Lost & Found: Remember When Sid Vicious Did It His Way?
Late Sex Pistols “bassist” Sid Vicious may have been terrible at everything, but at least he did it his way. Sure, his way involved playing bass so badly that his bandmates often just unplugged his instrument. And yes, his way involved missing out on the band’s first and only album because of hepatitis (among other things). But it was his way, dammit.
In 1978, right after singer Johnny Rotten left the band, the film ‘The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle’ was released. It was a mockumentary of the Sex Pistols that painted band manager Malcolm McLaren as a greedy, conniving swindler. Parts of this mockumentary were obviously based on fact, as McLaren wasn’t not a greedy, conniving swindler.
McClaren said that if he’d seen Vicious before he hired Johnny Rotten, Vicious would have been the band’s frontman. Too bad for us, since Vicious couldn’t really do anything else music-related. At one point, Vicious even tried to enlist the help of legendary Motorhead frontman and bassist Lemmy Kilmister, who tried to teach Vicious how to play. But Kilmister said in an interview, ”Yeah. It was all uphill. And he still couldn’t play bass when he died.”
But Vicious gives an impressive, if not somewhat generic, performance of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ for ‘Swindle.’ His mumbled caterwauling is pretty funny. And when the song takes a predictably punk rock turn, Vicious shows that he could have been a competent frontman if given the chance.