Friday, October 26, 2007

Sex Pistols Sell Out (and Sell Out)

When I was a punky young thing trapped in the body of blowdried blonde advertising chick, I used to drive to work listening to Holidays in the Sun on my car tape deck and sing (okay, shout) along. The Sex Pistols were agreeably disagreeable, and they dared to flout authority with spectacular rudeness and bluster, something this well-brought-up girl could only dream about in Walter Mitty moments as she sat at her IBM Selectric, trying to think up clever ways to sell things--banking, for example, and ice-cream bars--that people needed and wanted anyway.

So I really have no moral leg to stand on when it comes to criticizing the Sex Pistols for selling out.

Not that I'm going to let that stop me, though. Oh, no. Because I'm more than a little irritated to learn that the band famous for flipping off what we post-Free Love youngsters continued to refer to as The Establishment have, in their middle years, been happily selling their souls to that very Establishment while signing over the rights to their back catalog to Universal Publishing Group. Which in turn has targeted Range Rover and British Airways, among others, to use Sex Pistols songs in their advertising.

Sex Pistols songs in their advertising.

For crying out loud. (As opposed to singing and shouting out loud.)

The band still plays the occasional club show, though, as they did at a sold-out private concert last night, at the Roxy in L.A., part of a warmup for the inevitable Sex Pistols Reunion Tour.

About 500 sweaty fans packed the Roxy Theatre for the private show, the group's first public performance in four years. The English foursome played almost all of their songs during the hour-long set, including their best-known tunes "Anarchy in the U.K." and "God Save the Queen."

The show was predictably a little rusty, with singer John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) forgetting the words to the first song of the night, "Holidays in the Sun." But he added some bonus lyrics along the way, notably "Paris Hilton, kiss my arse" in "Stepping Stone."

He also struggled with sound problems and the heat.

"It's hotter than (expletive) hell up here," said Lydon, 51, clad in a traditional Indian kurta, tartan pants and blue vest and guzzling red wine from the bottle.

I suppose it could've been worse--I'm picturing Johnny Rotten sporting a Just Say No t-shirt autographed by Nancy Reagan, drinking glucosamine smoothies between sets and appearing in Viagra commercials on MSNBC the following week.

Someone tell me I'm not getting old. Please.

I didn't ask for sunshine and I got World War Three
I'm looking over the wall and they're looking at me
Now I got a reason
Now I got a reason

Now I got a reason and I'm still waiting...

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