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.
And God Bless the Dazzler
May 21, 1966-March 19, 2007
UPDATE: This viral protest ad is hilarious however.