The Sex Pistols' seminal punk masterpiece "Never Mind the Bollocks" was unleashed forty years ago tomorrow. Over at Rolling Stone, Johnny "Rotten" Lydon and original bassist Glen Matlock break down the album track-by-track:
Matlock: Around the summertime, we were rehearsing and once again I said, "Does anybody got any ideas?" And I had a go at Steve, 'cause I felt I was pushing the band along a bit, but that time he had something, which wasn't much. And he said, "Why don't you come up with something?" And I had half an idea for a big overture, and I just started playing that descending chord progression and everybody picked up on it and said, "Where's it go next?" And I sort of geared it as we went along. John, it happened, had a bag of lyrics – just sheets of paper in a plastic bag – and he pulled something out and he said, "I've been waiting for you to come up with something because I've got this idea." Everybody had been talking about this guy, Jamie Reid, who did our artwork, and he was a bit of an agitprop kind of guy about anarchy. And John had written these lyrics.
Rotten: I have always thought that anarchy is mind games for the middle class. It's a luxury. It can only be afforded in a democratic society, therefore kind of slightly fucking redundant. It also offers no answers and I hope in my songwriting I'm offering some kind of answer to a thing, rather than spitefully wanting to wreck everything for no reason at all, other than it doesn't suit you. I've always got to bear in mind I'm part of a community called the human race and an even tighter community called culture. Why would we want to destroy these things willy-nilly?
I didn't realize how many professional anarchists were out there – and still are. Oh, my God, Marilyn Manson declared himself as an anarchist, this is how absurd it can get. A boy in makeup in a corset don't cut it for me; Alice Cooper did, but that's it. One of them is enough in my life.