Happy Birthday Young Son...
May 10, 2016 5:28 PM   Subscribe

He did it his way Sid Vicious was born John Simon Ritchie on May 10, 1957, in London. As a high school dropout, his "punk" look captured the eye of Malcom McLaren, creator of the Sex Pistols. After the band broke up in 1978, Vicious holed up in New York's Chelsea Hotel with his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. Their relationship was full of ups and downs, leading to the eventual mysterious murder of Spunger. Not long after, on February 2, 1979, Vicious was found dead in New York City. He was something else.

He died in a tragic way.
Sid tries to explain things.

Vicious joined the Sex Pistols in early 1977 to replace Glen Matlock, who had fallen out of favour with the rest of the group. Due to intravenous drug use, Vicious was hospitalised with hepatitis during the recording of the band's only studio album Never Mind the Bollocks. Accordingly, his bass is only partially featured on one song from the album. Vicious would later appear as a lead vocalist, performing three cover songs, on the soundtrack to The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, a largely fictionalised documentary about the Sex Pistols, produced by the group's former manager Malcolm McLaren and directed by Julien Temple.
During the Sex Pistols' brief, chaotic ascendancy, Vicious met eventual girlfriend and manager Nancy Spungen, and the pair entered a destructive codependent relationship based on drug use. This culminated in Spungen's death from an apparent stab wound while staying in New York City's Hotel Chelsea with Vicious. Under suspicion of having committed Spungen's murder, Vicious was released on bail; he was later arrested again for assaulting Todd Smith, brother of Patti Smith, at a night club, and underwent drug rehabilitation on Rikers Island. In celebration of Vicious' release from prison, his mother hosted a party for him at his girlfriend's residence in Greenwich Village, which was attended notably by the Misfits bassist Jerry Only. Vicious' mother had been supplying him with drugs and paraphernalia since he was young; late that night she assisted him in procuring heroin, and he died in his sleep after overdosing on it. (wiki)
posted by shockingbluamp (25 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite


 
And, don't forget, he was the original drummer for Siouxsie and the Banshees.

For one show.
posted by SansPoint at 5:39 PM on May 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


The saddest part of The Filth and the Fury was John Lydon trying to explain how he tried to help Sid, but couldn't.

"He was one of the four Johns," meaning the collection of kids named John who would come from the East End to hang out at SEX.

And fuck Malcolm McLaren.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:10 PM on May 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


My favourite Sid Vicious story is that Jah Wobble (aka John Wardle, of Four Johns fame) nicked Sid's bass to learn how to play. Because Sid wasn't using it...
posted by prismatic7 at 8:09 PM on May 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


I tend to go with the theory that the main impetus for bringing Sid in was to get rid of Glen Matlock, ostensibly because he liked the Beatles too much but really because Lydon felt outnumbered by the actual musicians in the group otherwise. Nothing against Sid personally--I share a birthday with him and two other Johns, John Constantine and John Wilkes Booth--but being a rock star did him absolutely no favors.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:11 PM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Nobody else is disturbed by the whole "stabbed his girlfriend in her abdomen and stuffed her under a sink to die" thing?
posted by SakuraK at 12:20 AM on May 11, 2016 [9 favorites]


underwent drug rehabilitation on Rikers Island
That sounds less than fun.

which was attended notably by the Misfits bassist Jerry Only.
Notably. Sure.

Vicious' mother had been supplying him with drugs and paraphernalia since he was young;
Gross!

Man, Sid probably could have flown away in a breeze, but his hands are positively monstrous. OD at 21.

I'm glad PIL became a thing. That's just the first thing I thought about when watching the, "I did it my way" video. That and holy f**k dude, don't make a video of yourself shooting people dead right before you face charges of killing your girlfriend.
posted by alex_skazat at 12:42 AM on May 11, 2016


I'm sorry when anyone dies at 21, of course, and there's no doubt that Sid's upbringing dealt him a pretty tough hand. That said, though, he was a repeatedly violent junkie who was quite unable to play his chosen instrument in even the most basic way - and in all likelihood, a murderer as well. If we must deify dead rock stars, let's at least try to choose those who've exhibited some discernible talent as songwriters and/or musicians.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:56 AM on May 11, 2016 [11 favorites]


Nobody else is disturbed by the whole "stabbed his girlfriend in her abdomen and stuffed her under a sink to die" thing?

I am. I find it hard to venerate him because of that (though, if I knew about the sink thing, I've blocked it out - and I've seen Sid & Nancy).

Vicious was hospitalised with hepatitis during the recording of the band's only studio album Never Mind the Bollocks.

Kind of implies he might have recorded the bass to more than one song, but - and I'm no expert - I've never really believed that they used his take for 'Bodies'. It doesn't sound sloppy enough.
posted by Mezentian at 1:27 AM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]






There is also evidence that Marco Rubio's father helped kill JFK.
And that there are Pyramids on Mars too.
And that Mayans placed their cities using the stars!
posted by Mezentian at 4:27 AM on May 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think that the maybe-Sid-didn't-kill-Nancy people are really in that category. The Chelsea Hotel was a pretty sleazy place, pre-gentrification, and a lot of money was missing from their room when Nancy's body was found.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:47 AM on May 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Have you read Nancy's biography? Admittedly biased as it was written by her mother, but it sounds like Nancy felt suicidal and goaded him into a murder/suicide pact. Sounds plausible.
posted by Melismata at 7:20 AM on May 11, 2016


> Nobody else is disturbed by the whole "stabbed his girlfriend in her abdomen and stuffed her under a sink to die" thing?

I'll tell you what I'm disturbed by: people so proud of their oh-so-sensitive moral sensibilities that they use them to club everybody else for not being sufficiently morally sensitive if they didn't immediately pony up the same moral gotcha.
posted by languagehat at 7:42 AM on May 11, 2016 [9 favorites]


No, I think in this case, the "Sid:killer or hunk?" thing is worth considering.

88HH or whatever.
posted by Mezentian at 7:51 AM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Of course it's worth considering; my point wasn't that it shouldn't be brought up but that the way to bring it up is not (what amounts to) "None of you assholes even mentioned..." but (e.g.) "Let's not forget..."
posted by languagehat at 9:07 AM on May 11, 2016


> Nobody else is disturbed by the whole "stabbed his girlfriend in her abdomen and stuffed her under a sink to die" thing?

I'll tell you what I'm disturbed by: people so proud of their oh-so-sensitive moral sensibilities that they use them to club everybody else for not being sufficiently morally sensitive if they didn't immediately pony up the same moral gotcha.


I'm personally disturbed by the way people fall over themselves to make excuses for famous guys they like when they do something horrible to a woman.
posted by Brain Sturgeon at 9:54 AM on May 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


A couple weeks before the stabbing, I saw Sid and Nancy at Max's Kansas City. Incredible energy and lots of spit. I think the set lasted all of 35 minutes.
posted by sixpack at 11:59 AM on May 11, 2016


I'll tell you what I'm disturbed by: people so proud of their oh-so-sensitive moral sensibilities that they use them to club everybody else for not being sufficiently morally sensitive if they didn't immediately pony up the same moral gotcha.

I'm disturbed by recursive statements.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:57 PM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm just disturbed.
posted by Paul Slade at 4:51 AM on May 12, 2016


But Disturbed are metal (er... "metal") not punk.
posted by Mezentian at 5:23 AM on May 12, 2016


Why was my comment here deleted? Surely people can't cast aspersions without some sort of reply?
posted by marienbad at 5:43 PM on May 14, 2016


Are you not aware of the "Contact Us" link right down there at the bottom of this page?
posted by languagehat at 8:08 AM on May 15, 2016


Nobody else is disturbed by the whole "catching hepatitis from intravenous drug use" thing?
Nobody else is disturbed by the whole "can't play his own instrument" thing?
Nobody else is disturbed by the whole "his mom hooked him up with heroin" thing?
Nobody else is disturbed by the whole "died from an overdose" thing?
Nobody else is disturbed by the whole "child labor is often used in the production of heroin" thing?
Nobody else is disturbed by the whole "electrically amplified instruments work by using power created by burning fossil fuels, which contributes global warming" thing?

I mean, if you're not talking about how terrible something is, the only possible conclusion is that you're totally cool with it, so I'm just going to have to assume that you're all horrible monsters.
posted by Bugbread at 4:57 PM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Nobody else is disturbed by the whole

We were. We hit the 21st Century.
Everything changed.

so I'm just going to have to assume that you're all horrible monsters.

Well, I am.
posted by Mezentian at 9:13 AM on May 27, 2016


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