Well my oh my if yesterday's Friday mp3 shuffle wasn't very unpopular.
Only 13 people have downloaded it, and usually the Friday mixes are very popular and get more than twice that amount within just the first few hours. How come, people? Not enough big names for you, ol' chap? A bit too obscure, squire?
Then let me explain a thing or two: It has Breach on it, the most ass-ripping hardcore band this side of His Hero Is Gone. It has Acid Bath, trendsetter for a whole generation of sludge bands. It has grindcore band Social Infestation, starring Mastodon's Troy Sanders. It has the fashionable punkers du jour Fucked Up. It has Naked City, an insane freeform jazz/grindcore project unlike anything made before or since.
It has Icepick, Jamey Jasta's sideproject that smokes his main band Hatebreed like nobody's business. It has a song by Marduk, easily one of the top five black metal bands in history. It has Steve Albini's Big Black, noise rock gods of old. Last but not least it has an epic track by Boredoms, the best band to ever come out of Japan. No, correction: the best to ever come out of all of fucking Asia.
So why don't you correct your mistake and click here and download my Friday MP3 Shuffle #30 and rock out like there's no tomorrow. It's fucking brilliant and it deserves your attention.
Are we all clear on that? Good, then let's move on.
In early 1978 frontman Johnny Rotten quits The Sex Pistols after a disastruous U.S. tour, sick of the situation in general and manager Malcolm McLaren in particular. Shortly thereafter Julian Temple goes to work on the Pistols "documentary" (in quotes because I use that word very loosely) The Great Rock 'N' Roll with McLaren and the remaining band members Steve Jones (guitar), Sid Vicious (bass) and Paul Cook (drums). Rotten wants nothing to do with it.
The film was a higly fictional retelling of the band's history, which more than anything showcases McLaren's penchant for creating myths. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story and all that. Take everything in the film with a grain of salt. It was decided some new music must be recorded for the film, and the remaining trio set forth writing new material.
Jones, Vicious and Cook all took turns singing on these new songs, and hired (of all people) notorious train robber Ronnie Biggs to sing on two tracks, including Belsen Was A Gas, penned by Vicious. McLaren also conributes a bit in the vocal department, and Edward Tudor-Pole (who was Rotten's replacement for about half an hour when the band still considered going on without him) sings a couple as well.
Of all these singers I must say Vicious is my favorite. Sure, he can't stay in key to save his life, but that was never very important in punk rock, was it? He has just the snotty, bratty attitude necessary to get the job done. Whereas Jones and Cook sound insecure behind the mic, Vicious' sneering delivery (somewhere between Rotten and Joey Ramone) fits perfectly. He couldn't sing very well, he could barely play and he only had one song to his name, but he became the blueprint for all punks ever since for a reason. The guy just had something about him, let's face it.
While Never Mind The Bollocks is of course the big classic, I'll continue to make a case for The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle any chance I get. Yes, it's an obvious last cash-in attempt by a manipulative, money hungry demon of a manager and the album is so erratic because the band was in shambles (in fact they didn't even exist anymore at this point), and they had lost not only their lyricist and frontman, but also their direction. So what do you do? You cobbled together whatever shit you find, that's what.
But the fact remains that this soundtrack has an even bigger fuck off-attitude than their only "real" album, as by releasing this album they told even their fans, as well as punk conventions in general, to fuck off. On Never Mind The Bollocks they may have proclaimed "And we don't care!" but they didn't fully live up to it until this one came along.
It's total anarchy, a big fucking surreal mess of new songs without their singer mixed with old demo recordings featuring their singer and old demo recordings of their old singer with newly recorded backing tracks. Strange covers, their hit songs sung in French or reworked into disco medleys, orchestral reworkings of well known Pistols material, and let's not forget the bawdy traditional Friggin' In The Riggin', sung by Jones. Maybe the best song ever recorded.
Some of the new songs deserve an extra mention: Silly Thing (download below) sung by Cook has a Clash/Buzzcocks feel with an adorable chorus unlike anything the band recorded with Rotten and is an excellent precursor to what Cook and Jones would later do in their short lived band The Professionals, a band I rate much higher than Rotten's post-Pistols endeavor Public Image Ltd. The Professionals only recorded one album, I Didn't See It Coming in 1981, but golly what an album it is. I'll make a post about that one too some day, in the meantime you can download this compilation I made on my other blog which includes one of their songs.
The tracks recorded during the Never Mind The Bollocks demo sessions in 1976 are pretty damn sweet too though. My personal favorite is the Dave Berry cover Don't Give Me No Lip, Child with the most venomous guitar riff this side of The Stooges. The cover Paul Revere's (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone, most famous in The Monkees' version, is absolutely staggeringly fantastic.
The film, which was just as ramshackle and lost & found as its soundtrack, was released in 1980 and with that the story of The Sex Pistols was over. Apart from the expected dead horse flogging of McLaren of course, who tried to milk every penny out of the band for a few more years.
The Pistols would eventually reunite in the mid 90s with their original bass player Glen Matlock, but let's pretend that never happened, shall we?
(mp3) The Sex Pistols - Silly thing (recommended!)
(mp3) The Sex Pistols - (I'm not your) steppin' stone (recommended!)
(mp3) The Sex Pistols - Don't give me no lip, child
(mp3) The Sex Pistols - C'mon everybody
(mp3) The Sex Pistols - Friggin' in the riggin' (recommended!)
Buy The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle @ Amazon.com