Why The Sex Pistols Deserve More Respect

I love these guys!

I love these guys!

The husband and I rewatched the great Sex Pistols documentary The Filth And The Fury and it reminded me what a great band they were, and how the teenagers of today don’t respect them enough.

What I am always seeing online are kids who compare The Sex Pistols to a boy band because of Malcom McClaren putting the band together. The main HUGE difference between boy bands and the Pistols is the fact that they wrote all of their own music. Usually it was John Lydon writing the lyrics while the rest of the band played something they had just made up. When have boy bands played their own instruments or written all of their own music? Yes, I just told you to sit the hell down! These same kids will go on and on about how much they love The Clash, which by the way was directly formed in order to compete with the Pistols. The Clash were a huge band and played stadiums. In fact I remember a totally normal classmate in junior high who bragged going to one such event. Now, who were the sellouts?

Not only did they influence a ton of bands, everyone from The Damned to Siouxsie And The Banshees, they also paved the way for people to feel comfortable being a freak in a society that they didn’t want to be a part of. Up until that time there wasn’t a musical movement that told people that it was okay to be different, that you didn’t have to follow what everybody else did because they told you to. Yes, there was the counterculture of the 1960’s but that was all about peace, loving everybody else and growing you hair long. Punk, originally, was about expressing yourself, no matter how you chose to do it. Later it did become a uniform, one in which I think it’s crass to adopt these days.

The danger element in what they did should not be overlooked. What band signed band today would have the balls to play a song called God Save The Queen? Go ahead….I’ll give you a moment. None. They created songs that went against the status quo thinking of the time and this pissed a whole lot of people off. Malcom McClaren claimed that he orchestrated all of this, which is a huge lie. When it comes down to it he didn’t know what the hell he was doing the vast majority of the time. It’s no surprise that he stole the band’s money, but he got frightened when he realized just how pissed off people were. John Lydon, among others, were physically attacked while walking down the street simply because of who he was. In fact, it was damned dangerous to be different back then. I would like to argue that this aspect has still not gone totally away, with the murder of Sophie Lancaster by a group of assholes a few years ago.

No surprise, I’m a huge fan of The Sex Pistols and saw them live on their 25th anniversary tour in the US. Lydon went on about how bands like Green Day aren’t punk and never will be punk. Agreed! I started listening to them in 86 and they were my gateway band into not only punk, but into Goth. Without punk there would be no Goth subculture, and don’t you forget it!