| The Story NEVER MIND THE FACTS - HERE'S THE SEX PISTOLS BIOGRAPHY|
When Steve Jones and Paul Cook first decided to form a band in 1972 they
could hardly have predicted the effect they were to have on so many on a
world wide scale. Little did they know then that the group which eventually
became known as the Sex Pistols would split after a mass notoriety, and then
reform in 1996.
Originally the band came about when Steve and Paul, along with schoolmate
Warwick Nightingale formed The Strand. Jimmy Mackin and Steve Hayes augmented
the original line-up while instruments and equipment were provided or, more
practically, stolen by Jones.
Jones regularly spent his weekends at the"Let It Rock" shop in the Kings Road
which was run by Malcom McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. Jones badgered McLaren
into finding the group somewhere to rehearse. The location Mclaren found was
Covet Garden Community Centre, and his Saturday lad Glen Matlock joined the
band as bass player.
A major priority, as McLaren saw it, was to find a vocalist. Cook and Jones
had each tried their hand but the desire for new blood led to the departure
of Nightingale. McLaren was becoming acquainted with a regular visitor to his
shop which was now known as "Sex", the green-haired teenager John Lydon.
Lydon auditioned for the band by accompanying Alice Cooper on the shop's
jukebox. As a result of Jones' continual comments about the state of Lydon's
teeth he became Johnny Rotten, McLaren meanwhile borrowed a slogan off one of
his T-shirts and dubbed the band "Sex Pistols". Initially they worked mostly
on 60's covers with the likes of the Small Faces. They also began to write
their own material.
Their first venture was as support to Bazooka Joe (complete with Adam Ant) in
November 1975 at St. Martins College in London's Charing Cross Road. It was
hardly a success however, with the plug promptly pulled after a short set. A
memorable debut but for the wrong reasons ! Other dates were forthcoming
though and the band slowly gained a following, sparked by Simon Barker who
formed the "Bromley Contingent", an ardent group of Pistols followers.
Violence at Dingwalls brought an expulsion from that venue. and because of
their growing reputation they were barred from playing the Mont De Marson
Punk Festival in France.
Following the U.K. tour, which included a performance at Chelmsford Prison,
they played at the 100 club in September 1976 at a Punk Festival, which also
featured a line-up of Siouxsie & The Banshees with future Pistols bassist Sid
Vicious (real name John Simon Ritchie) on drums. On October 8th the Pistols
signed to EMI, recording their debut single "Anarchy In The UK" shortly
afterwards. An event then occurred that anyone who hadn't previously heard of
the band would now be well aware of them. On December 1st the band appeared
on Thames TV's "Today" program as late replacements, only arriving around
five minutes before going on air. They were interviewed live by Bill Grundy,
who proceeded to provoke the band and encourage them to "say something
outrageous". For Steve Jones in particular this was an open invitation and he
happily obliged with a number of expletives stunning (to put it mildly) the
early evening audience. The next day the front pages of the daily newspaper
were covered with pictures of the band, prompting EMI to drop them. Anxious
promoters canceled all but three of the shows booked for December's "Anarchy"
national tour and in February 1977 Glen Matlock left the group. His
replacement was the before mentioned Sid Vicious who first had to learn how
to play bass!
In March 1977 the Pistols signed a new recording deal with A&M Records. As
their first single was to be "God Save The Queen" they signed the contracts
outside Buckingham Palace and were photographed doing so. Just days later
however A&M kicked the band off the label as well, prompting plenty of
McLaren hype about the large pay-offs they were receiving, a point he made
sure was driven in "The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle" film some time later.
In May the Pistols signed their third and final record deal, this time with
Virgin, and "God Save The Queen" was promptly released. Jamie Reid's sleeve
design depicted the Queen's face with a safety pin through her nose in true
punk tradition and it came as no surprise when the single was widely banned.
The Pistols marked Jubilee Day in their own inimitable fashion by staging a
performance on a riverboat on the Thames and were arrested and charged by the
police on their return ashore.
Two more singles followed, "Pretty Vacant" (video shown on "Top of the Pops")
and "Holidays In The Sun", preceding the group's eagerly anticipated album
"Never Mind The Bollocks - Here's The Sex Pistols" in November which went
straight to the top of the charts despite many outlets refusing to stock it.
After a secret tour to avoid bans the Sex Pistols' final UK performance took
place at Ivanhoes in Huddersfield on Christmas Day 1977 before they took off
for the ill-fated eight show American tour in January 1978. Enough was enough
for Rotten by the end and on the final date at the Winterland Ballroom in San
Francisco he snarled "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?", a now
infamous remark which sparked his departure from the band the next day.Days
later, Cook and Jones travelled to Rio with McLaren to meet and record with
Ronnie Biggs, the Great Train Robber. Rotten would go on to form Public Image
Sid Vicious recorded a version of "My Way" and performed his farewell UK gig
at Camden's Electric Ballroom under the guise of The Vicious White Kids, with
ex-Pistol Glen Matlock on bass. In October 1978 Sid's girlfriend Nancy
Spungen was found dead in the couple's New York hotel room, and Sid was
jailed for the murder. He was released on bail but died from a heroin
overdose on February 2nd 1979 whilst awaiting the murder trial.
The Sex Pistols were over.
Biography By Jim Henderson
In 1996, 20 years after anarchy first ruled the nation, Rotten, Jones,
Cook and Matlock reformed for the highly successful Filthy Lucre Tour. The
tour would take the Sex Pistols around the globe, ending in Santiago, Chile,
on 7th December '96.
Then in 2002....Pistols At The Palace. On 27th July, Steve, Paul, John, and
Glen reunited to celebrate their own Jubilee with a concert at Crystal Palace,
London. This was followed by, on 14th September, Inland Invasion 2:
Blockbuster Pavilion, Devore, California.
THE FINAL END?