Crazy oddities, a relationship with Nancy, and death at 21: the story of Sid Vicious


Sid Vicious (real name John Simon Ritchie), bassist of the punk rock band Sex Pistols, was born on May 10, 1957 in London. His father, Lulz, worked as a security guard at Buckingham Palace, and his mother, Ann, was a hippie (and drugged). At the age of 15, Vicious dropped out and entered Hackney Art College, where he studied photography. Bassist Jah Wobble said in an interview that at the suggestion of his mother, the musician started using illegal substances at a young age.

“I remember giving her mother medicine,” Wobble said. – At that time I was 16 years old, this picture was shocking and harsh for me. For me, it was my mother who left you food at that age, not that you used drugs.”

In addition to addiction to illegal substances, his mother instilled in Richie a love of music – his favorite artist was David Bowie.

The beginning of his music career

In college, Richie met musician John Lydon, future frontman of the Sex Pistols. Together they performed on the streets of London to Bowie songs. Only Lydon played the bass guitar, and Richie, who had little command of the instruments, intuitively touched the tambourine and danced wildly. By the age of 17 he had abandoned his studies, rarely appeared at home and lived in slums with the youth. The first wave of punk bands, represented by the Clash, Slits or The Damned bands, was born in squats.

It was during this period that Sid stumbled upon Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die store. This phrase has become the unofficial slogan of some representatives of the rock music and punk subculture.

At the same time, the artist took the pseudonym Sid Vicious (Eng. Sid Vicious – “Mad Sid”). There are two versions of the origin of this nickname. Some say that the musician’s name is the name of another lunatic – Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd. According to the second version, Vicious was named after the wayward hamster Lydon, named Sid, who suddenly bit his owner.

In Sex Guns

Vicious joined the legendary group Sex Pistols after breaking up with bassist Glen Matlock. Appearance, charisma and eccentric quirks allowed Sid to become the first and main icon of punk rock. He was addicted to drugs, declared his desire to die before the age of 25, and invented the pogo dance.

However, his musical abilities were frankly weak. Despite lessons with rocker Lemmy, Vicious never learned to play at a good level. At concerts, his instrument was disconnected from the amplifiers so as not to knock down other musicians. It was not included in the studio recordings.

On April 3, 1977, Vicious made their debut with the Sex Pistols at Screen on the Green in London. Band manager Malcolm McLaren supported Syd’s stage frenzy. The artist walked the audience around the hall, threw bottles from the stage, injured himself, often got into fights and once threw a bicycle chain at a journalist.

At the same time, Vicious himself did not know how to fight and often found himself beaten. He has been beaten by musicians Paul Weller, David Coverdale, John Robertson, and others. In The Days of Our Lives documentary, Roger Taylor of The Queen talked about how Vicious started the conflict with Freddie Mercury.

“Sid was just a jerk. A real idiot,” he said. – Once, while drunk, he broke into the studio where Queen was working and tried to arrange a fight with Fred. He shouted: “Well, have you already managed to bring ballet to the masses?”

According to Taylor, Mercury “grabbed Sid by the collar and pushed him down the stairs.”

Sid and Nancy’s Story

Right after joining the Sex Pistols, Vicious met Nancy Spungen, a group drug addict from America who worked as a stripper and prostitute. When the girl was rejected by the band’s lead singer, Johnny Rotten, she began following Sid. Her friend Pamela Rook said that Nancy’s goal was to join the London punk scene and found a female punk band.

“Sid was easy prey for him. Everyone wanted to be with him, but unfortunately he chose Nancy. He was surprisingly thick-skinned: perhaps the most unpleasant person I have ever met in my life. Everyone saw through it. Everyone except Sid,” said Rook.

After the Sex Pistols broke up in 1978, Nancy went to court several times on drug possession charges. She gained fame thanks to the yellow press, which began to create the image of “Romeo and Juliet from the Underworld” from Sid and Nancy. In the punk community, Spungen was harshly treated negatively.

“If I call him a monster, it’s not out of any malice,” Lydon said. “She was a self-harming person, determined to take as many people to the grave as possible. Nancy Spungen was the perfect Titanic looking for an iceberg and she wanted to be filled to the fullest.”

Nancy was unable to form her own group. He decided to become Syd’s manager in 1978 and convinced him that he needed to build a career in the United States. At the end of August, the lovers flew to New York and rented a room in the Chelsea Hotel. The girl really managed to arrange several concerts for Vicious. However, after Syd performed under the influence of drugs at her last show on September 7, all the musicians refused to play with her. Both he and Nancy tried to successfully recover from drug addiction.

On October 11, he bought Sid a five-inch pocket knife to defend himself at the Spring Street clinic, where he was attacked several times by drug patients. That same evening, the couple urgently needed doses, for which they were ready to pay any amount. At least two drug dealers are known to be in hotel rooms.

On the morning of October 12, Sid recovered and found a bloody Nancy in the bathroom who had been murdered with the knife he was given. The artist, who called the ambulance and the police, was then arrested on suspicion of murder. Vicious did not remember what had happened and denied his guilt.

Those who knew Sid did not believe that he was involved in the murder of his lover. Also that same evening, $25,000 disappeared from the desk drawer in the artist’s room and could not be found.

There is a version that the actor Rockets Redglare, who became a drug dealer, bouncer and later comedian, could have killed the girl. Also, Nancy’s death may have been the result of a failed “double suicide.” A month and a half before her death, she said she would not want to live to be 21 and would “pass away in a lifetime of glory.” When Vicious was released from Riker’s prison on $50,000 bail, he attempted suicide several times and said, “I want to get back together with him. I did not fulfill my part of the contract.” This was interpreted as a confession of a failed mutual suicide. He died of a drug overdose on February 2, 1979.

Punk rock pioneer Sid Vicious was born on May 10, 1957, lived to be 21 and died of a drug overdose after his release from prison. talks about the role of the image in the artist’s career, his addiction to illegal substances, his painful relationship with Nancy and his plan to die before the age of 25.

Source: Gazeta


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