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Never mind the bollocks, here’s some unseen photos of the Sex Pistols in 1978
09:01 am

Pop Culture


Sid Vicious, Nancy Spungen, John Lydon and Poly Styrene
Sadly this isn’t a photo essay with the images—you’ll have to watch the video to see the photographs of the Sex Pistols by French photographer Pierre Benain. Benain shot these back in the Spring of 1978 for a French magazine. A few of these you might have seen before, like the one image of Sid Vicious holding a knife to Nancy Spungen’s neck, but most should be new to you.

For some odd reason in the interview, Benain makes no mention of X-Ray Spex’s frontwoman Poly Styrene being there. She was, as you can see from another photo from that day, which you can see above.

h/t Declan O’Gallagher

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘They are all about 12 years old’: The first time The Sex Pistols were ever mentioned in the press
10:47 am

Pop Culture


Some of the stories about the early days of The Sex Pistols are as well known as that tale of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the nativity and the visiting of the three wise bears. (Kings, surely?-Ed.)

For example, we all know by now how John Lydon was spotted wearing a Pink Floyd tee-shirt with “I hate” scrawled across it, how he auditioned in Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop SEX by singing along to Alice Cooper’s “Eighteen,” or how Steve Jones propelled the group into national infamy on teatime television by calling local news channel host Bill Grundy a rude word:

Jones: You dirty sod. You dirty old man!

Grundy: Well keep going, chief, keep going. Go on, you’ve got another five seconds. Say something outrageous.

Jones: You dirty bastard!

Grundy: Go on, again.

Jones: You dirty fucker! [Laughter from the group]

Grundy: What a clever boy!

Jones: What a fucking rotter.

Etcetera, etcetera….

Ah yes, some of these stories are so well known they’ve become part of the furniture of modern pop culture. So pull up a chair and have a seat. When that infamous interview happened in December of 1976, the PIstols’ manager Malcolm McLaren feared the band had blown their one chance at fame. How wrong could he have been? The next day (of course) the front page of nearly every tabloid newspaper in England featured the Pistols with headlines raving on about “the filth and the fury.”

From that forth, the Sex Pistols were never ever out of the news again.

Yet, here’s the thing—the very first words ever written about the Pistols in the MSM actually appeared in the New Musical Express a year before the Grundy show incident in the December 27, 1975 issue of the New Musical Express, in a review about a student ball.
Peter Gabriel scrubs up nice: The NME when its writers were good.
The Pistols were just seven weeks old and had played only three gigs when they appeared at the “All Night Christmas Ball” at Queen Elizabeth College, Kensington, London, on November 27 1975. The Pistols were on a bill topped by the likes of Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Mike Absolom and Slack Alice. It was in a review of this all nighter by NME staffer Kate Phillips that the Sex Pistols were to be given their very first media name check.

“Oh, yes,” says the Social Sec, “and then there are the Sex Pistols. You missed them.”

“Were they any good?” I asked brightly.

“They played for expenses,” he countered.

The Sex Pistols were huddled against a far wall of the dance floor. They were all about 12 years old. Or maybe about 19, but you could be fooled. They’re managed by Malcolm, who runs ‘Sex’ in the King’s Road, and they’re going to be The Next Big Thing. Or maybe The Next Big Thing After That. Meanwhile, we drank a lot.

It’s been long assumed that the first mention of The Sex Pistols came from a review by Neil Spencer of the band’s Marquee gig in February 1976. Now we know different.
Journalist and author Paul Gorman who first unearthed this little barroom fact also notes:

Phillips was accompanied to the Queen Elizabeth College event by her partner and NME assistant editor, the late Tony Tyler (who was also with Spencer at the February 76 gig at The Marquee).

In the “On The Town” section on page 27, it was tucked beneath the lead review by Chris Salewicz of a Birmingham gig by the briefly popular hard-rock outfit Mr Big (headlined: “A yob in a support band is something to be.”).

Phillips started her column-and-a-bit thus:

“I was there for six hours and I can hardly remember a thing. It must have been a great party. Looking back it was meeting the Sex Pistols that started my downfall…”

She also wrote:

“I was soon in no condition to meet the rugger student who reeled over to our little island of determined hipness.

‘Why is your hair so short?’ he burbled. ‘I mean are you in a gwoop or something?’

I warmed to the man. He had taken me for a Sex Pistol!

A jig band came on. The students broke into the Gay Gordons.

‘What a monstrosity,’ muttered a Sex Pistol gloomily.”

Criticised that day on the bus by my then-girlfriend for my absorption in the music paper, I packed the issue away but kept hold of it, understanding even then that halfway down page 27 of that week’s NME, Phillips and Tyler had stumbled across the future.

So, there you have it. These then are the very first words, the very first first drops from which a deluge of salacious copy would follow.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Post-punk funk: Debbie Harry and James White & The Blacks cover Chic and James Brown, 1980
01:49 pm



Okay, so it’s Monday… That’s bad enough already, but it’s also a Monday in January and much of the eastern part of the US of A is totally blanketed in snow and freezing cold, so maybe you had to brave the elements to get to work, or maybe it’s a winter wonderland “snow day” for you and you’re sitting at home. Either way, I can’t help but to think, no matter your circumstances right now, this very moment as you are reading this, that your life will be improved by these recently posted video clips of Blondie’s Debbie Harry guesting onstage with James White and the Blacks at the Hurrah’s nightclub in New York City in 1980.

First up, Debbie and James duet on a cover version of Chic’s “Good Times.” For the first few minutes of this, I wasn’t really feeling it, although admittedly I got so lost just looking at Debbie Harry’s face that I could have been listening to a jackhammer. Eventually the groove kicks in and then… I felt good. James White squeezes off an outrageously skronky sax solo here.

The James Brown cover after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Stranglers’ live performance of ‘Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’ with a bunch of strippers from 1978
11:15 am



Jean-Jacques Burnel and Hugh Cornwell<br />
Jean-Jacques Burnel and Hugh Cornwell on the stage at Battersea Park in London, September 16th, 1978
Jean-Jacques Burnel and Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers on the stage at Battersea Park in London, September 16th, 1978
Back in 1977, the members of the Greater London Council were not the biggest fans of punk rock instigators, The Stranglers. According to legend, (and detailed in the book, England’s Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond) at a show at The Rainbow in London, Strangler vocalist Hugh Cornwell wore a shirt with the word “fuck” on it. This didn’t go over well with the GLC, and The Stranglers set was cut short. After that, the GLC banned the The Stranglers from booking and playing gigs around London. Finally, on September 16th, 1978, the band was able to organize and play an outdoor gig at Battersea Park in London. And thanks to the fact that The Stranglers love trouble, it wouldn’t go off without a good dose of controversy.
Hugh Cornwell and his
Two of my favorites things; Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers and the word “fuck”
Showbill for The Stranglers at Battlesea Park, August 16, 1978
Showbill for The Stranglers show at Battersea Park, August 16, 1978

The line-up for the show at Battersea included Peter Gabriel, Scottish punks the Skids, English band The Spizzoil (better-known in the US as Athletico Spizz 80 and for their “Where’s Captain Kirk?” single, also known as Spizzenergi and The Spizzles), a band called The Edge, and a comedian that was being managed by Cornwell at the time known as “Johnny Rubbish.

Everything was pretty mellow until nearly the end of The Stranglers set when the band slid into “Nice ‘n’ Sleazy” from their 1978 record, Black and White. During the song, The Stranglers brought a group of strippers onstage (both male and female) and a guy with a whip (because why not?), who all proceeded to serve up some daytime strip-club, full-frontal glamor for the audience. Although the show was filmed, the footage that’s gotten around isn’t amazing quality by any means. Lucky for us, the five-minutes of the completely bonkers (and NSFW if you haven’t already figured that one out) performance of “Nice ‘n’ Sleazy” is pretty great, and I’ve posted it below for your viewing pleasure.

The Stranglers and their stripper posse performing “Nice ‘n’ Sleazy” at Battersea Park, London, 1978

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
We kinda totally love these Bernie Sanders punk rock t-shirts
10:13 am



That the music underground is so engaged with Bernie Sanders’ worker-friendly, anti-1% presidential campaign comes as no surprise—punk and left politics have always been extremely comfortable bedfellows (sorry not sorry Michale Graves), and it’s a big plus that Sanders’ oppositional candidacy is being run within one of the mainstream parties, and thus won’t serve as a potential election spoiler like the Nader insurgency that ultimately spelled disaster for both the Green Party and the USA. Last autumn, we at Dangerous Minds told you about Berned in DC, a Facebook group producing image macros of the candidate paired with invented quotations that mirrored hardcore scene purism, to utterly hilarious effect. Today, our task is to show you the work of L.A. artist Mark Mendez and Portland printer Rob Campbell, who’ve created a wonderful series of Sanders shirts based on well-known punk band logos. In an interview with Visual News, the pair offered:

It’s hard to think of Bernie as “punk rock” by his appearance alone. He’s a 74-year-old, white, veteran politician from Vermont. But his ideals are what make him the most punk rock candidate who ever ran for office. He’s been speaking about economic inequality, civil rights, and antiestablishment politics for over four decades. It is people like us who do what we can to support his campaign and raise awareness about who he is, what he stands for, and how we the people can make a difference.

They’ve named the t-shirt line “Bern the White House” (simply brilliant—how has nobody used that before now?), and the shirts can be bought from the pair’s Etsy shop or from The profits from the sales will of course benefit the Sanders campaign up to the amount legally permitted for individual contributions, after which proceeds will go to “Bernie-friendly charities and grassroots organizations.”


The Adicts

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
There’s awesome, and then there’s MUPPET BLONDIE awesome
09:17 am



Now that most of the cryassing about how “IT’S NOT WHAT I’M UUUUUUSED TOOOOOO FROM WHEN I WAS A KIIIIIIIIIIIID” has abated, it’s nice to see that the rebooted Muppets is being generally well received. Updating The Muppet Show from the variety show format to a hodgepodge of tropes from Larry Sanders, The Office and 30 Rock was a smart contemporizing move that gave the show ample satirical fodder, and shifting the setting from Vaudeville theatre—charming as all hell though that was!—to late-nite talk allowed the preservation of the rotating guest star format that mirrors the original show and keeps it lively. It’s not as holy-shit great as its ‘70s predecessor, it’s true, but it’s sharp, it’s funny, it’s exploring different themes, and it’s got time and room to grow.

And I hope to hell that sooner than later it has moments as holy-shit great as its predecessor’s Episode 509, from February of 1981, guest starring Blondie singer Debbie Harry. It was an amazing episode for numerous reasons—Debbie Harry’s intrinsic awesomeness being one of them, naturally. But I find it interesting that The Muppet Show’s representation of punk took the form’s aesthetic merit as a given, keeping clichéd rainbow hair and safety-pin jokes to a minimum. It might be hard to explain how completely radical that was at the time. Punk representation in media was typically dumb and cartoonish, depicting musicians as simplistically violent oafs before 1980 (think WKRP’s insane 4th episode “Hoodlum Rock” in 1978), and after 1980, well, the preachy and unintentionally hilarious Quincy, M.E. punk episode’s depiction of hardcore kids so impossibly nihilistic they’re utterly indifferent to the death (by slam pit ice pick!) of one of their own friends pretty well sums it up. That kind of crap was FAR more typical than forthrightly showing punks as artists pursuing a music.


Of course, by 1981, Blondie had become one of punk’s most mainstream expressions—it’s not like the family-hour Muppet Show was going to have Killing Joke on or anything—but that does nothing to diminish the wonderful segment showing Harry helping the young members of a scout troop get their punk merit badges by teaching them to pogo. The entire episode is on the Best Of The Muppet Show Vol. 9 (there’s no season 5 complete collection yet, for some reason), or you can watch it at this link.

And surprise surprise, where the episode really shines in is the musical numbers. Harry’s duet with Kermit the Frog on “Rainbow Connection” has been enduringly popular, but the episode’s two Blondie songs are pretty wonderful, too. “One Way or Another,” by then almost a three-year-old tune, had Harry backed up by a Muppet band that, rather than exemplifying the kind of goofy tropes that normals would recognize as “punk,” look credibly like an actual downtown NYC band of the era. I’m guessing they were modeled after Tuff Darts, but I could be wrong.

The episode ended with a Muppetization of Blondie’s year-old single “Call Me,” the theme song from a movie about a male prostitute framed for murdering a client whose husband hired him to “entertain” her. That may seem odd for family-hour until you consider that Blondie’s current single at the time was “Rapture,” a six-plus minute, half-cooed, half-rapped song that might contain a barely concealed reference to finger fucking (available printed lyrics read “finger popping” but we weren’t idiots) and definitely contains the line “he shoots you dead and he eats your head.” Which would have TOTALLY RULED performed by Muppets, but he upbeat “Call Me” was clearly the safer choice.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Suck me, baby: The Virgin Prunes’ new form of beauty
11:51 am



Meet the Pig Children…

“Like a crazy singer in a band that’s lost the words.”

I’ll go out on a limb here and declare that I think the Virgin Prunes are THE #1 most underrated group of the post-punk era. Go ahead and do your worst. What about _____? Or ______?  Or _____?

Well, what about ‘em? Sorry, but I’m right. No other band with their theatrical power and musical genius has been so wrongly overlooked as the Virgin Prunes.

The main reason for this gross miscarriage of cultural justice is simply because their albums were extremely difficult to find until the mid aughts. Unless you bought the expensive limited edition import vinyl pressed in France and Italy when they actually came out in the early to mid-80s, you were pretty much shut out of enjoying the din glorious of the Virgin Prunes. You probably weren’t going to encounter much, if anything, of the Virgin Prunes’ output in a used record store, either. People who owned those albums, even those who slimmed their record collections down considerably over the years (like me) held onto them. They were not common on Limewire or Napster. Not only were they rare and coveted albums, they were glossy, darkly glamorous and obscenely weird objects d’art in their own right.

I think another reason for their obscurity has to do with the (mostly) misinformed notion that the Virgin Prunes were a goth band due to their “Pagan Lovesong” being such a big dancefloor mainstay at places like London’s Batcave discotheque (which is admittedly where I first heard them myself). Being lumped in with bands like The Specimen, Danse Society, Gene Loves Jezebel and Clan of Xymox hurt their credibility with rock snobs, but their scary, intimidating noise/art rock had far more in common with Faust, The Pop Group, The Birthday Party, Public Image Ltd. or Throbbing Gristle, certainly, than it did with Sex Gang Children. The goth label was, and is, an unfortunate one for the legacy of the Virgin Prunes to bear and is still a barrier to proper critical re-appraisal of the group’s work. The goth label didn’t exist when they started. They were Irish hooligans who came of age with Bowie and punk. They threw pigs heads around onstage and spoke “in tongues” in cheek out of disrespect to their Catholic elders. To lump them in with goth is just… lazy. The Virgin Prunes wanted to do things like this:

(Imagine the collective reaction the people of Ireland had to seeing THAT on their tee-vee sets. Then shed a tear for the current generation of boring, well-behaved young people.)

“We entertain people from another level…”

Another excuse that they’re still so unknown and underground after so many years have passed is that their work is simply not for everyone. Motherfuckers are evil sounding. If you don’t like an evil-sounding racket, get back to your Carpenter’s albums—quick—and just keep moving. These guys might damage you for life.

If Satan himself had a band, they would try to sound like the Virgin Prunes.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall. Mirror, mirror, I’ve seen it all…”

It’s been remarked often that the Virgin Prunes are the reverse image of U2. Dik Evans, original Virgin Prunes guitarist, is the brother of The Edge and the members of both groups grew up as friends in Dublin. Quoting from the Wikipedia entry:

The band consisted of childhood friends of U2’s Bono. Lypton Village was a “youthful gang” created by Bono, Guggi (Derek Rowan) and Gavin Friday (Fionan Hanvey) in the early 70s, where every member got a new identity and where they could escape from dreary and predictable Dublin life and be anything they wanted to be. It was both lead singers Friday and Guggi who first gave a teenaged Paul Hewson his alter-ego and world-famous moniker “Bono Vox of O’Connell Street,” later simply “Bono.”


U2 were the good boys, the Christians. The Virgins Prunes were feral and downright demonic.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Punk Under Reagan: Texas in the 80s
12:45 pm



A scenester named Kevin Johnson (in the white glasses) dancing in the crowd at The Island in Houston, Texas 1982
A scenester named Kevin Johnson (in the white glasses) dancing in the crowd at The Island in Houston, Texas 1982
Houston-based photographer Ben DeSoto has been snapping photos in and around his nativeTexas for four decades. Back in the early 80s, DeSoto ended up interning as a photographer for the Houston Post. One of his favorite assignments was getting to take photos at a new club called The Island in Houston. Or, according to his editor, the place where they play that “new fangled” punk rock music. A place that already become a home away from home for the young DeSoto. The photos he took went on to become part of a documentary series called, Punk Under Reagan.
Female hardcore fans up in front of the stage at a Circle Jerks show in Houston, early 1980s
Female hardcore fans in front of the stage at a Circle Jerks show in Houston, early 1980s
Fans waiting for the Alien Sex Fiend show at Axiom, late 80s
Fans waiting for the Alien Sex Fiend show at The Axiom in Houston, Texas, late 80s
The Axiom in Houston, Texas back in the day
The Axiom in Houston
DeSoto has said that the experience of taking photos for the Post made him feel “uncomfortable in a comfortable way,” and I’m sure a large number of you reading this remember exactly what that felt like. Luckily for us, DeSoto soldiered on and came away with candid images that allow the viewer to step inside long-gone clubs like The Island, The Axiomand Raul’s in Austin, along with other spots whose walls attempted to contain performances by national acts like Fugazi, Black Flag and Nirvana, and the collective beer-soaked enthusiasm of Houston’s hooligan youth.
A punk band on the stage of Raul's in Austin, Texas, 1980
“The Next” onstage at Raul’s in Austin, 1980
Punks getting down at The Island in Houston, Texas 1982
Punks getting down at The Island in Houston, Texas 1982
Devo fans hanging out in Houston, 1980s
DEVO fans hanging out in Houston
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
One two-minute video that encapsulates every clichéd punk rock documentary ever made
08:53 am



Punk scholars, this is everything.

If you’ve ever watched ANY documentary on the early days of punk rock, this video will make perfect sense. As a parody, it’s almost too spot-on. The only overt hint that it’s “taking the piss,” so to speak, is the very end where the typical talking head gives an absurd list of musicians’ names who attended the Sex Pistols Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall gig.

The boisterous nostalgia merchant in this clip is Nigel Buxton, a.k.a. BaaadDad, father of Adam Buxton from the BBC Channel 4 comedy series The Adam and Joe Show. Sadly, Mr. Buxton passed away last November.

Ladies and Gentlemen: here we have EVERY clichéd punk documentary ever made in one two minute video.

“You can do this. You don’t have to take this bullshit anymore.”

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Converse unveils its ‘Sex Pistols’ line of Chuck Taylors
02:12 pm



Converse has unveiled a new line of Chuck Taylor sneakers with Sex Pistols iconography on them. There are four pairs of Chuck Taylor hightops available and two pairs of Chuck Taylor low tops. The sneakers are priced from $65 to $80. There is also a related line of shirts ($35 each) and a bomber jacket ($140).

The new products are available for purchase on the Converse website.

At this stage in history, it’s hard to get too outraged over yet another corporate appropriation of the original punk rock movement, but we thought you ought to know anyway. Back to your regular programming.

Chuck Taylor All Star Sex Pistols “Parchment” $70

Chuck Taylor All Star Sex Pistols “Thunder” $75

Chuck Taylor All Star Sex Pistols “White” $75
Much more Sex Pistols products from Converse after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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