Ungrateful Sex Pistols Incapable Of Saying Thank You

On March 13, 2006, The Sex Pistols will be among a small number of musical notables who will be formally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.   (The others are Blondie, Black Sabbath, Miles Davis, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the founders of the now-defunct A&M Records, Herb Alpert & Jerry Moss.  There will also be some Sidemen inductees which haven’t been announced yet.)   It’s an incredible honour for a notorious foursome known for only one proper studio album, Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols. 
 
And yet, there’s a problem.  The band has announced they will not attend the ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.  On John Lydon’s official website, as well as the official band site, there’s an unsigned, crudely handwritten, one-page message that looks like it was written by a drunken, failing English student.  (More on that shortly.)
 
Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten because he’s a dentist’s worst nightmare, is the band’s long-time frontman.  One wonders what he and his on-again/off-again bandmates are thinking by publicly posting this badly expressed rant against those in the music business who would dare to honour their achievement by voting them in democratically.  Think about it.  You’re in a band that made one big splash and faded away, only to return every now and again for the occasional reunion tour.  A group of music industry notables decide now is the time to honour that terrific album you put out nearly 30 years ago and your response is to badmouth them and your honour?  Then again, graciousness has never been this band’s strength.
 
Not once have I heard any of the members express any gratitude to the people who’ve supported them at any time during their careers.  Not for any of the good reviews they received, for musicians who cite them as an important influence, for anyone who dares to give them an award and certainly, not for anyone who pays them a compliment for anything they’ve done.  (John Lydon once publicly complained that he gets tired of people saying “Great gig, man!” after a show.  He is the only person in the world who has allergic reactions to positive feedback.)
 
But this railing against the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the most embarrassing thing they’ve ever done.  Why is it so difficult to say “thank you” for being considered?  True, it took 6 tries but so what?  At least your band won’t be forgotten.  Would it kill the band once, just once, to show some appreciation after years of bad press, boycotts, government bans and even violent attacks from passersby?  Isn’t it better to receive this honour than getting stabbed in the hand so bad you lose all feeling in it?  (Ask John Lydon about that.)  Isn’t it also better than being in a coma?  (Ask John Lydon about that, as well.)
 
This message that they’ve endorsed (without any of their signatures present) is childish and dumb.  Calling rock and roll and the Hall of Fame “a piss stain” in comparison to the Pistols is the height of undeserved arrogance, particularly from a band so stupid they fired their original bass player (Glen Matlock, an important songwriting contributor) and replaced him with a guy so out of his mind on drugs he couldn’t play on stage or in the studio.  That move plus the ill-fated US tour in 1978 assured the band’s swift demise.  (Sid Vicious, the replacement would-be bass player, died in 1979.)  It’s clear they think they’re better than everybody else in the Hall which might explain the long delay in honouring them.  If they’re truly the best, how come they haven’t written a new song in 30 years? 
 
Riddled with spelling and grammatical mistakes, not to mention a whiny, sucky-baby attitude, it’s hard to take any of their ungraciousness seriously.  It’s also a bit hard to understand.  What is so bad about being recognized for a great album? 
 
Then, there’s this: “Fame at $25,000 if we paid for a table, or $15,000 to squeak up in the gallery, goes to a non-profit organisation [sic] selling us a load of old famous [sic].”  Are they saying this isn’t truly an honour because they have to pay for it and if they did cough up the dough, it would go towards preserving an important history they refuse to recognize?  This requires a more cogent explanation.  I’ve always believed that getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is no honour because you have to pay $10,000 (and be voted in by a committee) to get one.  I have never heard of paying your way to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  The Sex Pistols would’ve made a much stronger case for snubbing the induction ceremony if they provided actual proof that this is no honour and is actually a scam to get money out of aging rock stars.  But because none of them are capable of putting coherent sentences together, their statement meanders and annoys, instead of winning you over.   And as I said, they’re incapable of saying thank you at any time for anything remotely positive whether it’s geniune or not.  The words “graciousness” and “Sex Pistol” are never found in the same sentence.
 
Also confusing is this:  “If you voted for us, hope you noted your reasons.  Your [sic] anonymous as judges, but your [sic] still music industry people.”  And your point would be?
 
Finally, the annoying message ends with this: “Were [sic] not coming.  Your [sic] not paying attention.”  And the last line once again emphasizes the band is better than everybody else because they’re not part of the mainstream.  They’re probably more upset they can’t compete with the mainstream considering it took 19 years for their album to sell a million copies in a country that has 300 million inhabitants.     
 
There’s no better way to say this.  The Sex Pistols are a one-album wonder and are lucky to even be talked about today in any kind of reverent tone considering how many more important performers who’ve had actual, fulfilling, long-term careers (like Iggy Pop) remain locked out of the Hall. 
 
I hope they reconsider their foolishness and attend the ceremony.  I also hope they learn to say “thank you” at some point in their life.  I know I’m wasting my breath.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, February 24, 2006
6:59 p.m.
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Published in: on February 24, 2006 at 7:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

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