Friday, October 10, 2008

"Johnny Rotten, You Fat Old Irish Fuck"

Way back in the Year of Our Lord 1996, the Sex Pistols announced they were reuniting to tour. I'd seen PiL in '86 but this was different. I didn't care if the band lipsynched the whole damn record. I was going to be there. So my buddy Stephen Schubert "borrowed" a car from his job at the Porsche dealership which we loaded down with a variety of drugs and booze for the three hour drive from Houston to Austin. After innumerable pit stops and dust-ups we finally made it to the venue, jacked, as they say, to the gills. The Sex Pistols were slated to play a former K-Mart in an abandoned strip center. As we drove up nothing hinted at a punk show. It was just a huge deserted parking lot with a few cars, no loitering punks, and even weirder, no cops.

The venue was sparsely populated with an unexpected mix of mexican rancheros and leather fags. Now in the old days gay bars were the only place punk bands could play so that was reasonable and it gave the dull cavernous space hope. The Mexicans I had no idea about. But Mexicans are fun. I only mention this curious blend of concert goers because there was no one who looked to have ever been affialated with underground hardcore or even popular punk stuff.

So it's a weird crowd, we're blitzed, and it's hot as shit. Had to be 95 degrees inside at 10pm. No AC. But with the 'punk & disorderly' spirit possessing us, we gave the place and crowd our full attention. We rolled around like Sid Vicious had dropped us off himself, bullshitting with anyone who would talk to us and trampling roughshod over the rest. "Support or Die" was the tongue in cheek motto of the moment. As we continued ramping up in anticipation of the show, I decided we should go backstage. This thinking didn't portend any journalistic interest, rather the opposite, I wanted to drink the Sex Pistols' beer and I was certain they'd share a pint with a couple of kindred spirits flying on mushrooms. There was no security so getting backstage took about 10 seconds of effort.

Okay now is the start of the story I've come to tell.

We slip past the barricades through a curtain and there they are, the four of them, John, Steve, Paul and Glen. All alone. Staring at us. They walked right up to us probably half assuming we were supposed to be there. It was just the Sex Pistols and us, frozen for a second eying one another. Sensing the moment, I reached out to catch Glen's hand saying with great emphasis, "Glen Matlock, you are my favorite Sex Pistol!" As the moment played out in silence I looked to Schubert. He was just staring drunkenly at Johnny Rotten. And Johnny Rotten was staring back at him. Then slowly Schubert deadpanned, "Johnny Rotten, you fat old Irish fuck." I gulped having lived through a similar situation between Schubert and Dennis Rodman while out on the latter's boat. Anyway, Rotten was better prepared for the moment merely grunting "piss off" and flinging a can of Guinness that knocked Schubert's glasses off and cartoonishly bruised his forehead  Then the Sex Pistols were gone. They marched past us, jumped on stage, and launched into Bodies. My body went numb. We were left to our own devices.

That's the story. It's one of the proudest rock 'n roll moments of my life primarily because Glen Matlock was never anyone's favorite Sex Pistol. That riff had caught the whole band off guard. While the spontaneous 1-2 of willfully misplaced adulation combined with Schubert's "fat old Irish fuck" quip has to be one the most absurd, i.e., punk moments in Sex Pistols lore. The rest of the night was a blur of backstage beers being thrown in both of our faces.

And it's because of that night I'm giving John Lydon a pass on the Country Life TV advert. We shared a riotous time. The lump never really went away. And for a moment we were all friends.

Bravo Mr Lydon. Bravo Absurdity.

And God Bless the Dazzler
Stephen Schubert
May 21, 1966-March 19, 2007

UPDATE: This viral protest ad is hilarious however.


Jesse said...

That's funny that anyone would say Matlock is their favorite Sex Pistol though arguably without him they would've been nothing. Dude got screwed! Nice for him to have someone at least pretend he's their fav.
Cool former VBS host Gabe Soria does a interesting bit with Glen here

Jenner said...

Great story, Trace. Long live the Dazzler!

rusty said...

stephen schubert was one of the ballsiest fucks to ever walk God's green earth

nina said...

Asked about a Pistols reunion in the past you've said, "What are we gonna do, dig up Sid"? Do you think that might make a better spectacle?

I thought about that, but Sid's ashes were blown all over the airport. We'd need a fucking hoover!

haha, fuck sid

archhero said...

Nice one, he was always very proud of that story.

amy sue said...

Great great story

Muleman said...

Had lunch with Dazzler the other day...west hollywood chicken and lemon wedges


the running mule

the running mule