Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

 

“There is a little punk rock mafia everywhere you go.  She is good to me, and I am good to her…” E. Hutz

Well, so far we’ve had the fathers of punk rock (the Ramones) and punk rock’s favorite child (The Clash), so it’s fitting that now we get the bastard sons of punk rock.  I was pretty excited when I found this album at the Half-Price Books in Upper Arlington (isn’t U.A. where all the punks in Columbus hang out?  I mean, who dares mess with the Chef-O-Nette gang?) for $6.99 minus my 10% teacher discount, and I popped it right into my car’s CD player on the way home.  And the first thing I noticed was how much this single release from the Sex Pistols influenced Guns ‘N Roses.  I have some early Guns demos, and they are pretty punky, but I never realized how much Slash and Izzy took directly from “Never Mind the Bollocks”.  How many times on “Appetite” and the “Illusions” do the Guns do that little guitar break where they take the rhythm part just a little higher under the solo, leading into the3rd verse/ final chorus?  “Nighttrain” is a good example from the Guns, and it comes straight out off of this record.

Actually, the similarities between the two bands don’t end with the music.  Both bands enjoyed excess, reveled in chaos, struggled with addictions, and fell apart after relatively short careers.  Both bands were notorious for inciting riots at their shows, both were censored due to their lyrical content, and both had a reputation for sloppy play.  Personnel wise, both bands had notoriously difficult lead singers, both bands fired a member (Glen Matlock for the Pistols and Steven Adler for the Guns) early on, and both bands split apart due to friction between the members.  Finally, both bands reference firearms in their names.  I’m sure the hardcore punk rockers will not be pleased that I am comparing one of the genre’s sacred bands to Guns ‘N Roses, one of the most reviled (and yet at the same time, revered) bands ever, but the similarities are there.

As for “Never Mind the Bollocks”, it is a fun 40 minutes of sarcasm and angry ranting.  Surprisingly melodic, there are singable choruses present that do not get lost in the sonic assault of the guitar, bass, and drums.  And while this album sort of fails to achieve the political righteousness of the Clash or the dead-pan sense of humor of the Ramones, it’s a nice balance between the two…fueled by a whole lot more anger.  And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that all the hate on this record that was directed at government and the class system and record labels also works perfectly when directed at the University of Michigan football team by the Dead Schembechlers.  No future for you.

Other lists: “Anarchy in the U.K.” is #56 and “God Save the Queen” is #175 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Also, the Sex Pistols rank #60 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists and Steve Jones ranks #97 on the list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists.

My favourite track: “God Save the Queen”

Honourable mention: “Holidays in the Sun”

Quote: “Blind acceptance is a sign of stupid fools who stand in line.”

Advertisements