Saturday, February 19, 2011

BACK TO 1978

It was Friday and it meant a trip to Jack Jensen's shop to see what new work was gracing the walls. Several new pieces, but nothing that grabbed me on first sight. Instead we talked about the possibility of doing several commission pieces with a rock/punk music theme. I took the idea home with me and will soon be providing him with specifics that I find exciting. I'm already waiting in anticipation.

Friday night found me standing outside alongside the truck with the volume cranked to a level I thought would not attract the neighbors, considering the music started sometime after 10 PM. Up first were the Sex Pistols, their live show on January 5, 1978, a very good recording, wishing Johnny came through a bit more clearly. This was their first US gig at the Great Southeast Music Hall in Atlanta, GA before an estimated attendance of 500 people.

From Jon Savage's England's Dreaming:

The five-hundred strong audience paled before a horde of journalists, TV crews and members of both the Atlanta and Memphis Vice Squads. Nobody quite knew what to expect, although most expected the worst: they got the worst, but not in the way that they were expecting.

The Sex Pistols did what they always did when they were under intense scrutiny: they stank. Steve Jones's guitar was out of tune, the rhythm section's timing was out and John Lydon's voice was hopelessly flat. There was no murder, no vomiting, no mutilation: just four pale twenty to twenty-one year olds trying to either get on with the big beat or to confound the expectations of spectacle. "Aren't we the worst thing you've ever seen," John Lydon asked the audience, "you can all stop staring at us now."

Sid Vicious completely disappeared after the show: "He went AWOL to get a feel for America." "Sid found these fans that were straight out of Ziggy Stardust. He just showed up again in the morning."

What was I doing back then? I was probably hanging out at my parents house on Long Island, home from school, looking forward to my final semester at the University of Buffalo. How naive I was back then, missing out on all this fun stuff happening musically around me.

Get the show from pilhead:

The next show was at Max's Kansas Steakhouse in New York City, the night of September 30, 1978. This was after the Sex Pistols died a quiet death, Sid and Nancy moving to New York. This is probably the last recording of Sid performing ever. Nancy was found stabbed to death in their apartment on October 12, 1978 at age 20. Sid was found dead in the apartment form a drug overdose at age 21 on February 7, 1979.

And where was I? Attending my first semester at the University of Oregon, head buried in books, my only link to the music world being my Pioneer receiver, which served me well for many years and was only recently retired to the trash heap. As you can see, I'm making up for lost time. For all I know, I could have passed Sid and Nancy walking on the street during one of my trips to NYC in the summer of 1978.

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