<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> God Save The Sex Pistols - The Salter Connection
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By Paul Gorman

Redemption Song, Chris Salewicz's superlative, exhaustive yet never exhausting biography of the great Joe Strummer unveils choice nuggets, not least that Joe’s former partner and mother of two of his children, Gaby Salter, is the daughter of Tom Salter.

Well, so what and who he, you may ask?

Tom Salter cemented his rock/fashion credentials in the 60s by running the Gear empire which started in Carnaby Street, serving many a performer. Later, according to Chris’s book, he was involved in the Great Gear Market in the King’s Road, which housed a number of fantastic clothes outlets, including Marx and an outlet of BOY. In the centre was a record shop with a booth where DJs including one-time Rich Kids member Rusty egan played music.

Tom is mentioned in The Look, but what has never been revealed before - not in Chris’s book nor mine in fact - is that it was he who ran Tom Salter’s Café at 205 King’s Road.

Early in 1975 this wine bar was the venue for the first and only gig by a bunch of teenage chancers known as either The Strand or The Swankers (opinions differ), featuring Paul Cook on drums, Glen Matlock on bass, Steve Jones on vocals and the benighted Wally Nightingale on guitar.

(Pictured: Paul Cook, Wally Nightingale, and Steve Jones)

Within a matter of months Wally was on his way out, to be replaced by Nick Kent and then, when Steve Jones switched to guitar, by John Lydon as the Sex Pistols came into focus.

Joe Strummer witnessed the Pistols in April 76 and promptly left pub-rockers the 101ers to join The Clash. In the late 70s, The Clash having outlasted the Pistols, Joe met Tom Salter's daughter Gaby. They were together for several years and had two children. It’s interesting to note that – although there was deep rivalry between the Pistols and The Clash throughout their careers - their dual personal and professional destinies were influenced one way or another by a former rag trade merchant and his little wine bar in Chelsea.

It also turns me on to think that both Tom Salter and Glen Matlock came to the launch party of The Look in May 2006, some 31 years after that barely remembered first performance.

Text © Paul Gorman

Paul is the author of The Look. "Only The Look unveils the inextricable links between style, sounds and suss. To comment/contribute, click here."

©Paul Gorman / www.sex-pistols.net 2006
All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission

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