Sid is a punk rock icon. Considering he figured so prominently in the short life of the Sex Pistols, and knowing my interest in the band, Jack Jensen did the painting above just for me. He pulled the quote from an interview given on April 1, 1978. Sid was right, both he and Nancy were dead in less than a year. Lost souls. A kid living the rock-n-roll lifestyle to the extreme, becoming what others wanted him to be.
Saturday evening I loaded the truck up with my ski gear and drove into the mountains, finding a secluded spot in the Loveland basin ski area parking lot, away from the lights and sound of highway traffic. I was encouraged to go by the weather report: a storm moving across the west that was predicted to dump a couple feet of snow over two days in the northern and central Colorado mountains. I wanted a piece of that action.
The storm was just beginning when I arrived this evening, light wind and snow beginning to fall, not enough to stop me from opening the truck doors wide and turning up the music. Who knows what time it was when I went to sleep in the back under the camper shell.
The following day I rose at 7:30 am and had breakfast in the lodge. Howling wind and horizontal snow, with periodic white out conditions outside the windows, unable to see the short distance across the steep walled valley. Wind was reported to be gusting up to 100mph, keeping the lifts closed. Not wanting to wait or go home, I used the climbing skins to ascend the slopes, reaching the top of a run near lift 6. First tracks in 4 inches of new powder. By the time I turned around and carved fresh tracks down the mountain, lift 6 was back online and I had the first seat in the house. Since I was midway up the mountain, no one was checking for a lift ticket, mine still unused in the pocket. A free day of skiing! I wrapped it up at 1, had lunch and then joined the traffic creeping back to Denver. Home by 3:30 pm.
Martin Luther King
Honored black man's holiday
White out on the slopes
Cold front on a map
Weathermen predict its advance
Blowing in my face
Global high and lows
Brewing oceanic storms
Yields ice that stings his face
Raced across a continent
Tall black trees swaying
Cries "I have a dream!"
Longing for that sweet vision
Powder in the trees!
Saturday night back in the Loveland parking lot, first up was Sid Vicious playing Max's Kansas City in New York on September 29, 1978, a good recording of a show that lasted less than a half hour. The people he performed with were pretty good while the singing was so so. But the people were reacting to the performer, not the performance. This was months after the Sex Pistols broke up and the members went their various way, Sid winding up in NYC where he periodically performed.
Someones account of one of Sid's shows at Max's:
The place was jammed, drunk, smoked out and getting beyond angry. And then they came. Sid with New York Dolls Walter Lure and Jerry Nolan (holding Nancy Spungen's hand, yow!), a drummer named Steve Dior and on guitar the amazing Mick Jones from The Clash! And the Clash hadn't even played that first mind-blowing Palladium gig yet (Harold and I went to that too and it was AMAZING! They were never THAT amazing again the few times they returned). They assembled behind the stage's curtain and Sid stuck his head through it and gave us the almighty Sid wink and we knew it was gonna be FUN! The curtain opens and Mick Jones leads the band through primal Dolls and Pistols originals as well as 50s juvenile delinquent punk rock classics ("C'mon Everybody", "Somethin' Else"). Nancy was playing (kinda) tambourine. The audience went ballistic. Every chair and table got crushed with people spitting, throwing drinks, just pure mania. French guys pointing their fingers to the stage, "Seed Veeshus!! Seed!!!!". After the first song some girl yelled "I love you" to which Sid retorted "Shut yr fucking mouth, you stupid fucking cunt!". I'd seen bands get spit on and the bands would usually scowl, or worse, complain. Sid spit back! You could see his goobers spelonking in French punks eyeballs! This had to be WAAAY better than any ol' Sex Pistols gig, this was the flower and the poison in one glorious crash and burn. We left on fire knowing we had witnessed punk rock history, we were singed by it. We lived in NYC and we LOVED it.
Read it all here:
In less than 2 weeks after this show, Nancy Spungen, Sid's girlfriend died violently when she was found sprawled on the bathroom floor of their hotel room, dead from a single stab wound to the abdomen, later traced to a knife owned by Vicious. This was reportedly a "007" hunting knife he had obtained after seeing Dee Dee Ramone give one to The Dead Boys' Stiv Bators, although conflicting reports claim the knife to be a Jaguar K-11 with a five-inch blade. Vicious was immediately arrested and charged with second degree murder. Vicious pleaded not guilty and was released on bail. Four months after Nancy's death he overdosed taking a lethal amount of heroin and died before the trial could take place. The end of his very short career.
Next up were the Bunnymen, another variation of their performance at Royal Albert Hall on July 19, 1983, the Warner Music Edition. Fantastic sound! I wished they could have kept on playing for another half hour or more. Classic Bunnymen!!