Roger Waters Explains His Hate To Sex Pistols
Roger Waters, former Pink Floyd creative mastermind, has expressed disdain for the punk band Sex Pistols, calling their music “vacuous” and criticizing their lack of substance and activism.
The Sex Pistols, fronted by John Lydon with Steve Jones on guitar, Glen Matlock on bass (later replaced by Sid Vicious), and Paul Cook on drums, were famously at the forefront of the British punk movement in the 1970s.
With their rebellious and confrontational attitude, the band made significant strides in challenging the status quo of their time. They gained attention for their provocative lyrics, taking shots at the Queen, and even swearing on live television, which added to their reputation as punk provocateurs.
According to legend, Lydon was recruited by the Sex Pistols after he was spotted wearing a ragged Pink Floyd T-shirt on London’s King’s Road with the words ‘I Hate’ scrawled on it. This anecdote highlights the contrasting ideologies and attitudes between the two bands, with Waters’ introspective and politically-charged music differing greatly from the Sex Pistols’ brash and provocative punk rock.
Waters’ Take on Sex Pistols’ Punk Ethos
In an interview with Rolling Stone, he voiced his contempt, remarking:
“The Sex Pistols were merely attempting to create a ruckus. It was blatantly staged. I mean, they were being managed by a guy who owned a shop selling ridiculous clothes!”
The Sex Pistols’ apparently disruptive persona and provocative actions, in Waters’ opinion, were hollow and lacking in any significance.
He censured their manager, Malcolm McLaren, who was associated with a store known for selling unconventional attire. Waters’ comments reflect his belief that the Sex Pistols’ punk movement was manufactured and lacked the depth and authenticity he valued in music and activism.
Waters’ views on the Sex Pistols took a cold turn as he reflected on the death of Vicious and the aftermath. He expressed:
“And then one of them passed away, so you have that iconic legacy that lives on. If somebody dies, that’s always impactful. Except for him, obviously, and his mom and dad, and [his girlfriend] Nancy; but for everybody else, it’s seen as brilliant.”
Waters seemed to be reflecting on the unfortunate death of Vicious may have contributed to the band’s enduring legacy, as premature deaths of young musicians often lead to iconic status.
However, Waters acknowledged the sorrow and pain caused to Vicious’s loved ones, while suggesting that the impact of such a death on the band’s notoriety may have been seen as positive by others. His comments may reflect a cynical view on the commodification and mythologizing of rock stars, even in the face of personal tragedies.
Gilmour’s Different Take
In contrast to Waters’ critical stance, his former Pink Floyd bandmate, David Gilmour, had a more measured perspective on Lydon and the Sex Pistols. Gilmour stated:
“We didn’t feel alienated by punk; we simply didn’t consider it particularly relevant to us. We weren’t frightened by it.”
Gilmour acknowledged that while punk had its merits and positive impact, there were also opportunistic individuals who jumped on the bandwagon and abandoned it once they achieved success. His comments suggest a more detached and less confrontational approach towards punk compared to Waters.