In closing the Sex Pistols’ final pre-reunion performance, Johnny Rotten called out, “Ever get the feeling that you’ve been cheated?” It’s a sentiment he and his surviving bandmates shared with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Friday: The punk provocateurs issued a terse, sneering statement avowing that they would not attend the ceremony inducting them into the Hall next month.
The scrawled note, posted at thefilthandthefury.co.uk, states in Pistol-ian fashion (sic): “Next to the Sex Pistols, rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain. Your museum. Urine in wine. We’re not coming. We’re not your monkeys. If you voted for us, hope you noted your reasons. Your anonymous as judges but your still music industry people. We’re not coming. Your not paying attention. Outside the shit-stream is a real Sex Pistol.”
The Pistols, who played their first gigs in 1975, took a decidedly more self-destructive approach to music than punk predecessors like the New York-based Ramones. For a little more than two years, they pummeled their way through four-letter-word-laced TV appearances, bodily-fluid-spilling airport adventures and songs, like the anthem “Anarchy in the U.K.,” that walked the walk so many of their peers merely talked.
Frontman Johnny Rotten (now known by his birth name John Lydon), guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook were ultimately joined by bassist Sid Vicious — who replaced the overly music-conscious Glen Matlock and hastened the band’s implosion before dying of a heroin overdose in 1979. Vicious’ end also marked the end of the Pistols era. But it was not the final act for any of the participants, most notably Lydon, who went on to front Public Image Ltd. and carve out a niche as a professional curmudgeon.
After being denied entry five times, the Pistols were ushered in as part of a Class of 2006 that also includes Black Sabbath, Blondie, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the late Miles Davis. The twent-first annual induction ceremony will take place on March 13th at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.