Sex Pistols Diary #3

Howdy Cool Cats and Crazy Kittens,

One thing that’s great about being my age is that I have a perspective about the way things used to be. When the Sex Pistols came out in the seventies, real rock and roll was all but dead. I remember because I was there. Disco was this huge thing and I could not understand why. I had this friend who told me that her favorite song was “Disco Duck”. I was shocked and hurt. All of this fancy prancey silly sounding music for nine year old girls was ruling the airwaves. People at Studio 54 had to snort coke because that’s the only way that anyone could listen to that stupid stuff. To me, Jerry Lee Lewis was a boogie woogie piano player and there was nothing boogie woogie about some disco song where they sang ‘Boogie woogie oogie’. Disco posed as rock and roll. Posing was what disco was all about.

Then, all of the sudden, the punk rock thing came in and tried to save the world from pretty boy disco dudes who were great at posing. Notice that I said ‘tried’. Unfortunately, disco was a mountain that’s still there in the form of DJ’s posing as real musicians, techno boys programming computers and the same funk beat that seems to be on every song that the music industry spoon feeds to the masses. But, try they did. The Sex Pistols, The Ramones and others did the world a favor when they threw themselves at the disco mountain.

Now, the struggle continues. But, unless some of these fans of modern punk realize where it came from, punk rock will just end up being a pose too. I know, I know. Punk rock is all about doing your own thing without any recognition of what came before. OK. But, Sid Vicious did ‘Something Else’ by Eddie Cochran, The Ramones sang about Jerry Lee and the Sex Pistols did their own version of the wild, unleashed rock and roll beat that had it’s roots in the fifties. There’s some song out now where they sing something like ‘still I’m going under’. It’s a funk beat and it’s not as wild as Little Richard bangin’ straight eights on a piano. And it’s not as wild as Johnny Rotten.

Where am I going with this? My point is that when I found out that three shows on this Sex Pistols tour were canceled due to poor ticket sales, it made me think about all those people who chump down twenty-five bucks for a Green Day T-shirt and then complain about a forty dollar ticket to get the experience of a lifetime. I’m sure these guys in bands like Green Day and Blink 182 will tell you that The Sex Pistols are what influenced them. So, when I heard that the show in Cleveland was canceled because they only sold fifty tickets in advance, it made me wonder how many people in Cleveland were wearing Blink 182 T-shirts and posing. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not disrespecting Blink 182 and Green Day. When they play rock and roll beats, they too are throwing themselves at the disco mountain. I’m just pissed because of the fifty tickets thing.

Today’s gig was in Toronto. The border crossing was thankfully easy this time. The venue was Molson Amphitheater. I was trying to work out an issue with our bus that we were leasing. It was dangerous. The front bumper was about to fall off. The trailer hitch was not attached correctly. The tail pipe was crushed flat so someone just cut a hole in it. So, I was on the phone trying to rectify the situation and I didn’t see most of the show. But, I heard that at one point people were spitting and throwing stuff and the Sex Pistols walked off the stage. When they came back, John Lydon said that the throwing and spitting thing was a cliche’. After putting the posers in their place, they continued on.

You know, my problem right now is with business. I want to play guitar. Unfortunately, I have these things pop up that must be dealt with. It keeps me from doing other things that I’d rather be doing, but, such is life. I really can’t complain too much.

The Detroit and Cleveland shows were canceled, so it’s on to Chicago.

Oh yeah, before I go I have to get something off of my chest. If you are in a band that is opening up for us and the stage is a little tight, do what we do when we open up the show — deal with it. After our sound check, when we are closing the show, we have to leave our stuff where it is because moving it would mean twice as much work for our crew guys. You can ask our crew guys to do it, but, if they say yes, that means that you get the luxury of walking straight on stage with your stuff already set up and ready to rock you rock star you. Then, we don’t have that luxury. If you come up directly to me and ask me to do it (or tell my crew to do it), you’re trying to power-play my crew. That is an asshole maneuver that is for rock star wannabes. I can’t let you do that to my crew, they work hard enough already

Thanks For The Gig,
Jim “Reverend Horton Heat”