(If you’re wondering how I got onto this, I was listening to a mix tape that included “God Save the Queen”. Their version, that is.)
All I know about them, I got from reading interviews with them where they were clearly playing with the press, retrospective mentions in books and magazines that focus more on the impact they had on society and the recording industry than on them as a band (or at least a group…I’m told they really sucked as musicians), and, of course, the movie Sid and Nancy (I never saw the real Pistols documentary).
From these, I get:
—McLaren fancied himself an impresario, and recruited four people who didn’t have to be musicians, but did have to have the looks and attitudes he wanted.
—The Sex Pistols started the punk movement, in society and in music. (Maybe in the UK, they started punk music, but wasn’t it the Ramones over here?)
—They couldn’t play and they knew it, and that was the act.
—Johnny Rotten was ambitious and an innate showman, and would have found his way into the limelight with or without McLaren. I’m told almost nothing about the other two (Steve Jones and Paul Cook?), but either they didn’t have distinct personalities, or they were ordered to remain silent and menacing. Sid Vicious was slightly unbalanced, and McLaren had no qualms about exploiting this.
—(Movie only) McLaren also tried to discourage Vicious’ drug use. The director, Alex Cox, was trying to send an anti-drug message, and that may have influenced the script.
So what was the deal? How did they get along between themselves? How much of it was McLaren and how much them? Is there anything to be told about those other two? Did people care that Vicious was a junkie? Or wasn’t he using while he was still in the band? I know there’s got to be at least one person here who can edify me!