When You Look Me In The Eye

Sex Pistols 02

This is one of the very few bootleg LPs I own, it always messes up my compulsive cataloguing system – it doesn’t have a proper name! It doesn’t have a clear release date! How can this be ! It is wrong! I exclaim!

Anyway, for the sake of the few shards of sanity I have left after a particularly tough working week, let’s just call this Sex Pistols Sex Pistols; catchy huh? it’s a picture disc that I picked up aged 17 browsing the stalls at WOMAD Festival in Bracknell in 1989, which was genuinely one of the best weekends of my life*; as I snatched at it, the guy browsing next to me said ‘I would have grabbed that if I’d spotted it’, so I knew I was on to a good thing.  And it is a good thing.

Sex Pistols 04

It is a picture disc, produced in the Netherlands by Antler Records as a ‘Limited edition Issue’.  It consists of six tracks from the Dave Goodman produced demos, before the band went off and became even more infamous, sacked Glen Matlock and re-recorded everything with Chris Thomas and Bill Price  for Never Mind the Bollocks.  Now these tracks are hardly rare, they have been bootlegged (the Spunk LP) and released officially (The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle) so many times before and since that they aren’t difficult to track down.  Theories abound that both Malcolm McLaren and Dave Goodman were at one time the sources of these tracks hitting the market unofficially, the excellent quality of the sessions often being cited as proof.

Now the interest in the Dave Goodman sessions is more than just completist nonsense as they are the only studio recordings which feature the original band with Glen Matlock on bass and supposedly were the closest to their early live sound.  Never Mind The Bollocks is one of my favourite ever LPs and one of the reasons for that is the full, at times suffocating production that Chris Thomas and Bill Price provided, so it is interesting hearing these rawer demos.

Sex Pistols 03

It is an interesting exercise hearing songs you know so well in a slightly different form, whenever I hear Sex Pistols I’m not sure I’m capable of actually listening to it normally, I’m too busy thinking, ‘ooh a bit of extra bass there’, ‘different vocal intro on that one’ etc.  It’s all good though.

You don’t need me to tell you how great these songs are and I’ll save boring you about how much the Sex Pistols mean to me until a later point (SPOILER ALERT: I like them a lot), but I will pick out a couple.  First off is ‘Satellite’, which along with the cool cover was one of the reasons I bought this, I’d never heard of it at the time but it was the B-side to the Holidays in the Sun 7″.  It’s a really, really great tune featuring numerous nasty put-downs and some ferocious, cacophonous playing from the whole band, my fave line comes at the end,

You know I don’t like where you come from
It’s just a satellite of London
And when you look me in the eye
Just remember: I wanna die

It’s not a hard song to find now, but it did used to have a bit of a reputation as being the Sex Pistols’ great lost song.  Seriously, if you don’t own this go buy it, right now – iTunes, physically, or download it directly into your optic nerve**, it doesn’t matter you need this in your life, punk.  My other pick here is the version of ‘No Feelings’, never a firm favourite for me on Never Mind The Bollocks, it’s slightly more straight forward and rockier here and all the better for it too, as is the slower moodier version of ‘Submission’, with dub echo effects.

Love this picture of Lydon
Love this picture of Lydon

And that’s all I’m capable of tonight.  I like this LP though, it maybe a bootleg but it is a damn well produced one with good pictures and very good sound quality; well worth snapping up if you ever see one in the racks.

We like noise, it’s our choice
It’s what we wanna do
We don’t care about long hairs
I don’t wear flares

Here endeth the lesson.

356 Down.

*I’ll tell the full story one day but it featured Taj Mahal, Flaco Jiminez, Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown, Ali Farke Toure, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and Buddy Guy & Junior Wells.  It was truly mind melting, the best festival ever in the nicest possible setting.  (sighs).

**I can imagine that both stinging and being entirely pointless.

10 thoughts on “When You Look Me In The Eye

  1. I had never seen this picture disc before of the Sex Pistols, I have a copy of the poorly mastered “Great Rock & Roll Swindle” which has a lot of surface noise on the vinyl. Like you I have always viewed bootlegs as a necessary evil but your right about them being impossible as hell to catalog. Nice post.

  2. I believe I have all these tracks on CD (like yourself I’m sure) but that is a thing of beauty! I have a few Pistols rarities in my collection (3″ singles and Japanese imports) but nothing as pretty as this.

      1. Sorry Mike, I had to sign one of those confidentiality clauses and everything; it’s a prerequisite for hanging out with celebs like I do.

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