Many famous French people have told many things about the Sex Pistols in Paris in 1976. Unfortunately, not a single useful thing was told by this bunch of judges except stuff like the band was crap, boring, not so new, etc. Apart from some pictures by Ray Stevenson (taken on Sunday 5th September), nothing survived from the shows. After a lot of research and phone calls, we succeeded in contacting one guy living right in the heart of Corsica. He was there with a Uher tape recorder and a camera. Thank him! His name is Pascal Regoli and he plays in a French protopunk band named "Angel Face".
Among the people who were there, sex-pistols.net managed to find out some other spectators including members of the band Métal Urbain, Pierre Bénain who organized the gigs, and many others (in fact : 61 people…).
The Châlet du Lac is an important date in the history of the Sex Pistols because it was their first concerts abroad. Malcolm McLaren met Pierre Bénain in London during the summer and Pierre was already working promoting the Paris club. At this time McLaren was an excellent manager and he asked for a lot of money from Pierre Bénain. As Pierre was a young guy who didn't care about the club's money he said "yes" for £1000 plus hotel and plane tickets. The plan was a very good deal for the Sex Pistols.
The Châlet du Lac was closed at the time; it had been well known as a disco club in 1976. The owners wanted the place refurbishing and asked Philippe Stark to carry out the new decoration for the re-opening. They also asked Pierre Bénain to find the most fashionable English rock band of the time… with the passing time we know now they got it right in the mouth…
Those lucky people who attended take up the story....
Stéphane Bénaïs (Chalet du Lac): In 1976, the rules were different about the capacity of the place. Now, we've 800 people standing, but for the Sex Pistols show it was different. Around 2000 people came on September 3rd for the re-opening. It was much more sold out with invitations. A lot of people were outside waiting for a place.
Riton (Angel Face): I didn't care about the punk stuff. Too silly for me. We had a problem at the entrance with the bouncers. Our invitation cards ain't got the good cutboard colours… (Note: sex-pistols.net discovered two different tickets: a blue and a white). After some waiting we managed to find a different way to go into the place.
Pascal Regoli: It was full up. I spent most of the show looking at my tape recorder. My memories are not very good. I remember my singer (Henri Flech) in trouble with rockers because of his black spectacles. The guys thought he was a gay…
Hermann Schwartz (Métal Urbain's guitar player): The place was very hot. A lot of Johnny Hallyday's fans in black leather jackets were here looking for trouble. Some of them carried boiled potatoes with razor blades inside their pocket - it was a good way to slash somebody at the time. With my brother Nancy Lüger we talked to them and tried to calm everybody down. It was sometimes difficult to play a gig when somebody threw you this kind of stuff…
Pascal Recoli: We were more interested in the NY scene than British punk before the show, but we were curious. We wanted to see the new phenomena.
3rd September - The First Show. The show started at midnight. The setting is made of glass and the 3 meters disco ball above the stage is designed by Philippe Stark.
The band went straight into Anarchy in the UK and Johnny Rotten - dressed up in full overall bondage suit - made the show, jumping about everywhere. The audience was 90% made up with the usual disco fans who used to go to the club before. Look at the picture on the right and try to imagine how startling the Sex Pistols spectacle was. In fact, most of the people were astonished by the band.
Apart from the encore the first Parisian show was the same as the Screen On The Green and 100 Club gigs played earlier in the summer. The overall sound was more powerful than the Screen On The Green 3CD boxset recording. Johnny didn't talk very much to the audience between the songs but he was the centre of attraction with his strange robotic gestures. Anyway, Dave Goodman (and Kim Thraves) did a great job mixing the sound on the night because the Pistols were as powerful as you could have wished for such an event. If we need to do an after action report, the only thing we can say is that the four riders of the apocalypse did a really good job this night. Not a song was missed!
Riton (Angel Face): I was an MC5 fan but the beginning of the show impressed me a lot. The sound, the look, etc… All was perfect - and I even hated French punks! After a few songs I was closer to the bar tender than the band, but what a fucking show! The sound was incredible: loud and clear. The exact opposite of the French bands…
Pascal Regoli: The day after the gig I met Glen Matlock at Hervé Zénouda's home - Hervé was playing drums with the Stinky Toys - I had long hair and I remember Glen telling me that London's punks used to beat up hippies. He wasn't aggressive, just telling a fact.
5th September - The Second Show. It was on Sunday and the band played early in the afternoon at 4PM. The Sex Pistols played a shorter set; 12 songs and no more, because they had to catch the plane home. Only 200 people were there. Pascal Regoli's recording is not as good as on the first night because he was able to change position and therefore walked all over the place!
Hermann Schwartz: The second show was quieter but some teddy boys were there. I talked about classic rock'n'roll singers with them and they were quiet. About the Sex Pistols shows themselves, I say both were top. It was very difficult for a French punk band to do better.
01/ Flowers Of Romance
02/ Anarchy In The UK
03/ I Wanna Be Me
05/ New York
06/ Don’t Give Me No Lip
07/ Stepping Stone
11/ No Feelings
13/ Pretty Vacant
15/ No Fun
16/ Did You No Wrong
17/ Anarchy In The UK
Finally I would like to thank Jean-François Charpin and all the efforts he made to convince me how great the band was at The Châlet du Lac through his private (very low) recording. In loving memory.
Some of the photographs were taken by Bérangère Hié (Pascal Regoli's girl friend). With the passing of time they can't remember which pictures each of them took, so they share the copyright! As Pascal had his nose into his Uher tape recorder, we can easily assume that Bérangère took most of them.
This exclusive sex-pistols.net article will form part of an extended French article that will be published in Rock & Folk magazine in the near future with more never seen before pictures (except by Phil S!)
Written by Géant-Vert