Album Review by EDF
Sid Vicious, what was he about? For those who were not around twenty-five years ago, here is the history lesson. Music in the mid-70’s was in a dreadful state and so was the economy. At the time, London was starting to swing again but this time the place to be seen had moved location from the 60’s Mod and Hippy Carnaby Street to the up and coming Kings Road in the Chelsea suburb. From a clothes shop managed by one Malcolm McLaren, he brought together four misfits who played music faster than what was on offer with lyrics that meant something to the man on the street. With the media buying into the hype, the Sex Pistols quickly gained a notorious reputation to the point that local councils would ban them from performing live gigs.
After a brief time with EMI, they eventually signed a new record deal with Virgin Records. Unfortunately their bass player, Glen Matlock, missed out on the deal as he was fired and replaced by the youngster formally known as John Simon Ritchie, aka Sid Vicious. Even though Sid, unlike Matlock, looked and acted like a punk, he could not play the bass. That did not stop the Pistols and they eventually toured America but imploded on their last night of the tour in San Francisco.
Sid, who was constantly stoned, got together with groupie/girlfriend Nancy Spungen who, unfortunately for Sid, had a heroin problem. They both went back to the States where Sid made an unsuccessful attempt to kick-start his solo career. While in New York, a certain Mick Jones from The Clash would turn up and help Sid with one of his gigs. There are previously unreleased live tracks that now appear on CD for the first time. However, the media he gained was not to do with his music but with the murder of Nancy Spungen on 12 October 1978. While awaiting trial, Sid died of a drug overdose on 2 February 1979. This collection is a 25th anniversary picking the bare bones of what little recording material is available.
The live tracks are mostly of average quality and will, without a doubt, not be played that often and hold more of an interest for the curious Punk fan. The one thing you can pick up is the energy that Sid had to offer as a vocalist, in a punk sort of way. Other than the tracks originally released, this collection is for completists only. With a couple of extra takes and mixes, the best thing here is FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE, a curious cut and paste of various soundbites and interviews. This is a lesson to most so-called musicians with attitude who deliver boring mindless interviews and how it should really be done. Maybe somebody should stand up and give Sid the respect that is now overdue. This collection has heart but is quite limiting.