ORGAN ARCHIVES: I once saw the Pistols down the ‘undred Club (now then, now then). Never mind all that, Bollocks is forty years old, here’s the whole the preposterous tale…

 

 

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Way back in the last century when Organ was a paper thing that couldn’t be avoided by anyone who ever went to a gig anywhere in London, back when we were busy fighting the evil forces of both Brit Pop and the YBAs armed with a bag full of pritt sticks, a broken typewriter and sharp pair of scissors,  back in the days when we flyposted art on the walls of London, put out Charlie’s Angels singles and put on Homage Freaks gigs, back when people wore our t-shirts, back there there were all kinds of adventures and tales, tales like the time we spent an eventually rather drunken morning with those Pistols down the ‘undred Club (we spent the afternoon over at Youth’s place taking Killing Joke and their then new album but that’s a whole other story for another day).  Here’s that transcript and the preposterous tale (now then, now then) from that press conference back in 1996 that originally appeared in issue 45 of Organ, the one with the red cover and two Mr Bungle interviews inside (you could never have too many Mr Bungle interviews back in 1996).

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It went like this, out of the blue, with very little warning, Sex Pistols suddenly announced their intention to reform, they announced it via a press conference at the scene of one of their legendary gigs back in ’76, Oxford Street’s Hundred Club.  We bring this up today because because we want to, that and the fact that I’m a sucker for a box set and loads of demo versions of b-sides we’ve probably already got. That’s right, another re-issue, Never Mind The Bollocks is forty years old, actually this thing that just turned up here is a re-issue of a re-issue, here we go now, read on…

“It is now almost 40 years to the day since the Sex Pistols ‘Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols’ was released and to mark this significant anniversary USM/UMC are proud to revisit the out-of-print super deluxe edition of the album, which was originally issued in 2012″

“Released in limited numbers at the time, this set is widely considered to be the definitive collection. This new, budget priced smaller-sized edition still boasts 3CDs which include the original studio album with 1977 B-sides, a disc of outtakes and one disc of 1977 live material. Additionally there is a DVD featuring 1977 footage of the band playing live from the infamous boat party held on the River Thames, London, the Winter Gardens, Penzance in Cornwall and the Happy House, Stockholm, Sweden. Bringing it all together is a 48-page hardback book with narrative from music journalist Pat Gilbert plus rare photos from Bob Gruen, Barry Plummer, John Tiberi and Dave Wainwright”.

The whole load of beautiful old bollocks  is out in box set form on December 1st and of course the original album still sounds as fresh and vital as it always has done, and as Mr Rotten pointed out at that press conference back in ’96, it all about the songs, the songs still matter (even the demo versions and the bootleg quality live recordings). I admit it, I’m a sucker for these Dave Goodman demo versions and these live recording from Sweden or Norway or from where ever they’re from

.

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It happened like this: we were at Organ Towers one day, battling through the morning’s demo tapes (got a great one from Inane) when the phone rang

“Do you want to come and talk to the Sex Pistols down the Hundred Club? We’d like them to be in Organ.”

“Is there any free beer in it?”

“Of course,” was the answer.

“We’ll be there then.”

11:30AM!! What sort of punk rock gobbing time of the morning is that?! So we’re down the 100 Club, twelve O’clock sharp and there’s hundreds of tourists, press photographers, all sorts, all hanging around by the front door – we fight our way through, shove our piece of paper that was just faxed over to say we’re invited at the scouling guy on the door, blag a few mates in to help drink the beer, a Big Issue seller, few people like that, throw a bundle of pink Charlie’s Angels flyers in the air and go in…..

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“You’re just in time” says the transvestite with the pink hair and beard,”in you go….. ”

So in we go: me, Cecile (with her camera) and the people we blagged in whose names I don’t know and who we left under the table looking unconscious at the end, and as soon as we walk in a thousand camera flashes go off in our faces….

“Shit, that’s not them” yells an American with a microphone and an MTV jacket…… and amazingly enough there’s hundreds of people totally ignoring the free bar! This is better than the last time I was at the 100 Club. That was an Oasis gig though, I’ll flog you a tape if you want. Free bar! let’s get in there! No one else is drinking, lot of serious looking people in here, someone from The Times asked me who I was, and what I thought of it all. There’s Union Jacks everywhere, one of ’em has Princess Diana in the middle and “Queen Of Tarts” emblazoned across it. More giant Trannies handing out food, smoked salmon bagels actually, we bag a few for later. Old paper cuttings everywhere just to remind us. The Grundy interview and various live gigs are being shown on the various televisions scattered (there’s a lorry driver in the corner kicking the shit out of one of them). There’s a whelk and jellied eel stall, oh dear” Get us another beer in. Can’t believe there’s all this free beer and there’s only four of us necking, there must be a couple of hundred journalists pushing each other in here, they all seem to be from the Guardian and the New York Journal and things like that, either that or sordid Sun hacks, whoever they are they’re far too serious about their work to drink the beer. Give us another one…

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“ere, Johnny, give us a V sign”

“Fuck off!”

“JOHNNY, THIS WAY!”

“Bollocks”

In they walk – massive scrum, one of the Trannies gets knocked over and her feathers go everywhere. the Pistols look ancient, ancient and fat, and they’re laughing their heads off. Steve Jones looks like he’s been sitting at the end of the bar for ten years telling anyone who’d listen that he use to be famous, that or he’s been driving taxis. Matlock looks about eighteen, like he’s still living at his mum’s. Last time we saw him he was playing to 27 people, including his dear old mum, upstairs at the Dome in Tufnell Park (most people were there for the support band, Angel Interceptor). Paul Cook looks like an A&R man.

So they drag themselves onto the table up on the stage and thousands of cameras and lights follow them….

“This is all a bit sad, isn’t it!” shouts someone

“Piss off” yells someone else

“Right, we’re here, who wants to go first?” snorts Johnny… at the same time demanding a beer and sending various record company executives scuttling like demented rabbits

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What do we call you these days Johnny?

“Whatever you want.”

“Johnny Rotten” yells someone official from the stage with a microphone

“Sad bastard” yells someone else, “Sad old bastard”

“Are you on any medication at the moment Johnny?”

“Just ego, and I’ve got more than enough to go around….”

“This is sad isn’t it?” barks someone else from the press pack

“Can I have that in English? Actually, It’s sad that an arsehole like you doesn’t actually appreciate the effort we’ve gone to” says Mr. Rotten….

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We Organs are having great fun, this is a classic Pistols performance, Johnny Rotten is on top form with all his belching and swearing…

“Next.”

Everyone starts yelling questions, small Japanese girls with mega tape-recorders fall over, someone from Finland yells “Why are you playing Finland first?

“Got to rehearse somewhere, haven’t yer? Might as well be there!”

How much are you making?

“More than the fucking Beatles and fucking rightly so because this is the only decent thing ever to come out of this country that’s actually worth the money”

“This isn’t what should be happening now though is it, this isn’t punk? Isn’t this an about-turn from everything you ever stood for?”

“Hey, we invented punk!We write the rules, you follow, not the other way around, alright?”

“Fuck Off” someone called me yells

“Who the fuck are you?”

“I’m from Sniffing Glue”

“You’re just jealous” yells Cook

“Do you still hate each other?” yells someone else

“Yeah we do, with a vengeance, but we’ve found a common cause – and that’s your money.”

“Are you going to play Brazil?”

“I don’t know” says Lydon,”If the price is right, we’ll be there.”

“What about Ronnie Biggs, will he join you?”

“I think that both Glen and I agree that the Ronnie Biggs episode was of rather dubious taste” sneers Lydon

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“How much are you getting?”

Cook: “Don’t be nosey”

Rotten: “Are you the tax man? I’ll tell you at the end of the year”

Are you going to be doing any new songs?

Rotten: “Errr……. not planning on it, no…”

What do you think of Green Day?

“Childish crap – can we have some decent questions please?”

Are you playing Scotland?

Johnny: “We’re trying to get into Glasgow but I think the Lord Provost is getting on his high horse again, he’s at it already – It’s the same old shit, really nothing has changed. Through the years, we’ve all gone off and done different things and left it up to others to make waves, and nobody out there has done bollock-all to change the world, so hello, here it is – part two! – and quite frankly, the Sex Pistols never quite finished properly, and that’s what this is about, to put a fucking full stop on it.”

Johnny, why has it taken so long?

“Well I ran away from it for a long time. I couldn’t cope with it because it all went tragically, horribly wrong due to corrupt management and various other arsehole members. We don’t quite see eye to eye as human beings here but we do have a common interest and that is that the fucking songs actually meant something – and if they didn’t you lot wouldn’t actually be here – including you, you fucking arse….

“You said you’d never do it”

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“I’ve said a lot of things, I’ve changed my mind, that doesn’t make me a hypocrite, I’ve had a change of mind – and yes, money is a lot to do with it, I have to be honest here, as if you didn’t know, but I’m also incredibly spiteful and when someone thinks something is so sacrosanct that it should never be touched, then I wanna touch it – it’s not a religion!”

Asked about a Sex Pistols reunion in the past you’ve said “What are we going to do, dig up Sid?

Lydon: “Well I’ve thought about it, but Sid’s ashes were blown all over Heathrow airport! We’d need a fucking hoover!”

Are you going to get rid of the monarchy for us this time?

Lydon: “No no no, our very good fifth member, Lady Di, is doing an excellent job. In fact we’ve offered to do a benefit for Madame Di, coz just like us, she really does need the cash…”

What would Sid think of all this?

Lydon: “He’d love it, if he could think at all”

“Johnny, in your absence did anyone, including Public Image, or the Professionals fill the gap?”

Lydon: “Public Image is an entirely different thing, always has been, always will be, that’s still going on – this is The Pistols, this is the original members, Sid was nothing more than a coat hanger to fill the empty space on stage.”

Jones: “Glen never really left The Pistols, we are the Pistols, we’ve always been the Pistols, we’re the ones who started it all..”

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Lydon: “These are the people who wrote the songs, thank you very much – and now we’d like to be paid for it. because quite frankly, over the years every fucker has lived off us and we’ve not seen a penny, or the respect, and you wouldn’t think we’d need a thing like respect but quite frankly I do, and I fucking demand it.”

“Nice one”.

“That’s a start – and anyway, I deserve it because there ain’t no one out there doing shit all; you want to complain about people grabbing money, then look at all those trashy little pop stars you’ve got out there left, right and centre, I don’t see you bitching about any of those bumholes – is it because we’re working class that somehow we have no access to cash, period?

“But you live in Malibu!”

“Should we all just stay in our horrible little council estates? Bollocks!”

This really has turned into the Johnny Rotten stand up comedy show, he’s on great form and the place is in fits of laughter…

“But aren’t you old farts now? You’ve become the Rolling Stones”

“I’ve got enough old farts to smother you with if you don’t shut your mouth. There’s nothing wrong with getting old, like a fine wine I’ve matured with age..”

“Glen, what have you being doing for the last twenty years?”

Lydon: “Not a lot!”

“How far can you spit these days?”

“Want to test it?”

“John, you said you’d never go back to Dublin”

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“Well I don’t plan to stay there overnight, I have not so fond memories of Dublin, I’ll stay in Belfast and beautiful down town Beirut if we can have it – not Dublin though.”

“So what do the Sex Pistols stand for now?”

Lydon; “Money….”

“Exactly how broke are you?”

Lydon: “Not very, that’s the best joke of all…. I don’t really need the cash, but you know, there’s a little bit more going, so why not – it might very well be daylight robbery, but you know, you’re here, I’m here”

“Do you like Oasis?”

Lydon: “They’re just a pop band you know, not really worth talking about really, they’re harmless”

“Who’s doing the support on your tour?”

Lydon; “Judging by the amount of Charlie’s Angels stuff flying around this room, they’re doing it, whoever they may be where’s all this stuff come from anyway? It’s our press conference not theirs!”

Matlock: “Who are they?”

Cook:”Fuck knows!”

Lydon: “The support band will probably be some bunch of fucking geriatrics. I mean let’s face it, nobody’s going to be going for any of the support bands, apparently the Buzzcocks are going to do it at Finsbury Park, so if you really want a good laugh just turn up late…”

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“Are you going to play a full set or walk off half way through?”

Lydon:” Well, I don’t know do I? To be quite frank it’s entirely likely that we’ll beat the crap out of each other in the first three seconds – that’s the reality of it you know, I can’t promise you a full lovey dovey set with us kissing each other, it might happen, it might not – you want easy answers, you’ll have to give us an easy question”

Are you expecting people to start gobbing at you again?

Lydon: “No, and quite frankly I never appreciated that in the first place, I am not no fuckers spittoon – you spit at me and I shall retaliate in more than kind..”

How old are you now anyway?

“I’m forty, I just turned forty in January and I’m not the least bit ashamed of it, we’re not like anyone else in this business, we’re not pretending to be kids, we never did in the first place, we never bought in to that Pete Townsend Hope I die before I get old crap and we also don’t give a shit what we look like so don’t bother asking us about that either”.

“What do we call you now Johnny? Rotten or…..”

“You call me sir”

“Would you say that the real punk stuff coming up now is people like Tricky? People who are actually doing something new?”

” What Tricky’s doing isn’t new, that’s all samples of other people’s stuff. that ain’t new, there isn’t one original thought in there, by the way, I like Tricky…”

“Now you’ve reformed do you think it’s inevitable that The Clash will follow suit?”

Lydon:” No, we don’t know anything about The Clap – forget them, it’s like chalk and cheese, they were just sloganeerers”

Matlock: “I think they’ll do it next year because they were always around a year after us doing everything.”

Lydon: “Ah, some wit from the end of the table, good point Glen – I’d like a big round of applause for Mr. Matlock”

“Will Malcolm be making any money from this?”

Lydon: “Most certainly not – well maybe he’ll be able to flog a few interviews to really tacky arsehole magazines like NMeeeeee”

“John, you use to say you hated stadium rock bands, you are one now…”

“No we’re not, what stadium would that be that we’re playing then? Name me the stadium and I’ll call you a liar”

“Finsbury Park is fairly big….”

“Finsbury Park is not a stadium, it is a field…”

“Would you like to appear in Hello magazine with Nora?”

“Maybe in a threesome with Lady Di”

Matlock: “And Fergie!”

Lydon: “No Glen, not Fergie – that tart in a tent can stay where she is. That’s the bum suck end of it – in fact that’s The Clash of the royal family… Quite frankly we better get this straight before you all fuck off, this is just us doing a few gigs, it won’t change very much – those who hate us can still hate us, those who like us will like us anyway….who cares what you think?

“How many times have you been approached to do this?”

Lydon: “About ten solid years of it actually, but all those offers have never been really serious. This is happening because we actually bothered to sit down and think about it and actually started calling in on some of these arseholes who were offering all this money and have no qualms whatsoever about taking them up on their big fat mouths”

“If the concerts go well are you going to make this permanent?”

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Lydon: “No, the concerts won’t go well, and no, it will not be permanent – I mean – you know what this lot are like, we always disappoint on the night, and surely, that’s the fun of it all..”

“Wouldn’t you be better in seated concert halls, in the round, MTV unplugged?”

“I know, another tiresome dig from over there – all those geriatrics turning up, your questions are tiresome – who cares, tough tities, I hope at Finsbury Park it rains and you all get your wheelchairs stuck in the mud – It ain’t my problem.”

“Is Sid’s mum going to make any money out of this”

Lydon ” We look after her and her pussy – Sid’s mum has a cat you see…”

“Will you play Top Of The Pops?”

Lydon: “No, that would never work, you’ve really depressed me just thinking about that show – I mean it’s so bad…. Unless of course they pay us to do it! Now that would be a novel idea.”

“Are you going to play ‘EMI’ now that Virgin, you record company has been bought out by EMI?”

Lydon: “Can you please not mumble that again….. next.”

And there was no next… best dinner time pantomime I’ve been to in ages, got hassled by someone in a Sex Pistols shirt back at the bar, looked up from my drink to see it was Boy George and a couple of his mates, seems he was upset about something we said about him, “You’re not from Sniffing Glue – you’re from that Organ thing, you did that interview with Sado Dada over in that club in Soho, you said I was sitting in the corner smoking crack”

We didn’t say it was crack, we said it was a spliff, we must have been playing it down… do you want to come clean George?

And with that, everyone filed out politely like they’d been interviewing the prime minister – while we cleaned up the free beer, food and stole all the union jacks to sell to the tourists outside….

Nothing more than an hilarious piece of pantomime from some ageing old gits or something. Hell, who cares, it was fun, love’em to bits, and what with Oasis grabbing all the headlines and being on every radio station you ever turn on, The Bluetones and Long Pigs and Cast being thrown out at us, Pulp headlining big fields, it looks like the Pistols pantomine show might be the most fun the establishment mainstream can throw at us all this summer. We may as well have a laugh with Johnny and his mates. (When was the last time..?)

So anyway there we were, beer fuelled, liberated bottles of wine and more smoked salmon and there’s these three girls and a guy standing on the street outside with those ridiculous big Lush signs from the front of their new record

“Don’t you feel stupid doing this?”

“No, why should we?”

“What with Lush turning into a sad parody of Brit pop and sounding like a shite version of Sleeper now?”

“No they don’t, I’ll get into trouble talking to you – d’you want me to be sacked or something?”

“Well yeah, if it saves some poor misguided unfortunate from spending their money on that abysmal Lush album…”

So we swerved our way out of the Sex Pistols’ Press Conference comedy show at the Hundred Club via the people with the silly Lush advertising signs… into the Virgin megastore to bug those assistants about those Charlies Angels singles and then off to chew the fat with Youth and talk Killing Joke and all that Organ was a busy thing back then, I can’t remember if it did rain at Finsbury Park but the Pistols were as good as they promised to be, Johnny still is, twenty one years on from that summer and fourty years on from Never Mind the Bollocks the man still has it, the prices he tries ot charge to get in to a P.I.L gig days is ridiculous, love the man to bits though, butter adverts and everything else…

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For those of you still tunes in to this page, here comes the train spotter bit (and yes I have still got a couple of those Union Jacks, I once stole flag off the Sex Pistols, now then now then)

Full track listing….

SEX PISTOLS
NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS – 40TH ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION
(3CD/DVD / eALBUM / MFiT)
1ST DECEMBER 2017
USM/UMC

Disc 1 – Never Mind The Bollocks

1. Holidays In The Sun
2. Bodies
3. No Feelings
4. Liar
5. God Save The Queen
6. Problems
7. Seventeen
8. Anarchy In The UK
9. Submission
10. Pretty Vacant
11. New York
12. EMI

Disc 2 – Studio Rarities / Dave Goodman Demos / Chris Thomas Demos & Outtakes

Studio Rarities & B Sides:
1. No Feeling (B side of withdrawn God Save The Queen On A&M Records)
2. Did You No Wrong (B side of God Save The Queen)
3. No Fun (B side of Pretty Vacant)
4. Satellite (B side of Holidays In The Sun)
Dave Goodman Demos:
5. New York (Demo Version)
6. Unlimited Edition (Demo Version of EMI)
7. Liar (Demo Version)
8. Pretty Vacant (Demo Version)
9. Problems (Demo Version)
10. No Future (Demo Version of God Save The Queen)
Chris Thomas Demos & Outtakes:
11. Did You No Wrong (Alternative Vocal)
12. Seventeen (Alternative Vocal)
13. Satellite (Rough Mix)
14. Submission (Rough Mix)
15. Holidays In The Sun (Rough Mix)
16. EMI (Rough Mix)
17. Seventeen (Rough Mix)
18. Holidays In The Sun (Alternative Mix)
19. Body (Demo Version Of Bodies)
20. Submission (Alternative Mix)
21. Belsen Was A Gas (Demo Version)

Disc 3 – 1977 Live

Trondheim – StudentersamfuNdet – Norway:
1. Anarchy In The UK
2. I Wanna Be Me
3. Seventeen
4. New York
5. EMI
6. No Fun
7. No Feelings
8. Problems
9. God Save The Queen
Happy House – Stockholm – Sweden:
10. Anarchy In The UK
11. I Wanna Be Me
12. Seventeen
13. New York
14. EMI
15. Submission
16. No Feelings
17. Problems
18. God Save The Queen
19. Pretty Vacant
20. No Fun

Disc 4 – DVD 1977 footage

Riverboat Party – River Thames London 1977:
1. Pretty Vacant
2. Anarchy In The UK
3. Problems
Happy House Stockholm – Sweden 1977:
4. Anarchy In The UK
5. I Wanna Be Me
6 Seventeen
7. New York
8. Problems
9. No Fun
Winter Gardens – Penzance – Cornwall – 1977:
10. Problems
11. No Fun
12. Anarchy In The UK
Promo Videos:
13. Good Save The Queen
14. Pretty Vacant
15. Holidays In The Sun
Radio 1 Rock On Interview:
16. John And Sid Interview

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