Sunday, June 19, 2011

No Future. Hate Tyrants. Be Someone.

The Sex Pistols, Nevermind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols(1977)

     As history played out, it showed that the majority of Americans misunderstood much of the no-survivors-not-even-us stance of the punk-rock New Wave, anarchy in the U.K. mentality. When the main enemy is an oppressive mood of collective hopelessness, no one learns faster from experience than the would-be, murderers of society... Enter Sex Pistols. In a commercial sense, the Sex Pistols didn't really destroy anything but themselves. But they took rock & roll seriously and personally, as a matter of pride and necessity, and they played with an energy and conviction that is transcendent in its hatred. It ain't pretty folks, it ain't all that accessible neither, it often sounds like two locomotives colliding under forty feet of mud, but it has a David and Goliath power that will give you goosebumps and lead you fantasizing about burning everything you own and starting the insurrection yourself, for no reason other than your own desire to throw beer bottles at riot police.
     Instead of exploiting the commercial potential of revolution, like what became of the Stones "Street Fighting Man" or The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," the Sex Pistols chose to explore their actual influence on culture. In some sense they absorbed from reggae and Rastafarianism, the idea of a culture making such fantastically outrageous demands upon those who operate society. Demands that no government could ever satisfy; demands that will create a culture that will be exclusive, separatist, apocalyptic, righteous, and stoic, and that will ignore or smash any contradiction inherent in such complexity of stances. 'Anarchy in the U.K.' became, among many things, the white kids 'War on Babylon.'
     They were haters, not lovers and this open defiance of anything structured, stood in stark contrast, to the fact that any revolution in America, is usually based on a platform of a workers-united revolt or acid-casualties, holding hands around the Pentagon and trying to make it levitate. This new militant radicalism, demanding a complete reconfiguration of society, via an immediate dismantling of the government terrified and galvanized American youth. But before we make the Sex Pistols and their minions and associates into tea-and-crumpet Sandinista's, we must remember that this band had more on their minds than being a rock & roll centerpiece for enlightened political discussion. First and foremost, they are musicians, not philosophers, this means they are more interested in making the best and loudest possible noise, than they are in any logical, or illogical, inverted political doctrine.
      It's all speed, not nuance and explodes like a 500 gallon drum of diesel fuel. Johnny Rotten may be a lunatic, but he's got a right to be. Overpowered by his own brand of accusatory dynamite, he stands in front of the mirror, "in love with myself, my beautiful self",  the lyrics that result in the title "No Feelings." You ask for "Holidays in the Sun," he screams, "I wanna go to new Belsen." Johnny Rotten seems to saunter right on through the ego and straight into the realm of his own id and then proceeds to beat the mother-loving fuck out of it. On the subject of relationships or basic human interaction all you get out of Rotten is "See my face, not a trace, no reality," or openly thrashing his own cultural demographic "we're so pretty, oh so pretty/we're vacant/and we don't care," all in the same song where he declares that the Queen "ain't no human being" and England's "a fascist regime." All that said, NO ONE should be frightened away from this album. "Anarchy in the U.K." and especially "God Save the Queen" are perfect rock songs, classics in the vein of "My Generation," "Voodoo Child," "Satisfaction" or "Sunshine of Your Love." 
     Those that judge the Pistols specifically in terms of destruction should stop and remember that any theory of chaos as pretentious as Johnny Rotten's, also contains freedom and beauty. Because anybody who has the capacity for such extreme passion is probably not as much of a nihilist as they come of as, but rather ironically, a moralist and a romantic. In order to direct such passionate hatred towards an unjust system and establishment, you need some honest moral grounds to measure that injustice against. The Sex Pistols want to see everything destroyed, in order to see what is left. Johnny Rotten thinks something will be. Lets fucking hope he's right. 

Here's a prime track that I'm sure most of you are unfamiliar with. 

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