someone, somewhere, trying to undermine them. It just proves they were doing something right in the first place. Sex Pistols… The band that would become the Sex Pistols originally began in when school-friends Steve Jones and Paul Cook decided to form a band; Glen Matlock later joined in Disillusioned by the bloated progressive-rock and hippie music scene of the time, the fledgling Pistols took their musical inspiration from the 60s mod and rock n roll of The Who and The Small Faces.
Sacrilege at the time. However, deep down they knew they had found their man, someone who could help vocalize their thoughts. Lydon was an individual of the highest order. He looked and sounded like no one else on earth, and due to a childhood bout of meningitis, he had a stare that would kill! Having made their live debut as quickly as November , by early the band began playing live more regularly; playing anywhere that would take them.
This was a time where your haircut and clothes could get you into serious trouble. With their unique look and sound, the Sex Pistols were such a bolt out of the blue that they would often find themselves in physical danger. They would regularly have to fight their way to their van after having the plug pulled on them! But there was a small percentage of the crowd they got through to.
The Sex Pistols affected everyone they saw, whether it was a positive or negative reaction. They always got a reaction. They wanted the biggest and best. EMI eventually won the war. He was more than happy to sow seeds of discontent.
December 1st, changed the Sex Pistols and the music scene forever. A notorious drunk, Grundy had no time for these young upstarts. Treating the Pistols and their entourage with nothing short of thinly veiled contempt, he proceeded to goad them into swearing. Unbeknownst to the band, the show was being broadcast live throughout London. Not that it would have stopped them anyway. Grundy was one of the first people to learn not to fuck sorry, rude word with the Sex Pistols… The following day the Pistols were headline news up and down the country.
Around this time tensions between Matlock and Rotten came to boiling point. Despite being practically unable to play bass! The nation was gripped by Royal fever. The Queen was a national treasure. Everyone loved her, everyone except the Sex Pistols. The band also had a perfect collaboration with Jamie Reid on artwork.
This was Britain long before Diana, Fergie, Edward and the likes had exposed the Monarchy for what they were. No one had ever spoken up so publicly about them. The nation was up in arms. Since the Bill Grundy controversy, the band had been public enemy 1, but that all paled into insignificance by the protest that met them after Jubilee week.
The powers-that-be refused to acknowledge it but the Sex Pistols were Number 1. Paul Cook was also set upon with an iron bar. Pre-release orders were so high it immediately charted at Number 1. The band were charged with the obscure Indecent Advertising Act of !
Internal bickering in and around the band had reached a high point by this time, but rather than dealing with the unrest in the camp, McLaren distanced himself from the band, especially Rotten. However, there was to be one last hurrah in Huddersfield, England on Christmas Day The Pistols volunteered to play two shows for families of striking firemen: Initially the band were refused entry to the States due to their criminal records, however, their visa problems were eventually sorted with the band only having to pull two shows from the tour.
The Pistols being the Pistols, they decided not to play big American cities. Instead they opted to play a short series of dates in the Deep South of the country, in a selection of redneck venues throughout the likes of Memphis, Atlanta and Dallas. The band was on its last legs. John was fucked with flu, Sid was fucked with drugs, and Cook and Jones were fucked with Sid and John. John Lydon eventually walked out on the others the following day, after trying in vain to get Jones to dump McLaren.
Sid was the main suspect. Whether he did it or not is still highly debatable. Unfortunately, aged just 21, Sid Vicious ended up just another sex, drugs and rock and roll cliche. Everything he would have hated… Post-Winterland, Rotten washed his hands of the Sex Pistols and moved on. A story of how he allegedly manufactured the group and manipulated them to his wishes.
A story that, somewhat bizarrely, would be wildly believed by large sections of the media. The perfect antidote for the sickly Britpop of the time.
The Sex Pistols would play almost as many gigs on this tour as they ever played in the 70s. Despite being largely ignored or slighted by the press, the tour was a huge success with the band playing to an audience eager to see a legend that thousands had claimed to have seen; but in truth never had. The Pistols duly agreed, always willing to expose hypocrisy; while getting a platform to promote themselves.
The Pistols always wanted to be the best at what they did. They are there for us, and we care for them. Where they were supported by the likes of Offspring, Blink and Bad Religion. It spoke volumes that the Sex Pistols would be headlining above such popular acts, while their British contemporaries such as The Damned and Buzzcocks were much further down the bill.
By popular demand would see the Sex Pistols return again, this time for an eventful North American tour. Never scared to confront the real issues of the day, a planned trip to Baghdad to play for the Iraqi people not troops was also offered in , only to see red-tape scupper the project. After years of being fashionably ignored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Shame the Pistols were forcibly inducted without their consent in The band sent a handwritten letter in their absence stating their many reasons for not attending.
They were no monkeys for anonymous record industry judges. Never Mind The Bollocks is not. The album is just as powerful and fresh now as it was 30 years ago. And an album that will continue to inspire — forever. Music is bland and insignificant. One of the Pistols greatest achievements is they brought an alternative.