Sunday, 28 October 2007

Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks

The album that changed my life

It seems only right and proper that my first posting on this shiny new album based blog should be about the one record (or 'wreck-could' as Malcom Mclaren pronounces it) that had such a profound experience on me, it was my Garden of Eden moment. The Sex Pistols were the hissing spitting serpents and Never Mind The Bollocks was the apple that led me up the garden path into temptation.

I waa a just a nip too young for Punk in 77, and only liked 'nice’ music . A few of the album scraps in my pre-teen collection were the Beatles (Red Album and Help) Elvis (40 Greatest), K Tel (Disco Fever and Disco Stars) comps and the stomping Action Replay.

Punk had no appeal for me, the patchy, Punky clips and snatches of coverage I'd seen were all shouty, spiky and as scary as singing Daleks. Until my best friend played me ( possibly the swear-off selections from ) his older brothers copy of NMTB.On headphones.And at some volume.

It was like being blasted with gramophonic gamma rays. And when the ‘phones came off I was as fizzing and fired up as The Hulk. ‘nice’ had been atomized - all I wanted to do was rage in raggy togs to pumped up punk.

I cut and dyed my hair.
I made my own Punk T shirts.
I made pilgrimages to Kings Road.
I wanted to play guitar like Steve or Sid.

What me hit right between the ears was the walloping great wall of sound, the absolute anger 'anger is an energy '  as Lydon later sang, - venom and violence in rottens voice.The hand-in-knuckle duster fit of the music and lyrics. But I was a late developer, for the past four year the Pistols had been roaming the country like safety pinned Pied Pipers, and pockets of punks had been popping up like pimples all over the teenage face of Britain

And when the time came to capture and set in stone the full on ‘filth and fury’ of the Sex Pistols sound, I hate to think what would have happened if this explosive piece of nitro Rock history hadn't fallen into safe (but shaky in Bill's case )hands Of Chris Thomas and Bill Price. I've heard ALL the demos - Chris Spedding and later Dave Goodman did commendable work, but Chris Thomas and Bill Price sculptured and spit polished the teenage rage of Mclarens dead end street urchins into a highly layered and lacquered full on Panzer attack album.

I'm still amazed at how crafted and fully formed these songs are right from the very first fresh as a daisy demo stage. The song structures, the bridges, each track with its own exclusively unique intro - the jingle jangle chimes of Vacant, the minor chord menace of Bodies' the rip-start riffing of No Feelings.There are no weak links on NMTB and even the left overs Did You Know Wrong, Satellite, are cut from the same high quality cloth. Add to this Chris's mighty production ear for detail - The cymbals on GSTQ heighten the excitement, the 'guitar soup' which insulates this wall of sound - and Bills Engineering genius - the gated drum technique just add to the build quality. Think how many other albums from the first wave of punk - now sound thin, tinny and haven't endured. NMTB is a team effort and was crafted to last.

I don't know how many times I've heard NMTB since getting my first copy but I never get 'not in the mood ' moments. And if the mood is chipper it's like hearing a national anthem and I puff up with spikey pride.

God save the Sex Pistols, and thank God for Chris Thomas and Bill Price for delivering the end of the world from the worlds end

You can Read some Pistol packing facts

And my interview with Simone Stenfors
Recommended Reading
The Making Of NMTB DVD
The Making Of NMTB book
Anoraky In The UK
God save the Sex Pistols Site
Filth and the Fury - Sex Pistols Site
The Best Of Westwood and McLaren
Englands Dreaming - John Savage
Anarchy in Sweden - Sex Pistols Scandanavian Tour


marmiteboy said...

The thing I remember from the era (also being just a little bit too young for punk) was the infamous Grundy interview 9which I saw when it happened) and seeing a copy of the charts in Smiths when their wasn't a number onme because the Pistols had the gall to out sell all other records during Jubilee week.

Anarchy and Pretty Vacant still sound awesome today and still pump me up like they were intended to do thirty years ago.

Chris Thomas has had two entries on this site already. Hats off to such a fabulous producer.

Planet Mondo said...

Chris Thomas is the kiddie and a production genius - got to check out Classic Albums NMTB DVD it's a gem (watched it again last night)

I think he'll be back on the Long Player at some point. Roxy or solo Ferry album

marmiteboy said...

He mixed Dark Side Of The Moon too. Hippy shit but still a fine album.

Planet Mondo said...

Classic Albums DVD of DSOTM is another gem - It's one of those albums I've really grown into

The Reggae version dub side is a peach

Top lyrics too.

On The Run -
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun,
but it's sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to nought,
or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone the song is over,
Thought I'd something more to say

iamnotthebeatles said...

I was too young for punk too.

In the year it broke I was too busy listening to... this very record...

...and marvelling at 'Come Back My Love'.


Planet Mondo said...

I was spinning this winner when punk went bang.

K tel Disco Fever - great album, may have to log it in the blog

It includes these winners in the track list

RAH Band The Crunch
Meri Wilson Telephone Man
Space Magic Fly

Philip. said...

I remember a mate buying the Great Rock and Roll Swindle.

I was probably only 12 at the time (1979) but thought it was fantastic!

I've got hundreds of vinyl albums stuck in my loft and have just bought an ion turntable to convert them all for my ipod.

I've quite a lot of prog rock together with pretty much all Queen ever released.

Love the new blog!!

Vincent the Soul Chef said...

I will admit here that I was too busy listening to Disco when this record came out. When I heard it for the first time however, wow! That also holds true for any of the old Damned records (Damned Damned Damned, Machine Gun Ettiquette and The Black Album) among others... Simply put, when I found Punk (both British and American), my life was changed too...

Planet Mondo said...

Philip - Thanks for the comments
I bought Swindle after NMTB,check out the version you've got as one edition is a bit of a rarity.

Vince - great to see the Damned getting a shout and I will be logging Damned Albums in this blog - certainly the ones you've mentioned and definitly Strawberries the Punk Prog masterpiece (I may even ask Roman Jugg who played keys for them at the time to chip in)