As they wrapped up the final licks of The Stooges’ “No Fun”, Johnny looked down at himself. His blue tartan jacket was covered in stale beer and spit, compliments of the crowd. The uniformed cops that dotted the edges of the hall hadn’t done anything to stop people from pelting the band, but Johnny knew they’d sure as hell do something to him if he threw anything back.
The crowd was a mix of rednecks that wanted to kick their asses and gawkers that came hoping for a train wreck they could tell their friends about the next day. The paper had declared that they weren’t allowed to perform simulated sex acts, but no one really gave a damn about how they sounded.
Everyone saw them as some kind of archetype-shattering revolution. Johnny knew better than that. They weren’t breaking anything. Instead, they were carving out a brand new mold for people to smash themselves into.
The instruments went quiet and all eyes settled on him. Johnny gave the crowd his best sneer, flipped them the bird and walked off stage. They were lucky enough to get one encore, no way in hell was there going be a second.
The Sex Pistol’s stop in Memphis in 1978 was not the calmest affair. The Memphis Police had been following the band since their show in Atlanta, on rumors that their shows were full of vulgar sex acts. The plane the Pistols flew in was struck by lightning. Sid Vicious wandered off from their hotel hoping to score some heroin and was found hours later in a hospital with “Gimme a fix” carved into his chest. The venue was over sold by 200 seats, and the fire marshall threatened to shut it down, causing a near riot. The crowd was aggressive toward the band, who mocked Elvis and Dolly Parton in retribution. But, oddly enough, it was one of the few times the Sex Pistols ever played an encore.