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

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
John Lydon reveals Mick Jagger ‘secretly’ paid Sid Vicious’ legal fees
11.08.2013
10:15 am

Topics:
Crime
Punk

Tags:
Mick Jagger
Sid Vicious
John Lydon

jaggersid.jpg
 
John Lydon may have said The Rolling Stones looked “silly” performing at Glastonbury earlier this year, but the former Sex Pistol and PiL frontman has only praise for Mick Jagger.

In an interview with the Daily Record, Lydon has revealed that Jagger ‘secretly’ paid Sid Vicious’ legal fees, after the Pistol’s bass player had been charged with the murder of girlfriend Nancy Spungen. As Lydon told journalist John Dingwall of the Record:

“Nancy Spungen was a hideous, awful person who killed herself because of the lifestyle and led to the destruction and subsequent death of Sid and the whole fiasco. I tried to help Sid through all of that and feel a certain responsibility because I brought him into the Pistols thinking he could handle the pressure. He couldn’t. The reason people take heroin is because they can’t handle pressure. Poor old Sid.

“Her death is all entangled in mystery. It’s no real mystery, though. If you are going to get yourself involved in drugs and narcotics in that way accidents are going to happen. Sid was a lost case. He was wrapped firmly in Malcolm’s shenanigans. It became ludicrous trying to talk to him through the drug haze because all you would hear was, ‘I’m the real star around here’. Great. Carry on. We all know how that’s going to end. Unfortunately, that is where it ended. I miss him very much. He was a great friend but when you are messing with heroin you’re not a human being. You change and you lose respect for yourself and everybody else.

“The only good news is that I heard Mick Jagger got in there and brought lawyers into it on Sid’s behalf because I don’t think Malcolm lifted a finger. He just didn’t know what to do. For that, I have a good liking of Mick Jagger. There was activity behind the scenes from Mick Jagger so I applaud him. He never used it to advance himself publicity-wise.”

Read the whole interview here.

Below, Sid Vicious near last TV appearance on Efrom Allen’s Underground NY Manhattan Cable show from September 18th, 1978. Vicious appeared alongside Nancy Spungen, Stiv Bators and Cynthia Ross (of The B Girls). Spungen was dead less than a month later.
 

 
Via the Daily Record

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Just a great photo of Sid Vicious going to see a David Bowie concert in 1973

dissuoiciveiwob
 
He certainly knew how to play-up to the camera. A young Sid Vicious on his way to a David Bowie concert in London, 1973.

Mark Dery’s new Kindle e-book, All the Young Dudes: Why Glam Rock Matters, the first to published as part of Boing Boing’s new digital imprint, tells his story of “growing up Bowie” in San Diego.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

‘Bury me with my boots on’: Sid Vicious’s Death Wish

H/T Louder Than War, via Mannequinfemme

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
The Sex Pistols: Vintage interview with Steve Jones and Paul Cook, 1977

koocluapsenojevets.jpg
 
A year on from the release of The Sex Pistols first single “Anarchy in the U.K.” and their infamous appearance on the Today show, Steve Jones and Paul Cook gave their first interview to Australian television.

Lest we forget, it was Jones, more than Johnny Rotten or Sid Vicious, who launched the Pistols into the headlines with his stream of abuse at TV presenter Bill Grundy, and certainly without Cook’s disciplined drums and Jones’ era-defining guitar (together with Glen Matlock‘s bass) and their song-writing talents Never Mind the Bollocks would have been a much lesser album.

In this interview from 1977, Jones and Cook talk about the Pistols’ back history, records, and their appearance on the Today show:

Jones: If someone wants an argument, you give them an argument back, don’t ya? He started it. He said, “Go on, you got another 5 seconds.”

Cook: What did you say, Steve?

Jones: I fucking gave him a load of abuse. He asked for, didn’t he? It was pretty funny. It’s like, you know, they put all that on the front-fucking-page for all that. Just for swearing on television. Stupid.

Cook: We forgot about the whole thing, a couple of hours after, we didn’t expect nothing to happen from it.

After The Pistols split, Jones and Cook formed The Professionals, and released the rather neglected album I Didn’t See It Coming.

Check more info at Kick Down The Doors: The Cook ‘n’ Jones site.
 

 
Bonus: Full Version sadly not available in US, after the jump…
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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


 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘Bury me with my boots on’: Sid Vicious’s death wish
01.23.2013
02:55 pm

Topics:
Punk
R.I.P.

Tags:
Sid Vicious

A few days before he fatally overdosed on some particularly strong heroin, Sid Vicious wrote what appears to be a suicide note. Sid’s mother, Anne Beverley, found it in the pocket of his jeans after his death. The note makes one wonder whether or not Vicious knew exactly what he was doing when he injected that smack into his arm.

We had a death pact. Please bury me next to my baby. Bury me in my black leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots.

 

Written by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Sid & Nancy on NY cable access less than a month before her death
12.31.2012
08:18 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Sid Vicious
Nancy Spungen


 
Somewhat lurid New York cable access interview with a booger-flicking Sid Vicious and a quite talkative Nancy Spungen from 1978. Also on hand are Dead Boy Stiv Bators and his then-girlfriend, Cynthia Ross, of the all-female Canadian punk group, B Girls.

I never got the whole Sid Vicious “icon” thing. I always look askance at a kid wearing a Sid Vicious tee-shirt, especially ones where Sid is pictured sporting a tee-shirt with a swastika. What a role model. He’s one step above G.G. Allin, if you ask me. An icon of stupidity, heroin addiction and… murder?

Nancy’s assertion that Sid is a feminist around the 10.40 mark is kind of ironic, all things considered, as she was dead less than a month later. When a female caller flirts with Sid, she gets her dukes up: “You better keep your fucking hands off him, dearie, or I’ll kill you!”

And what’s with her fake English accent? Christ, look at these two. Who would want them around?

The Day Punk Died (New York)

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Who Killed Nancy?’ : New Documentary Claims Sid Vicious Did Not kill Nancy Spungen
Sid Vicious’ handwritten list of why Nancy Spungen is so great
‘I shall die, and my friend will die soon’: Sid Vicious interview with Judy Vermorel from 1977
 

 
Via Open Culture/Thank you, Joseph Matheny!

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Who Killed Bill?: The Sex Pistols for Dummies

the_sex_pistols_filth_fury
 
Who Killed Bill? is a Sex Pistols for Dummies, bargain-bin video, consisting of a mixed collection of original archive news stories (mainly culled from London Weekend Television) and documentary footage, which tells the rise, demise, and return of the legendary band. It’s worth watching for the first fifty minutes or so, before the film veers off into a section on Vivienne Westwood’s fashion, then returning for the Filthy Lucre tour of 1996, and then beyond.

As it’s all original TV archive, there are some classic moments, including the early Janet Street-Porter interviews with the Pistols, and then with Lydon after his spilt, as well as coverage of the public’s fury for the band, and one disgruntled councillor who riffs off a long list of adjectives to describe his distaste for Punk Rock, before finishing with:

“Most of these groups would be improved by sudden death.”

There is also sections on Sid and Nancy the tragic couple and Alex Cox’s film. What’s quite startling is how The Pistols all look so young, and Lydon comes across as a shy, tense, nervous individual who seems ill at ease with his celebrity, describing its affects:

“It ain’t the person who changes, it’s people’s attitude towards them.”

Sadly, no classic tracks, just bogus lift muzak interpretations of a rhythmic Punk guitar. And the Bill of the title is, of course, Bill Grundy, he of the infamous launch-pad, “Filth and Fury” interview.
 

 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘I shall die, and my friend will die soon’: Sid Vicious interview with Judy Vermorel from 1977

image
 
A revealing interview with Sid Vicious conducted by Judy Vermorel in August, 1977. In it Vicious rails against “grown-ups” and “grown-up attitudes”, TV host Hughie Green, insincerity, and why “the general public are scum” (his opinion about “99% of the shit” out on the street).

Vicious sounds incredibly young, perhaps because he was, and claims he “doesn’t like anything particularly” and that, “Nobody has to do anything”. There is some interesting thoughts on Russ Meyer’s plans for a Sex Pistols’  movie, which Sid dismisses as a “cheap attempt to get money.”

At the end, he rails against Malcolm McLaren, slightly incredulous to the information that Johnny Rotten and Paul Cook thought McLaren was the fifth member of the Pistols:

The band has never been dependent on Malcolm, that fucking toss-bag. I hate him..I’d smash his face in…I depend on him for exactly nothing. Do you know, all I ever got out of him was, I think, £15 in all the time I’ve known the fucking bastard. And a T-shirt, he gave me a free T-shirt, once, years ago. Once he gave me a fiver, and I stole a tenner off him, a little while ago, and that’s all. I hate him.

..But he’s all right. I couldn’t think of anyone else I could tolerate.

This is the interview where Vicious famously made an eerie prediction:

“I shall die when I am round-about twenty-four, I expect, if not sooner. And why my friend will die soon.”

His friend was “that girl” Nancy Spungen, who can be heard in the background of this interview.
 

 
Elsewhere on DM

Sid Vicious’ handwritten list of why Nancy Spungen is so great


 
Sid Vicious does it his way, after the jump…
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Sid Vicious’ handwritten list of why Nancy Spungen is so great
02.08.2011
10:25 am

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
Sex Pistols
Sid Vicious
Nancy Spungen

image
 
(via Letters of Note )

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
‘Who Killed Nancy?’ : New Documentary Claims Sid Vicious Did Not kill Nancy Spungen

image
 

 
Who Killed Nancy opens today In New York City. The film makes a strong case that Sid Vicious did not kill Nancy Spungen. Read about it at the Daily Mail.

Written by Marc Campbell | Discussion