Sex Pistols at the Roxy, October 25
By Randall Roberts
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you and fuck you. Fuck you Johnny Rotten for wasting most of your No Future — the first two PiL albums excepted — making mediocre music and stealing album titles from Flipper. Fuck you Steve Jones for waxing your chest. Fuck you Glen Matlock for liking Paul McCartney – you are still not forgiven. Paul Cook: fuck you because you were my favorite. While the rest of the idiots stumbled about making fools of themselves and creating the templates of what would become their caricatures, you played the drums and shut the fuck up. You seem to have some sense. Please stop this. Tell them, Paul. It doesn't work.
A pox on all of you silly old men sweating and wheezing and singing a song from 30 years past about the Future — how there isn't one — when the very fact of the performance negates the declaration, simply highlights the fact of how lame your Future ended up. Thirty years ago this Monday, Never Mind the Bollocks was released. It remains a beast of an album, so ferocious and angry and of its time that any attempt at replicating it is doomed to fail. Maybe if Pissed Jeans or Fucked Up were up here it'd rock, but these skids?
The Sex Pistols at the Roxy, sponsored by Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Need I say more? Yes? Good. The band waddled onto stage, two fat fucks (Jones and Rotten) and two civil-servant-looking fellows, one of whom (Matlock) was wearing a leather vest. He looked like a minister at a costume party. Rotten grabbed the mic, opened his beady eyes wide and made the first of hundreds of facial expressions that indicated, variously, disgust, disappointment, rage, anger, bemusement, boredom – and none of them felt the least bit real. It was like he was standing in front of a mirror trying them on for size, or had studied videotapes of himself when he mattered. The band moved through much of Bollocks – from “Holidays in the Sun” to “No Feelings” to “EMI” (the only song that remains relevant, but for different reasons) – played the requisite covers, blew the requisite snot, spit, rocked, and so on. But even on the most primal level it seemed weak, unnecessary, inconsequential.
Most of the members of Velvet Revolver were in the crowd taking notes on how to suck ass well into the 2020s, how you can flog one good idea until it's rendered useless, return to it every half decade, declare yourselves “courageous” — as Rotten did during a break – for reuniting in the face of expected failure. Great. That bodes well for the Future. Toward the end, the band took an unplanned break because Johnny Rotten had to pee. When he returned, he intimated that he had gone ahead and taken a dump while he was at it. What's surprising is that he had any shit left in his system to poop out.
Before my dad died, he told me that he wanted a closed casket because the last image he had of his father was of him dead in a casket. My father didn't want to be remembered as a dead man. I honored his wishes, and have never regretted not seeing his dead body. I wish I would have requested a closed casket last night.