Vicious White Kids
sid in lights
Vicious White Kids

By the time Sex Pistols records had trickled down to become Sid Vicious records most of us had already caught the ‘Ever Felt You’ve Been Cheated’ bus to Two Tone, Post Punk & the future. Little did we know then what we know now: Sid Vicious - enduring Punk Rock icon.

Too Fast To Live is Virgin/EMI’s swanky new title designed to rinse the memories of Sid Sings, Some Product & The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle right out of the mind. Released in tandem with Alan Parker’s book of the same name - Two Fast To Live is essentially Sid Sings in decent packaging.

Besides the 3 x classic Sid 45s (Something Else, C’mon Everybody & My Way) - this is a rat bag collection of live cuts & out-takes - but we knew that - already. No one in their right mind ever expected a vault full of indispensable Vicious material to suddenly turn up out of the blue - so the fact that there’s nothing here to get worked up about is resolutely not the point.

What is the point, then?

Oh, you cynical bastards.

Sid was Punk Rock. Simple as that. He did what he said he’d do & left a good-looking (if slightly bruised) corpse. Just browse through Dennis Morris’ Destroy collection & see who steals the show. Place a Pistols photo from the Matlock era next to one from the Vicious era - tell me they looked better then - you’d be a revisionist liar!

So - what can we say about Too Fast To Live that hasn’t been said a few thousand times before? Nothing - that’s what! Instead we popped round to Chez Scabies for a chat about bass guitars, paint & The Vicious White Kids (t-shirt - £500+):

trakMARX - When did you first meet Sidney?

Rat - Me & Brian was down the Nashville looking for singers one night & this geezer walked in wearing a flash silver Lame jacket. Brian said, Here, he looks like a singer. We had words & Sid (for it was he) agreed to pop along & audition for us. We saw Vanian later the same night & asked him along too. Sid was late - Vanian was early - Vanian got the gig.

trakMARX - What did you make of him personally?

Rat - He was very funny, good value entertainment. He had a cruel sense of humour, for sure, but I always got along with him. He didn’t seem to care very much about anything other than having a laugh.

trakMARX - Had Sid eclipsed John in the icon stakes by the end of the Pistols?

Rat - No, but they were running neck & neck for a while.

trakMARX - What did you make of the Pistols breaking up at the time?

Rat - I though it was an inevitable shame, but I never felt they’d done enough to warrant breaking up. They never reached their full potential - they could have done it all but they stopped short. The loss of Glenn in the song-writing department didn’t help. They were always going to struggle after that.

trakMARX - How were the Vicious White Kids born?

Rat - Glenn & I shared the same management company at the time & The Rich Kids were really happening. Sid was looking to raise cash for a trip to the States - he tapped Glenn - & Glenn talked me into it. Sid & Glenn were keen to show there was no animosity between either of them as a result of what had gone down with the Pistols & I was happy enough to go along for the ride. The group was originally to have been called Sid Sod’s Off - but Vicious White Kids was an amalgamation of The Rich Kids, The White Cats & Sid Vicious - so Vicious White Kids it was. We started rehearsing. After rehearsal one night, some band or other had left their gear set up in one of the rehearsal rooms & Sid decided to have their bass away as a present for Nancy so she could learn to play bass too. Me & Glenn were sitting in the car outside waiting for the off when Sid slides out of the building with a bass he slips furtively onto the back seat. Later that night he painted the guitar (strings & all) black. There was a phone call from an irate rehearsal studio demanding the return of the stolen bass. Sid eventually returned it - still wet!

trakMARX - How many gigs did you do?

Rat - Just the one - at the Electric Ballroom. Sid walked on stage & some punter gobbed at him - so he smacked him with the mic stand. We only had a 20-minute set so we had to play it twice! Nancy joined us on stage for the second set. The one thing that does stick in my mind is that we all got paid extra. Sid would insist on charging photographers to photograph him - so the band did likewise, & we all got paid more! In fact, one of the only shots in existence of The Vicious White Kids was taken at that precise moment.

Jean Encoule - tMx 13 - 02/04

contact - Punk Rock …and Roll