On This Day In Rock History: Pistols Hire Sid Vicious And Cheapen Punk Forever!


Let's face it, punk was actually pretty great up until the Sex Pistols fired Glen Matlock and replaced him with a guy whose bass wasn't even plugged in most of the time. The Pistols went from having the whole package; great fookin' looks and the musical prowess to back up the defiant swagger, to a joke.



Though the musical and political establishment didn't make it easy for them, the band persevered through a barrage of reflexive criticism to upend the entire music industry on their way to #1, only to tarnish that accomplishment by taking their own legs out from under themselves by canning their musical secret weapon, Glen Matlock, in favor of a kid who had the iconic look of a rock star, but little else.

If only they'd done it after Matlock had laid down his bass parts for Never Mind The Bollocks. oddly enough, they actually had the nerve to ask him to come back and play on the album after they realized Sid couldn't play. He asked for payment up front, they agreed, but then never paid him so he never showed up.

This left guitarist Steve Jones to cut the bass tracks himself, which kinda works, but it's just the bass following the guitars. Matlock's playing would have certainly added a little oomph and swing to the punk ferocity, but, alas, it was not to be.

Up until then, bands like the Ramones, the Clash and the Pistols were actually comprised of guys who could pull it off live and in the studio. Of course, McLaren had loved the idea of Sid joining the band simply for the visual presence, which made them more like the Monkees than I'm sure those involved like to admit.

After a disastrous U.S. tour that ended with Rotten quitting the band after their San Francisco show, the remaining members kept it together long enough to record two LP's worth of songs for Malcolm's McLaren's Sex Pistols mockumentary, The Great Rock & Roll Swindle.



The soundtrack included two Sid Vicious vocal performances on Eddie Cochran's "Somethin' Else" and Frank Sinatra's "My Way".

The ultimate irony of ironies for many was seeing the latter song licensed by Acura in 2015, 37 years after his death from a heroin overdose.

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