Sex Pistols bass player Sid Vicious (aka John Simon Ritchie) — who was given his famous moniker by bandmate John Lydon after Lydon’s pet hamster Sid bit Ritchie’s finger — would have been 58 today. Before he became a music icon, his friends knew Sid as a David Bowie fan. In the book England’s Dreaming, Lydon recalled:
He’d do silly things to get his hair to stick up, because it never occurred to him to use hairspray. He’d like upside down with his head in an oven. Sid was such a poser, a clothes hound of the worst kind. Anything 19 told you to wear, he’d have to have it.
Clothes played a greater part in Sid’s life when he turned 17 and started hanging out at a shop in London that catapulted his image as a punk. Here are other hangouts and clubs where famous musicians found their start — the venues that helped plant the seeds of stardom.
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The progenitors of punk probably never imagined themselves in photographs that would be selling at art auctions, but the New York City scene during the ‘70s and ’80s continues to prove irresistible. Allan Tannenbaum’s rare “punk portfolio” is up for auction — and the kind folks at artnet Auctions gave us a preview of the images. From 1973 to ’82, Tannenbaum was SoHo Weekly News’ chief photographer and photo editor, covering art, music, and political happenings, capturing New York City nightlife at underground clubs like the Mudd Club, CBGB, and Max’s Kansas City. All the familiar players are featured in Tannenbaum’s set, including a very sweaty Iggy Pop, Sid Vicious being dragged off by the police, and a chic Debbie… Read More
That’s Prof Pop to you! In addition to his BBC Radio 6 DJ post over the last year, the Godfather of Punk delivered BBC Music’s annual John Peel Lecture Tuesday night (October 13) in an hour-long presentation at the Lowry theater in Salford, Manchester. His topic — “Free Music In a Capitalist Society” — was a fascinating one, particularly for a musical icon who has moved in and out of DIY and commercial realms for much of his career, eventually having little shame over licensing “Lust For Life” to a Carnival Cruise commercial (among other ads). “If I want to make money, well, how about selling car insurance?” he postured. “At least I’m honest. It’s an ad, and that’s all it is. If I had to depend on what I actually get from sales, I’d be tending bars between sets.”
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“If I could play the Sandman for Dario, it would make my life complete. And I hope I haven’t… Read More
There’s nothing cool about lung cancer, but just try telling that to the lizard brains of those of us who grew up worshiping the chimney-like rock icons of the ’60s through the ’90s — and leave it to a Parisian to remind us of smoking’s illicit appeal. In a series called Smoke Signals, French artist Léo Dorfner takes a novel approach to juxtaposing music and cigarettes, painting iconic album covers — Daft Punk, David Bowie, Sex Pistols — on the insides of empty Gitanes packs. Click through to view some highlights from the series, which we spotted via Junkculture… and if you’re feeling tempted to light up, just throw the two words emblazoned on the front of each pack into Google Translate.
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Scott Asheton, aka Rock Action, the Stooges’ drummer, died over the weekend. If you’re a music fan, you’ve probably read the news items by now. They all say the same thing: that Asheton and his brother Ron met Iggy in Michigan in the 1960s, that they were founding members of The Stooges, that they labored in relative obscurity after the band disintegrated in a haze of drugs and acrimony in the mid-’70s, that they reemerged in the 2000s to reunite with Iggy and tour the world. None of them say what they should say: that no one played drums like Scott Asheton. And that no drummer was more important to their band’s sound than he was to The Stooges’.
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Despite the fact that they discouraged Led Zeppelin, Curtis Mayfield, and Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood, the 1971 Esquire guide… Read More
Just before New Year’s Eve, we ran a rather lighthearted list of great anthems to getting wasted. It should probably go without saying that we’re not in any way given to endorsing the perniciously self-destructive nature of rock ‘n’ roll mythology. Still, in the interests of balance (and also, to be honest, because your correspondent is still nursing a pretty epic hangover), here’s a selection of songs that discuss the opposite side of the equation — generally with quite a bit more subtlety and insight than your average newspaper columnist: anthems to sobriety, and cautionary tales about what happens when your fondness for getting on the booze and/or drugs tips over into something destructive. Stay safe out there.
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