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‘Shellac Pistols’: Shellac and David Yow do the Sex Pistols, 1998

Shellac / Sex Pistols
 
On Halloween night of 1998, Shellac and David Yow of Scratch Acid/Jesus Lizard fame indulged their silly side, pretending to be The Sex Pistols for a set of scorching music. The location was Lounge Ax, the legendary venue on 2438 North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago that had been pummeling audiences with awesome music since 1987. (It closed in 2000; you might remember it as the venue in High Fidelity where John Cusack first meets Lisa Bonet.)

The first performers were Ms. Fits, an all-female Misfits cover band. During their set, Shellac’s Steve Albini stood right in the middle of the audience “to loudly support” the openers, who were facing “a tough crowd.” The middler, Sixto, featured members from Seam and Dis—they’re still active, at least judging by their bandcamp page.

When the crew put up three microphones for the final set, a rumor briefly flared up that this was going to be a Big Black reunion. What the audience got was a lot more special than that: Shellac with David Yow as a spot-on Johnny Rotten doing most of the songs off of Never Mind the Bollocks. Bob Weston was Sid Vicious, Todd Trainer was Paul Cook on drums, and Albini was Steve Jones.
 
David Yow as Johnny Rotten
 
An attendee of the show submitted the following account:
 

David Yow stalked onto the stage, in full 1970’s-era Johnny Rotten attire to the letter. Bleached and spiked hair, psychotically glaring at the audience, the whole nine yards. He’d done his homework on this one. He was followed by the three Shellacs, with Steve Albini doing his best Steve Jones in vinyl pants (!) and a red doo-rag on his head. Bob Weston *was* Sid Vicious, in spiked black hair, mesh shirt (with scratches and scars visible underneath), glassy-eyed, and an impressively bloody IV bandage on his arm. Only Todd Trainer seemed to buck the whole Pistols image. I mean, he could have found one of those big sweaters or something. Paul Cook had style too.

Anyway, they ripped into “Holidays in the Sun”, and that set the tone for the evening. Yow had Rotten’s nasal Brit accent down pat, even in song. He pulled the whole thing off so well, I tell ya. Weston kept coughing up “blood” and running into things. Steve’s guitar sounded kind of sloppy, but I don’t think Jones could have done it any better. Between songs the band taunted the audience in mock cockney accents, Steve asking if there were “any PAA-ties about”. The audience responded by throwing chunks of a dismembered jack-o-lantern at the band.

The setlist was confined to material from Never Mind the Bollocks, including “Bodies”, “Submission”, “Anarchy in the U.K.”, and closing with “God Save the Queen”. Yow seemed to remember the words to them better than he remembers the words to Jesus Lizard songs.

Yow ended the evening by asking, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” and the band walked offstage, barely an hour after they started. For a long time, nobody left. The house lights came up and nobody left. Todd Trainer started taking his drum set apart and people booed. It finally registered that that was the evening, that they weren’t going to get anymore, and they weren’t getting any Shellac songs.

 
As attendee Andy Larson wrote ten years later to the day, “steve albini said something like ‘does anyone know where there’s a party about?’ in a british accent—and i believe only that. walking up lincoln ave. after the show i passed bob weston (sid vicious) and said ‘hey—great show’ and he said “right” in a british accent.”

There’s no video of the show, and scarcely any pictures—at least on the Internet. The b/w shot above is the only one I could find. There is, however, fairly good audio, which you can download here in flac format.
 

Setlist:
1. Holidays In The Sun
2. Bodies
3. Pretty Vacant
4. Seventeen
5. Sub-mission
6. New York
7. Anarchy In The U.K.
8. God Save The Queen

 
The poster for the show was done by Illinois gig poster legend Jay Ryan of The Bird Machine. The poster run had a limited run of only 100 pressings, which combined with the specialness of the gig makes this an extremely hard-to-get item.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Selling the Sex Pistols to Texas
03.24.2014
05:57 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Sex Pistols
Sid Vicious

1disxesynnhojslotsip.jpg
 
When the Sex Pistols played Dallas in 1978, Sid Vicious told journalist, John Blake that he was “frightened about playing” the city.

“They killed Kennedy there and everybody had warned us that the people are crazy.

“I think there’s a real danger that this is the town where I am going to be blown away.”

Vicious knew how to give good copy, but his “narcissistic attitude” was beginning to piss-off some of his fellow band members. They wanted him to play the songs, rather than plying the star.

As this was the Pistols first tour of America, their US record label, Warner Brothers, was keen to ensure the band’s success—which meant getting as much merchandise out as possible.

In December 1977, Ted Cohen of Artist Development at Warners wrote the following letter putting forward his sales pitch for the Pistols to WEA reps in Texas.
 
slotsipxesrettel111.jpg
 

30 December 1977

Bob Finer &
Paul Sheffield
WEA
1909 Herford Dr.
Irving, TX 75062

Dear Bob & Paul,

On January 10, Warner Bros. recording artists, The Sex Pistols, will be appearing at the Longhorn Ballroom in Dallas. This will be the Pistols first appearance in your area. It is imperative that this appearance be supported to the fullest extent possible, as we are currently attempting to firmly establish Punk/New Wave music as a viable and saleable commodity.

The Sex Pistols are the “ground breakers” of a new musical “turf”. In England they have a following that has manifested itself in both a musical and social lifestyle. They are controversial, they are raw, and they illicit a response from audiences not seen since the early days of the Rolling Stones.

Enough hype; the Pistols can and will be a major act for Warner Bros., but not without your cooperation and support. There are various merchandising aids which will be sent to you under separate cover. Please take full advantage of these materials by obtaining high visibility, window and in-store display space.

I will be in contact with you very soon to discuss marketing and promotional ideas concerning this appearance. Thanks in advance for your help and cooperation.

Regards,

Ted Cohen
Artist Development

TC/deb

cc: Lewis, Nagel, Scott, Regehr, Dennis Young, Gerrity, Thyret, NY Publicity, Merlis, Johnston.

How much promotion the Pistols actually required is difficult to gauge as their reputation preceded them in a big way. Just read the copy for this ad for their Longhorn appearance that aired on Dallas Radio in January 1978:

“They said no one could be more bizarre than Alice Cooper, or more destructive than Kiss…They have not seen the Sex Pistols.

“Tuesday night, Stone City Attractions presents live, the Sex Pistols.

“Banned in their own home country….England’s Sex Pistols, denied admittance to the United States…the Sex Pistols bring the new wave to the Metroplex this Tuesday night, in the Longhorn Ballroom.

“They said it couldn’t happen, but it happens Tuesday night: the Sex Pistols, live.”

As was becoming apparent, a Sex Pistols concert was no longer about the music, but the chaos that ensued. London’s Evening Standard reported the Pistols appearance as “Girl fan punches Vicious on nose”:

Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious were both punched in the face by girl fans as the Sex Pistols performed today deep in the heart of Texas.

Blood poured from Vicious’s face as he was hit on the nose.

Instead of stopping the show the bass player rubbed blood over his face and chest so that he looked like a demented cannibal.

The girl who hit him was 20-year-old Los Angeles student, Lamar St. John.

She said: “I drove thousands of miles to see this show with other friends from L.A. I know Sid likes to get a positive reaction from an audience so I gave him one.

“I hit him as hard as I could in the face. I wanted to make his nose bleed.”

After the attack Vicious spat blood in the faces of Lamar and her friends, but they merely spat back.

According to the paper, the audience also gave Vicious a “positive” reaction, when he shouted:

“You lot are all faggots.”

Or perhaps it was:

All cowboys are queer!”

The audience threw “tomatoes, beer cans, bottles, lighted cigarettes and other rubbish at the band.” Vicious had to be dragged away, as he reportedly tried to attack people in the audience.

Although he contributed next to nothing musically, Sid knew he was stealing Johnny Rotten’s limelight, which was more important to him at that point.

Outside a SWAT were prepped and ready to quash any riotous behavior.

After a blistering version of “Anarchy in the U.S.A.,” the band left the stage, and, surprisingly, the crowd yelled for more.

As the band reappeared for an encore, Sid showed the audience an obscene gesture and Steve yelled, “You must be mad to want more of us!”

In the middle of “No Fun,” Steve confronted a heckler by throwing a couple punches and jabbing him with the headstock of his guitar.

The next morning, the Dallas newspaper read: “Most of the people last night came to see the people who came to see the Sex Pistols.”

And here’s what happened the night The Sex Pistols played the Longhorn Ballroom on Tuesday, January 10, 1978.
 

 
H/T If Charlie Parker was a gunslinger

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Videos from the Glen Matlock/Sylvain Sylvain tour are popping up, and now I’m sad that I skipped it


 
Sex Pistol Glen Matlock and New York Doll Sylvain Sylvain have been on an acoustic tour of the USA together this month. While the idea of an acoustic tour by two punk pioneers, famous for much more cacophonous music than acoustic guitars are generally associated with, might prompt a smirk or two in some circles, they’ve done this together before, and reviews have generally been quite enthusiastic, with much praise for the casual intimacy of the shows, and for Sylvain and Matlock’s easy humor and engaging storytelling. It would seem that with the tour being such a hit, and given the ease of recording such a stripped-down setup, a live album would be in the offing, but Matlock kiboshed the idea in a recent piece in the Michigan entertainment magazine Revue:

When asked whether or not they would be recording any of the shows for sale later, Matlock was more or less pretty sure that wouldn’t be happening.

“We’re just doing it for fun,” Matlock said. “If you want to hear it, you’ve got to come to the show.”

“Well, CRAP,” said this writer, having totally missed the tour’s stop in his city. But the fan videos being posted online tend to shore up the positive consensus. Check out Sylvain at Detroit’s Magic Bag, performing “Teenage News,” a never-recorded Dolls track that he made the lead-off song on his first solo album, posted by rawdetroit:
 

 
Plenty more after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
John Lydon’s rallying call to youth: ‘Learn how to beat this system intelligently’
02.24.2014
09:48 am

Topics:
Punk
Television

Tags:
Sex Pistols
John Lydon
Public Image Ltd.

nodylnhojlip.jpg
 
It started with a look.

John Lydon was wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt that he had modified to read “I Hate Pink Floyd.” It was this piece of anti-fashion that brought him to the attention of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, owners of the King’s Road boutique SEX.  Malcolm and Vivienne were conjuring up plans for a new band that would fuse fashion and music, and Lydon’s tee-shirt suggested the right kind of attitude the pair were looking for. Lydon was asked to audition for the band, so he mimed to an Alice Cooper number and won the role of lead singer with The Sex Pistols. He looked the part, you might say.

It may have started with a look, but for John it was never about the image, as he later explained to Melody Maker in 1978:

”The rest of the band and Malcolm never bothered to find out if I could sing, they just took me as an image. It was as basic as that, they really were as dull as that.

“After a year of it they were going ‘Why don’t you have your hair this color this year?’ And I was going ‘Oh God, a brick wall, I’m fighting a brick wall!’”

We all know The Sex Pistols, they were “a damned good band,” as Lydon recalls in this interview from That Was Then This Is Now in 1988, ten year’s after the band’s demise.

“And to be quite frank, how right it was we ended when we did, because it would have been really futile to have continued with it. We all knew that…

“When you feel you’re running out of ideas you must stop, and go onto something else, which is precisely what all of us did.

Lydon went on to form Public Image Limited with Keith Levene (guitar), Jah Wobble (bass), and Jim Walker (drums). PiL was “different,” and “experimental without being arty-farty about it.”

Their first release “Public Image,” partly written while Lydon was in the Sex Pistols, dealt with Lydon’s frustration at being only seen for the clothes that he wore. Lydon has always been aware that he is an individual, and as can be seen from his interview on That Was Then This Is Now—love him or loathe him—he has always been consistent in being true to himself, and saying whatever he thinks.

Such honesty makes Lydon good for quotable sound bytes, which fits well with the format of That Was Then This Is Now, where information was served up like the ingredients of a recipe.

For example, he tells us how he moved to America because of police harassment. His home was raided on four separate occasions, his belongings damaged or destroyed, his pet cat killed by overzealous police dogs.

While next, Lydon tells us how he considers himself to be an Englishman, and resents paying his hard-earned cash in taxes to pay for Fergie’s (Princess Sarah Ferguson) frumpy tents.

However, no matter how funny, amusing, insightful and inspiring the answers, having them all cut together, one-after-another, reveals the problem with That Was Then This Is Now: information is arbitrarily doled out as sound bytes, signposted by graphic captions, with no connective structure other than the answers given by the interviewee. It’s a nice research tool, and certainly one for future biographers and archivists, but the form lacks any sense of engagement between the audience and Lydon, as there is no possibility of knowing how rigorously he was questioned about his life or his beliefs.

Of course, there are plenty of highlights, including Lydon’s rallying call to the teenage viewer about intelligence:

“All kids should learn this in school—this is the weapon the Tories use against you.

“They want to keep you stupid. They want to keep you down.

“If you do not learn how to beat this system intelligently, you never will.

That is the only lesson really in life to learn. Period.”

Recorded in 1988, That Was Then This Is Now presented the great, the good and the oh-no of Punk, New Wave and the New Romantics, discussing their musical careers in entertainment.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Sex Pistols, Clash and Motörhead covered Celtic folk style by Vyvyan from ‘The Young Ones’


 
Dangerous Minds has checked in on English actor/comedian/musician Adrian Edmondson before, to talk about The Idiot Bastard Band, his group with Bonzo Dog/Monty Python habitué Neil Innes, and his beloved BBC comedy The Young Ones, on which he played the insane and violent postcard-punker archetype Vyvyan Basterd. But we’ve only given passing mention to his fine band The Bad Shepherds, and that’s just absurd. The band’s specialty is Celtic folk covers of classic punk, though songs like Elvis Costello’s “Shipbuilding” and Kraftwerk’s “The Model” have found their way into the repertoire. They’ve released three albums worth of such interpretations, 2009’s Yan, Tyan, Tethera, Methera!, 2010’s By Hook Or By Crook and last year’s Mud, Blood & Beer.
 

 
Given Edmondson’s history in comedy, you could be forgiven for assuming this was a joke band, an inversion of the tired old novelty punk covers trip. But before you leap to conclude that, hear Edmondson out in these excerpts from an excellent recent interview with Outline Online

The whole mechanic of taking on cover songs is a huge mantle for you to take on; has there ever been a song that’s been too difficult, that’s wriggled away from you, that can’t be tamed?

Oh, hundreds of ‘em. Loads of ‘em. Yeah, we try loads of stuff and what we do probably represents about a quarter of what we try to do. It’s not that we don’t like the ones that don’t work, it’s just we haven’t found a way of doing it. We generally take the songs completely to pieces and then put them back together again without thinking about the original and try and find instrumentation for them. Primarily they fall down on lyrics because I’m a middle-aged man and they’ve got to suit my age, and most folk and most punk songs surprisingly do because they’re surprisingly adult in content, most of the punk canon, y’know. They were written by people who were really thinking; they’re not just solipsistic, selfish kind of ‘ooh, I’m in love, I’m not in love’ songs. They’re about social commentary and social protest and things like that and it’s very exciting. But some songs, for example, we’ve tried a few songs by The Damned and none of them worked because they’re all – and I don’t mean this to deride The Damned but they’re all just a bit childish when you take them to bits and you read the lyrics without thinking about what the music’s about. It just doesn’t work. It doesn’t go anywhere. We tried moving up the years as well thinking there must be a load of stuff in the 80s with Tears for Fears and OMD and stuff like that, so we scoured through those and tried to work on that and again, that kinda falls short, lyrically. It’s too childish. I mean, they’re brilliant, original things but they don’t fit the ethos of our band; they don’t become folk songs.

What is it about those genres that seem to lend themselves so well?


Because they’re forgotten songs and people all imagine that that sort of era is full of jumping up and down, shouting and spitting and it didn’t mean anything apart from anger in the performance. They’re disastrously wrong; they’re some of the most complex songs. The idea that all punk songs are three-chord wonders is completely erroneous. There are vastly complicated chord sequences and tuning in some of the songs we play.

 

The Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy In The U.K.”
 

The Clash’s “London Calling”

After the jump, Motörhead’s “Ace Of Spades” and more…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The Incredible Mister Biggs: Train Robber, Sex Pistol, Ronnie Biggs dead at 84

ronnie biggs
 
By the time of the U.K.‘s Great Train Robbery in 1963, train robbing had already passed more or less into quaintness. But quaintness did nothing to deter 15 men from stopping a train in Buckinghamshire and hauling in what would be equivalent to over $7 million USD today. Several of the robbers were sentenced to a rather harsh 30 years in prison, including Ronnie Biggs, who, though not the caper’s ringleader, achieved the gang’s greatest notoriety by escaping from prison less than a year and a half into his sentence, fleeing to France for appearance-altering plastic surgery, and eventually living openly as a fugitive in Brazil, who would not extradite him to the U.K.

Then, in 1978, at age 49, he became a punk singer.
 
biggs 7
 
Julien Temple’s preposterous and incoherent Sex Pistols film The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle brought that band—by then halved to just drummer Paul Cook and guitarist Steve Jones—to Rio de Janeiro, where they met up with Biggs and with him recorded “No One Is Innocent” and “Belsen Was A Gas.” A ridiculous but very, very fun scene in the film shows the band, with Biggs as their new singer, performing “Innocent” with bass player/Nazi fugitive Martin Bormann—actually an actor. One conceit of the film had it that rather than dying in 1945, Bormann escaped to Brazil. And joined The Sex Pistols. Did I mention preposterous?
 

 
Biggs was no newbie to music, though—he’d already participated in the creation of a jazz album in 1974! The collaboration with Bruce Henry was titled Mailbag Blues, and the album finally saw release in 2004. Per Bruce Henry via whatmusic.com:

Mailbag Blues was written over a couple months’ period ... with Ronnie at our side telling us his story and us breaking it down into events that we most related to musically. The songs are structured as a soundtrack, each one telling us part of a story and leading on to the next. When we went into the studio to record, we had the whole album pretty well defined, but we left a lot of room for individual improvisation, as was the style in 1974.

The recording took place in a very small room, on a four track Ampex Tape Recorder. Everybody played together, and we only used playback on one or two tracks for additional percussion. We were so young and eager back then, and we took ourselves so seriously, that we wouldn’t let Ronnie sing, which is too bad because he had a terrible voice but the Sex Pistols did all right with it didn’t they?

 
mailbag blues
 

“London ‘63” from Mailbag Blues

Later, in 1991, German pin-up punks Die Toten Hosen tapped Biggs to sing “Carnival In Rio (Punk Was),” the lone original song on their covers/tribute album Learning English - Lesson One. For the b-side of the song’s single, he reprised his turn on “No One Is Innocent” and also covered The Equals’ classic “Police On My Back.”
 

 

Die Toten Hosen with Ronnie Biggs, “Police On My Back”

After years of ill health, including multiple strokes, Biggs surrendered to British authorities in 2001. He was promptly arrested, and confined to complete his original sentence. He was released, due to further deteriorating health, in 2009, and was able to contribute to the book The Great Train Robbery 50th Anniversary:1963-2013. His years of illness finally claimed his life today.

Rest in peace, Mister Biggs. Nobody can say you didn’t live an amazingly colorful life.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Morrissey hates The Sex Pistols
07.02.2013
08:39 am

Topics:
History
Punk

Tags:
Morrissey
Sex Pistols


 
It has been said that everyone who bought a copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico went on to start a band. The same has been said about the attendees of the legendary Sex Pistols gig at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall on June 4, 1976, which included future members of Joy Division/New Order, The Fall, A Certain Ratio, Simply Red, Buzzcocks/Magazine, Tony Wilson and producer Martin Hannett.

One punter who was not impressed, a then 17-year-old Steve Morrissey, who let his feelings be known in a letter to the editor of the NME. What an insufferable, supercilious brat he must’ve been! Turning his nose up at The Sex Pistols???

There’s an entire book about this concert and the seismic cultural repercussions it caused in it its wake, I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed The World by David Nolan and a TV doc with eyewitness accounts of this infamous gig:
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Ramones are Rubbish’: Morrissey’s thoughts on the Ramones, 1976

Morrissey’s snide record reviews: Moz dumps on Cyndi Lauper, The Psychedelic Furs and XTC, 1984

Via Boing Boing /Letters of Note

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
John Lydon’s handwritten rant to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1996
05.08.2013
07:25 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Sex Pistols
John Lydon


 
John Lydon’s handwritten response to the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame regarding the induction of the Sex Pistols in 1996:

Next to the SEX-PISTOLS rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain. Your museum. Urine in wine. Were not coming. Were not your monkey and so what? Fame at $25,000 if we paid for a table, or $15000 to squeak up in the gallery, goes to a non-profit organisation selling us a load of old famous. Congradulations. If you voted for us, hope you noted your reasons. Your anonymous as judges, but your still music industry people. Were not coming. Your not paying attention. Outside the shit-stem is a real SEX PISTOL

Via The World’s Best Ever and Letters of Note

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The shop-keeper who unleashed a revolution: Documentary on Punk’s Artful Dodger Malcolm McLaren

neralcmmloclamknup.jpg
 
Malcolm McLaren unleashed the greatest revolution of the last quarter of the 20th century. This was in part because McLaren was really a shop-keeper, a haberdasher, a boutique owner who knew his market and, most importantly, knew how to sell product to the masses.

Unfortunately, when it came to music, the talent was more than just product, and McLaren regularly mis-used and manipulated the musical talent (New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, Adam and The Ants/Bow-Wow-Wow) for his own personal gain. It was the behavior of a man who couldn’t and didn’t trust anyone—perhaps because (as he claimed) he had been abandoned by his mother—an act of betrayal he never forgave. There is the story of how years later, McLaren was have said to have traveled on a London Underground train, only to find his mother in the same carriage. The pair sat opposite each other, with neither acknowledging the other’s presence, and each alighting at their separate stops.

McLaren was bewitching, relentless and always on the make. But for all his scams and incredible machinations, little is really known about the man himself. He re-wrote his biography so many times it is almost impossible to know what is the truth. He also carefully edited out those who had helped his success, and fabricated wonderful, picaresque tales of misadventure—-for example, the time he failed to have Nancy Spungen kidnapped, in a bid to remove her insidious influence over Sid Vicious.

In essence, Malcolm’s greatest talent was his own self-promotion—his unique role as a cultural PR man, who changed history. If there is anything to be learned from his particular type of genius, it is to make headlines out of even the worst situation. On his deathbed, Mclaren’s last words were said to have been: “Free Leonard Peltier.” As he had done in his life, McLaren had once again grabbed hold of someone else’s notoriety.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Superb documentary on Malcolm McLaren from 1984


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Rock Snob Comedy: The Amish Sex Pistols!
04.03.2013
07:53 am

Topics:
Television

Tags:
Sex Pistols
Kevin Eldon


 
Kevin Eldon has one of the most familiar faces on British television today, working on virtually ALL of the A-list comedy programs of the past decade and beyond (I’m Alan Partridge, Jam, Black Books, Spaced, Attention Scum, Brass Eye, Big Train, Nighty Night, Smack the Pony, Green Wing, Look Around You, Nathan Barley, Saxondale, The IT Crowd), but he’s never had his own show until now, titled It’s Kevin, and it’s really fucking good.

Also featuring Matt Berry and Peter Serafinowicz, never mind the modern tecnology, here’s the Amish Sex Pistols:
 

 
The infamous clip of the Sex Pistols swearing at TV host Bill Grundy on the Today program in 1976, below, so you can see how note for note perfect this inspired sketch truly is. Bravo!
 

 
Thank you kindly Mr. Steven Daly of New York City!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Los Punkers: Hilariously bad Spanish Sex Pistols cover versions, 1978
02.15.2013
12:57 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Punk

Tags:
Sex Pistols


 
Rather than actually pay Virgin a licensing fee, el cheapo Spanish record label, Dial Discos hired “Los Punk Rockers” (rumored to be Spanish prog-rock band Asfalto) to cover the entirety of Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. The point was to basically confuse music fans in post-Franco Spain into thinking that this was the real thing.

The Shit-Fi blog nominated Los Exitos de Sex Pistols for “the most shit-fi album of all time,” adding that it “simply does not get any stupider, stranger, more poorly played, funnier, or nigh-psychotic (and possibly psychedelic) than this record”

Los Exitos de Sex Pistols was obviously recorded in a flash, before the next trend could take hold. The musicians more-or-less learned the songs from Never Mind the Bollocks, but the singer must not have spoken much English, because his approximations of Johnny Rotten are complete nonsense. (Here are “Holidays in the Sun” and “Pretty Vacant”) Even when singing the song title, as in the chorus of “Seventeen,” he seems to be making words up: “I’m a lazy seven.”

He does have the snottiness down pat, though. The vocals are clearly the best part of the record, simply because they’re so hilariously terrible. The guitar sound is thin and fuzzy, quite unlike the multi-tracked wall of guitars on NMTB—actually, it’s a lot closer to what one associates today with DIY punk of the late 70s than the Pistols’ sound. Few punk sleeves are as iconic as that of NMTB, but this album’s sleeve does fit the music well. It’s dumb. The woman on the sleeve appears to be some random person a photographer pulled off the street and dressed in moderately “punk” duds.

Enjoy!
 

 
Via Vampire Blues and h/t WFMU

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Johnny Rotten plays his own records on Capital Radio, 1977

image
 
Recorded at a moment in time when the young Mr. Rotten was routinely getting his head kicked in by skinheads and hassled by the police, this is probably my single favorite bit of punk rock audio ephemera (actually, it’s a tie with the infamous Slits college radio interview, but that’s another blog post…).

What am I talking about? A guest appearance by Johnny Rotten on the Capital Radio program of deep-voiced DJ Tommy Vance. Rotten/Lydon was invited to play records from his own collection and talk about them. He comes across as whip-smart, honest and refreshingly free from much—if any—social programming and religious brainwashing. He discusses the Sex Pistols, Malcolm McClaren (he calls him the fifth member of the band), being educated in a Catholic school he despised and his passionate love of music. There’s no put-on here or any hint of the deliberate obnoxiousness of later years.

Where did you go to school?

[sighs] This poxy Roman Catholic thing. All they done was teach me religion. Didn’t give a damn about your education though. That’s not important is it? Just as long as you go out being a priest.

Which you haven’t become.

Well no. That kind of forcing ideas on you like when you don’t want to know is bound to get the opposite reaction. They don’t let you work it out for yourselves. They tell you you should like it. And that’s why I hate schools. You’re not given a choice. It’s not free.

It’s an inevitable question, and a corny question, but can you think of any better system of educating people?

No I can’t [laugh], I just know that one’s not right. I wouldn’t dare, it’s out of my depth, I have nothing to do with that side of things. I haven’t been to university and studied all the right attitudes, so I don’t know. No I haven’t.

[fades in Doctor Alimantado - ‘Born For A Purpose ‘]

This is it, ‘Born For A Purpose’, right? Now this record, just after I got my brains kicked out, I went home and I played it and there’s a verse which goes, ‘If you have no reason for living, don’t determine my life’. Because the same thing happened to him. He got run over because he was a dread. Very true.

The music he plays is a revelation.  Can, some rare soul, Tim Buckley, Peter Hammill (he accuses Bowie of copping the Van Der Graaf Generator front man’s moves), Captain Beefheart (he plays “The Blimp”!), Nico, John Cale and of course, lots of reggae. When Rotten plays the dub b-side by Culture (the track with the lopping bass, barking dogs, crying babies and blaring car horns) you can hear the blueprint for the PiL sound that would come along just a few months later.

It must be said that for a 20-year-old he’s got astonishingly good taste in music and for that time period? Please! This really is an incredible thing to listen to. For the musical education alone, it’s great, but listening to the thoughts of this controversial, brilliant young man at the height of powers is a sublime pleasure.

It even contains the radio commercials from the broadcast. This has been making the rounds for years, but this version is clean and in real stereo, the best I’ve ever heard.

A transcript of the interview and a track listing can be found here.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘The Punk Rock Movie’: The Clash, The Pistols, The Banshees and more in Don Letts’ classic film

thepunkrockmovie_donletts
 
Filmmaker and musician, Don Letts was working as a DJ at the Roxy club in London in 1977 when he filmed most of the punk bands that appeared there with his Super 8 camera. Letts captured a glorious moment of musical history and its ensuing social, political and cultural revolution.

Letts decided he was going to make a film with his footage, and had sold his belongings to ensure he had enough film stock to record the bands that appeared night-after-night over a 3 month period. Eventually, he collated all of the footage into The Punk Rock Movie, which contained performances by the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Wayne County & the Electric Chairs, Generation X, Slaughter and the Dogs, The Slits, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Eater, Subway Sect, X-Ray Spex, Alternative TV and Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers. There was also backstage footage of certain bands, and Sid Vicious’ first appearance with the Sex Pistols, at The Screen On The Green cinema, April 3rd, 1977.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Sex Pistols and The Ramones as Hanna-Barbera cartoons
11.28.2011
08:37 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Sex Pistols
Ramones
Hanna-Barbera


 
Artist Dave Perillo says, “This what I thought a Hanna-Barbera cartoon about the Sex Pistols would’ve looked like if they made one in the 70’s…”

Below, Dave’s Hanna-Barbera Ramones illustration titled “Hey Ho…let’s go…”
 

 
(via Boing Boing)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Sex Pistols vs Madonna

image
 
Rather grateful to ace musician Fleabag Jones (aka Woody Mcmilan) for reminding me how well this mash-up between the Sex Pistols and Madonna works.

Called “Ray of Gob” (“Ray of Light” / “Pretty Vacant” / “God Save The Queen”), it was created by Mark Vidier, the Watford based DJ who has produced a whole jukebox of bootleg mash-ups via his Go home Productions.

“Ray of Gob” is rather special as it was the one which “broke the camel’s back” and allowed Mark to give up the day-job in February 2003. Still sounds as good today.
 

 
With thanks to Woody Mcmillan
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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