CLASSIC GIGS 77-78HY
LUCRE 20th anniversary tour
MIND THE BANS Memories of Wolverhampton
by Malcolm Jeffrey
Story one. I'm 41 now but in 1977 I was 17, living in
Stourbridge, and the Sex Pistols were the most important band ever. And
they rarely toured, if they did they'd go out under assumed names (Tax
Exiles, Acne Ramble etc), and the local councils would decimate their
dates, so it was fucking impossible to see them. On Thursdays, the NME
and Sounds came out and I'd read them at the back of my maths class in
the morning: that week, the inside page of Sounds said that the Pistols
were going On Tour Secretly and, although they weren't publishing the
dates for fear of cancellations, fans in Coventry, Birkenhead, Cromer,
Huddersfield, etc etc,. and Wolverhampton. should check their local
press. Now Wolverhampton is a bus ride away - I HAVE to go to the gig.
So I bought a local paper in the dinner hour and scoured through the
small ads looking for "SPOTS" but there, bold as brass was a tiny
half-inch ad saying "Sex Pistols Wolverhampton Lafayettes 18th
December". So I hit the library to find out where the Laf was, got the
number and rang the Club to find out the prices. The gig was next
Sunday, you needed to be a member of their over-18's Sunday Club (I've
still got the membership card) and the tickets were £1.75.
5 mates are interested, but
I'm 17 and broke, so two of us pool resources and barely scrape a fiver
between us, £4 short of the required cash. However, it IS coming up to
Christmas and, being a teenage punk fan, none of my relatives knew what
to get me anymore, so I had maybe £10 in Boots Gift Tokens which had
already arrived through the post - and I have a trick up my sleeve. We
skive off games on the Thursday afternoon and get the bus to
Wolverhampton: the guy with the tickets is on his dinner break so we
have an hour to kill.
Now, in those far-off days,
you could buy something with your Boots gift tokens and if it costed
less than the tokens' value they'd give you the change up to the next
50p and the rest in more tokens. So we went to Boots and I bought a
Mars Bar - maybe 12p or something. "Don't you want anything else?" says
the shop lady. "No" I fib, and collect 38p in change and £4.50 in new
gift tokens. Then it's upstairs to the record department to buy a 10p
plastic single sleeve. Another 40p and more tokens. Downstairs again to
buy a torch battery - 15p. 35p change and more tokens. There were two
Boots' in Wolverhampton and we spent the hour commuting between them
when the security guards got suspicious, but I ended up with a huge
sheaf of used gift token cards - and £4 in change. Hurray! Back to the
Laf, lied about our ages and addresses, joined the Sunday Club and got
the tickets - vivid pink in colour. You can have no idea how important
I felt, getting back to Stourbridge, seeing all my schoolmates milling
about in the town after the end of classes, with four tickets to the
Sex Pistols in my pocket !!
Story two. My mum frowned on
my interest in punk and new wave, but she was pretty understanding and
I'd already been to see the Stranglers, the Jam, and 999 by then in the
early days of my gigging career. The Pistols were right out, however -
filthy, decadent and disgusting - and so I had to pull a small
deception. "Who are you going to see on Sunday ?" she asked. "A punk
band called The Spots", I truthfully reply. Off I go on Sunday evening
and get to the Laf and the bouncers are turning everyone back: Johnny
Rotten has a sore throat and the gig is postponed to the 21st
so we plod off home again. When I arrive at home, my mum says "What's
happened ?" and I tell her that the lead singer has a poorly throat and
the gig is postponed till Wednesday.
Monday morning and I'm off
to school. On my purple Raleigh Chopper. I open the front door and the
Daily Mirror is on the mat, so I take it in to my mum. And what's on
the front page ? A picture of Johnny in a hat, looking very pissed off,
with a small article to the effect that "Johnny Rotten cancels opening
gig of secret Sex Pistols tour in Wolverhampton because of sore
throat." I had given my mum just enough information to hang myself:
fitted up good and proper! Daily Mirror - you utter, utter, utter,
utter bastards, I thought (or the 1977 equivalent). The irony of the
situation was not lost on me though and I had to smile. Mind you, I did
have to undergo the "You were going to the Sex Pistols last night !!"
argument when I got back. Tee hee !
THAMES RIVER BOAT PARTY 7th June'77
memories of the 1977 boat party... by Ray
everyone knows, trying to find out where and when the Pistols were
playing in 1977 was a nightmare if you were not mates of someone in the
music press, as they were banned from every decent sized venue.
boat trip was on June 7th but on the two nights before on June 5th and
6th I was at The Roundhouse to see a great triple bill of Ramones,
Talking Heads, and The Saints. As luck would have it, Sid Vicious was
at one of the shows. I had a quick chat with him and casually asked if
the band had plans for any live shows. When he told me they were to
play on a boat on the Thames that weekend I could not believe my ears.
He said it was invite only, but to come along and try to get on.
I remember was that it was a Sunday, so we turned up about 6pm
expecting the boat to leave at around 8pm, but as we got there the last
of the guests were going on and the boat left shortly after 6pm. (In
the Dennis Morris book 'Destroy', I am one of those pictured in the
queue for the boat, with other people like myself who did not get on.
The look on our faces clearly shows, "The fucking boat is leaving
without us.") It pulled away and the rest is history.
was not lost as we had a back up plan. We left the area at 7pm for
Earls Court Arena to see Queen live in concert. We bunked in the side
doors and got down the front and had a great night.
BRUNEL UNIVERSITY, UXBRIDGE 16th December
ME TELL YOU A STORY by Leigh Heggarty
16 at the time (you work it out!) and still at school. I remember one
of the lads saying that his brother (or somebody like that) had told
him there was a "mystery group" playing Brunel the following Friday. I
also remember hearing an advert on Capital Radio. Anyway, one of the
lads at school had a moped (!) so we all chipped in £1.75 each and he
went over in the lunch break and bought a batch of tickets. I have a
vague memory of him buying a few extras and touting them in the
come the day of the show I had a heavy cold and nearly didn't go (!!)
but much to my Mum and Dads horror I heroically made it down there
(it's only about
three miles away). There was a big crowd waiting outside the venue
which grew more and more restless as time went on, particularly as you
could hear the band sound-checking inside ('No Feelings' if I remember
correctly). I've since read that they had lost the front door key -
whatever, we were outside for what seemed ages. When they did
eventually get the doors open somebody (presumably on the door) shouted
something like, "Will everyone with tickets hold them up in the air".
This of course, produced chaos with people trying to steal tickets out
of each others hands! We just cowered at the back trying not to wave
our tickets around until finally we were able to make our way in...
Yes, you've guessed it, another long wait with the only amusement
provided by the Boomtown Rats, who were throwing badges into the crowd
from the balcony. We'd also heard that members of The Ramones and local
heroes The Lurkers were in the crowd, although we couldn't spot any of
them. At last the band appeared to considerable mayhem, with Rotten
saying words to the effect of "Welcome to the most disorganised gig
I've ever seen". Anyway, we were away! Although I wasn't too well I
remember thinking the band sounded bad (although they looked great) and
being very disappointed by it all... sad really. I thought it may just
have been me, but I've since heard a tape (terrible quality) and I've
spoken to a few people who were there who also saw earlier Matlock
gigs, and they thought it was terrible too. I don't remember ever
hearing John, Paul or Steve saying anything good about it. Just my luck
Anyway, my luck improved a few years later when the band I was in at
the time, 'The Price', supported Glen Matlock's 'Mavericks' (as they
were still known then) a few times and I got to know them all quite
well. They were a great band, even better than their 'Hard Work' CD
suggests. The first gig we played with them was in Dunstable and I was
amazed at the number of people who turned up with Pistols memorabilia
for Glen to sign. I was standing with him when someone he'd just
autographed 'NMTB' for challenged him indignantly on what he'd written.
Maybe they'd seen "Ex-Sex Pistol" on the poster and was amazed how much
Rotten had changed! Maybe they'd expected him to sign "Sid", who
knows... whatever, Glen took it all well. I was hoping to see Glen at
his recent London gig but unfortunately I'd already made other plans
(this may have been a mistake!). Still, I hope I'll catch up with him
again one day. I did see him in 1996 with the Pistols both at Finsbury
Park and Shepherds Bush Empire, the latter being about the best rock
gig I've ever seen and probably EVER will see. The bootleg CD and video
can't do justice to that night - marvellous!! Anyway that's about it
(so far). I did say my story wasn't that exciting but it means a lot to
me. I've still got my Brunel ticket somewhere - I guess it's worth a
bit more than £1.75 these days, but sorry it's not for sale!
HUDDERSFIELD 25th December '77
BILL WRIGHT MEETS THE SEX PISTOLS
article originally appeared in the 1984 'ROUSKA' fanzine and was
written by Bill Wright. Thanks to Bill and Richard Rouskateer,
whereever you may be...
the late seventies, 'Bankhouse Entertainments' ran weekly promotions.
At 'Pickwicks' (Dewsbury) on Mondays and at 'Ivnanhoes' (Huddersfield)
on Tuesday nights. Over a three month period I booked a whole host of
punk bands and other interesting stuff like the Record Mirror Road
Show, Chris Spedding etc... A lot of it great music, fresh in! However
after a short time we found ourselves to be losing money. I was getting
really worried. I thought, "Crikey! I'm going to lose my agency and
everything else". But I needn't have worried as lady luck was just
around the corner...
night, whilst seeing some of my bands audition for gigs abroad at
Wakefields 'Tiffanys', I got a call from the Sex Pistols agent. "How
d'ya like a date on the Sex Pistols?" I said,"Yeeeaah, great!" I
thought he was joking to start with. Like, everybody wanted them, but
you couldn't for love or money. If you'd offered them ten grand it
would have made no difference. All they wanted was the right situation
and the right club. Then he said, "They fancy doing Xmas Day, how about
it?" I couldn't believe it, but that was the PISTOLS. That's the way
they went about things. So I said, "Yeah, lets do it." It was decided
that 'Ivanhoes' should be the venue and that the cost a mere £600.
Which was a pittance for them in those days. However there was just one
reservation and that was that we were quiet about the whole thing. So
we passed the good news by word of mouth. Only problem was that things
got out of hand and it wasn't long before the press got wind of what
was going down. Now Virgin, the Pistols record company at the time,
wanted to make it a really special occasion. So between us we decided
that it would be a good idea to do an afternoon show for the
underprivileged kids of the area and then a show for the regular fans
on the night.
Can you imagine it though, the Pistols playing to five, four, even
three year olds... Unbelievable but it happened! Virgin said, "We want to do the
job right, lets getinto this place and dress it up to make it look like a
castle." This they did. A gigantic cake was laid on too. A splodgy one
full of cream. And a few other goodies, like a sweet mountain. It all
cost a small fortune, which Virgin thankfully paid for most of! So it
comes to Xmas Day morning and there I was, shrugging my shoulders,
sublimely accepting no one would turn up. But I was wrong! They did,
all 500 of them. So too did Malcolm Mclaren, though I'm not too sure he
was all that welcome, he seemed very remote from the band. It was as if
there were some kind of antagonism going on between them. Anyway, the
kids got stuck into the sweet mountain, skateboards and other goodies.
Their faces a delight to see. Fantastic! Then, just before the Pistols
were due to go on, Johnny came out and went up to the giant Xmas cake.
A large number of the kids followed him. They struck up a rapport with
him immediately. From the word go! They liked him. He then got this
huge knife and cut an enormous chunk out of the cake. I can see it now.
He passed this piece to this little girl who tried but failed to take a
bite out of it. So he took one instead, then some more, and more...
then they all joined in. He finished up by jumping into the cake and
they all splodged him.
Then there was another incident. I don't know if it's really worth recording.. Where I for one reason or
another went backstage. (This was also before the Pistols were due on). There, in the
dressing room I found Sid. He was leaning upagainst this wall and
like everything was hanging out! Nancy, was knelt down in front of him doing
what comes... what it is they do, and I had happened to intrude! But
there was no rush, or panic or instant thing. Sid just turned his head
towards me very slowly (he was spaced out) and came out with the
longest, most drawn out "Fuck off" I'd ever heard. I then left,
thrilled that I'd actually had a conversation with Sid Vicious and that
was that. Time to go on stage, and I was stood near Sid. All the very
young ones were at the front when Sid started his usual thing of f..in
and bl..indin. But Johnny turned to him and said something like, "Sid,
there's all these young kids, lets just for once cut that shall we!"
And for the next 20/30 minutes, (they only did a short set for the
kids) that's exactly what he did. Now that showed Johnny for what he
was, still is in my opinion. A nice bloke!
in conversation with him he was just like me or you. You know how
you're in awe of these people and think they're very whatever.But he was a really nice
bloke who... the business was tearing them all apart...and it did... his brain
was being pulled all different ways... they got big far too quickly...
and on such a funny level, with the aggro thing that followed them
around. But they did that performance and the kids absolutely loved it,
even the really young ones. On the night... We'd sold all our tickets
and we felt that we were limited to about 500 in that venue. So the
performance comes around and a massive queue forms outside. After we
let in all the people who had tickets there were still many more left
outside. So were what seemed like every copper in the British Isles.
And then this big inspector chap comes over, badges a plenty, to have a
word with me. I was on the door and I was panicking. "God have we let
too many in... jeez they're really going to do us now." But to my
surprise this is what he had to say, "Look there's all these people out
here still and you're trying to close your doors now. I know you've got
fire regulations to observe but it's Xmas Day and the last thing that
we want is for all these people, from all over Britain, going around
town kicking windows in. We would rather have the risk of them going in
So that's what happened and believe you me those people were shoving
anything in your hands. Whether it was £10, £20... anything to get past
those doors. The horrible thing was that I was taking it all and
stuffing it where I could. In no time at all I was like a walking money
box. So on this gig, all my pockets were full... everyone got in and
the band turned in an incredible performance. Anybody that tells you
the band weren't as good as their image portrayed or whatever, in a
live situation they were amazing, excellent. In tune spot on. However
things might not have turned out so well. There were so many in that
place that underneath the floor, where the dressing room was, you could
see the roof sagging in the middle! Pieces of plaster were dropping all
the time. For about half an hour I had a real genuine fear that this
was going to end up a 'News of the World' feature. But it all added to
the general excitement of the event. At the end of the night a bloke
representing the Pistols came up for the £600 cheque. He asked me what
I thought of the days proceedings. "Absolutely fantastic!" I told him.
"I was just about to go bankrupt, in fact I've never enjoyed writing
out such a large cheque before in all my life." I wrote it out, signed
it and from that day to this, they've never cashed the cheque, just
never did. I don't know whether they lit a cigar with it or threw it
out of the plane. But what they did immediately from there was to fly
over to America. And we all know what happened there. So it ended. The
gig of the century had made good all the losses I'd made in the
previous three months promoting up n'coming punk bands, those were the
IVANHOES, HUDDERSFIELD 25th December '77
This review was posted to the God Save The Sex Pistols
Message Board on 6th January 2001 following a discussion. It is written
by Russ who has very kindly given us permission to publish it here.
What follows is an interview Russ held with his brother-in-law Kevin
who was present at the gig.
- When did you first hear about the Xmas day gig?
A - A
couple of months before, probably beginning of November. We didn't know
a date or a venue, there was just this rumour going about. First of all
it was word of mouth at some of the Punk clubs around Leeds that the
Sex Pistols were gonna be doing a secret gig in the north of England.
There were no dates or venues at this point. But there was this really
long-winded process you had to go through to get tickets. It was like a
voucher system. First thing you had to do was get these vouchers. I
went to a club in Dewsbury to see a band called The Lurkers and a few
other bands, hardly anyone was there, but throughout Yorkshire you went
to these gigs and got these vouchers. I don't think anyone really
believed it but we got them anyway. When you'd got the vouchers then
you could buy a ticket (the address was on the back). Nobody knew it
was Christmas day in Huddersfield until a few days before when the
tickets arrived in the post.
- Did you know there were two gigs that day?
Yes, when we got there we found out there'd been one in the afternoon.
Gingerbread, the one parent families organisation had something to do
with the daytime gig, apparently they'd organised a party for
underprivileged kids and kids of single parent families.
- Were there demonstrators or protesters outside?
No, cos it was such a secret gig, nobody knew it was there till a few
days before. Huddersfield City center was really quiet with it being
Q - So what do you remember about the gig?
We got there early, we were like the first people in. I remember it was
really hot in there cos it was a very small club and it got totally
packed out. When we got in Rotten was stood in the middle of the dance
floor wearing a pith helmet (as worn by African explorers etc) and a
mohair jumper skanking away (dancing) to reggae music. I didn't speak
to him but one of my mates I think asked him when the gig was starting.
Don't know if he got an answer, he certainly didn't stop to chat to
anyone. As the club started to fill up a sort of circle surrounded him
but nobody seemed to speak to him. Rotten never came across as being
the most approachable person, so people just left him to it. The rest
of the band was in the crowd just chatting with people. Sid walked
right past us but he was in a world of his own, totally off his face.
Remember that heroin wasn't a widely used drug then so we just thought
he just looked really pissed, like he'd been boozing all day. He looked
ill. Nancy was there keeping an eye on him, following him everywhere.
They didn't seem to mix with the rest of the band. Eventually the band
disappeared and it was quite a while before they came on. There weren't
any support bands or anything. I also remember that Rotten seemed
really isolated from the rest of the band, but then again he was like
that when I saw them on the Anarchy tour in Leeds. The bar was open so
by the time they eventually came on everybody was tanked up and well
- How long did they play for / can you remember any of the songs?
A - I
think they played for about 45 minutes to an hour. It was 23 years ago
so I don't remember what songs they played, although I do remember them
doing Belsen Was A Gas because it was the first time I'd ever
- You said there was a camera there. Did you notice if they filmed the
It was hard to see because the club was so small. The stage area was
really compact and was full of stacks. It was an intimate gig to say
the least, just heaving with people and really hot. There were tables
against the wall either side of the dance floor that they'd used for
the party during the day, so we stood at the ones at the right hand
side near the front. We could hardly see Steve Jones but got a great
view of Rotten and Sid. Sid had his jacket off for most of the gig. It
was really loud so you couldn't tell if Sid was playing or not, but it
looked like he was, there was no goading with the crowd or anything, he
was well out of it, but he seemed to be playing along.
was quite a lot of banter with the audience. I remember there was this
one bloke there, can't remember his name but he was this tall blond
bloke who was lead singer of The Jerks who was quite well known around
the Leeds punk circuit. He was a real poser and I think Rotten had his
eye on him. He was right at the front and Rotten kept making these
snide remarks at him. I thought he was going to smack him at one point.
thing I really remember (laughing) was a few songs in, Steve Jones
walked up to the mic in between two songs and shouts "Right then, who
wants to suck me' cock!". All these blokes started shouting like "Yeah,
me, me!" Jones was just like stepping back waving his arms going "No,
no blokes, just women!". We were pissing ourselves laughing!
really wish I'd kept some of the paraphernalia because there were these
huge posters all over the place that people were ripping off the walls
before and after the gig. I kept my ticket too for years but that got
- Anything else?
To be honest it was the 2nd time I'd seen the Pistols and I remember
the Anarchy gig a lot more. It was a totally different atmosphere. It
was December 6th, just a few days after the Grundy thing. They achieved
tremendous notoriety very quickly, really hyped up, it was all so new.
It put an awful lot of people off going but it also attracted people
like me, I was 18 then. The atmosphere at that gig was amazing. If I
had to say which was the better of the two gigs I'd have to say the
STONE" MAGAZINE, MARCH 9, 1978
PERFORMANCE "God Save The Sex Pistols"
WINTERLAND, SAN FRANSISCO January
By Greil Marcus
On the last stop of
the Sex Pistols' first American tour, they took on almost as many
people - over 5000 - as they faced in Atlanta, Memphis, Baton Rouge,
Dallas, San Antonio and Tulsa put together. They held the stage for an
hour: four days later, they blew apart. It may be that the Pistols'
only alternative to the future the rock & roll world had imagined
for them - a future devoid if imagination, a future made up of the rock
& roll rewards and penalties they had set out to deny - was to quit
the scene; that or a plane crash.
Sex Pistols left behind more history than music, but on their final
night the music lived up to the history. * The first thing that struck
me, not a minute into their show, was how much stronger the Pistols
sounded onstage than on their records. The music was all bite: you
could reach out and touch every jagged note. It was Steve Jones -
somehow revitalizing every stance in the English book while sounding as
if he were playing a guitar factory instead of a mere guitar - and
drummer Paul Cook who made the noise, and together they were likely the
only great two-man band in the history of rock & roll. Sid Vicious
used his bass as a prop; spraying the crowd with spit, beer and mucus,
he looked like an English Charlie Starkweather. With one arm taped from
wrist to bicep (Vicious was to OD twice that week), he was there to
bait the crowd.
most surprising about Johnny Rotten was his intelligence: intelligence
you could read most clearly in his eyes - he might have been a kid out
of Village of the Damned seventeen years later - but also in the way he
used his body. He slumped like Quasimodo; he cut through the curtain of
objects hitting the stage and the band (ice, cups, shoes, coins, pins
and probably rocks) with a twist of his neck. He hung onto the mike as
if he were in a wind tunnel, about to be blown off the stage.
"There's not enough presents", Rotten yelled after a belt flew over his
shoulder. "You'll have to throw up better things than that." A
perfectly rolled British umbrella landed at his feet. "That'll do", he
said. The crowd wasn't young - most were older than anyone in the band
- and they were nasty, either by pose, choice, or necessity. A man in a
football helmet butted his way through the crush until he smashed a
cripple out of his wheelchair; the band went it's own way. "Bodies"
broke the show open with the same intensity with which "No Fun" - the
single encore - finished it off: Rotten and Jones bore down as if they
had nothing left to lose. There was the unrecorded "Belsen Was A Gas"
("Belsen is a gas, I heard the other day / Saw the open graves where
the Jews all lay"), the careening momentum of "Liar", the dead-end kid
splutter of "Problems", and finest of all, the fury and glee Rotten put
into the chorus of "Pretty Vacant": "AND WE DON'T CARE!" Finest of all,
because the force of his negation brought such pleasure: a thin edge of
Just before the band left the stage - carefully gathering up everything
of value from the floor (there were four umbrellas by the end) - Rotten
rang a change on his music. It was that famous line from "Anarchy".
"Don't know what I want / But I know how to get it." This night the
negative was gone. He knew what he wanted, Rotten shouted, and he meant
it. But whatever it was, those of us who were there couldn't give it to
him - and he knew that too. So, minutes later, he left, and we will see
nothing like him again.
that the band wasn't ready to make more. They had planned to hit Brazil
immediately after the U.S.A.: their opening act would have been one
Ronald Biggs, reading poetry. Ronald Biggs was a member of the gang
that pulled off the Great Train Robbery.
Singleton / www.sex-pistols.net 2000/2001/2002/2003/2004/2005/2006/2017
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