B****cks to fame, we're the Sex Pistols

Age hasn't mellowed the punk pioneers, and their chairs at one US awards bash will be staying pretty vacant
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The Independent Culture

As punk pioneers, the Sex Pistols spent a brief, chaotic time kicking and snarling against the system. Nearly three decades on, they have shown they are still spitting - over attempts to make them part of the establishment - by declining one of the music industry's greatest accolades.

The band have decided to snub their induction into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an annual extravaganza in which the music business honours its most influential figures.

In a handwritten message, complete with spelling mistakes, posted on singer John Lydon's website, the band said they will not be attending a glitzy ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio, next month.

"Next to the SEX-PISTOLS rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain," the note said. "Your museum. Urine in wine. Were not coming. Were not your monkey and so what?" It went on to criticise the cost of tables at the event - up to £15,000 each - and ended: "Were not coming. Your not paying attention. Outside the shit-stem is a real SEX PISTOL."

The Sex Pistols' former bass player, Glen Matlock, told The Independent on Sunday yesterday it had been a unanimous decision by the band to steer clear. "It's nothing to do with the bands - it's all to do with business. When I first heard about it I was quite excited... but then I found I was going to have to pay thousands of pounds to take my kids. It's just a big corporate event, a bunch of Herberts in suits... just a money-making opportunity for multi-million shysters."

Jon Savage, the author of the definitive punk history, England's Dreaming, was unsurprised that the band had turned down the honour. "They are no friends of the music industry and they have always had an uneasy relationship with it. I think it's interesting that finally their influence is being recognised by the mainstream American music industry. America didn't do them any favours. They had a terrible time on tour there. At the end of the day the Sex Pistols were punk rockers, so what do people expect?"

Several other leading figures from the punk days have already become part of the Hall of Fame.

The Clash were inducted three years ago, shortly after the death of co-frontman Joe Strummer, and the Ramones accepted their place in 2002.

The forthright Lydon has previously referred to it as the "Rock and Roll Hall of Shame", and, "a place where old rockers go to die".

Next month marks the 30th anniversary of the band's first headline appearance, at the 100 Club in Oxford Street, London, after a handful of support shows. Within months of the gig they had caused nationwide uproar when the television presenter Bill Grundy goaded them into swearing during a live interview.

A backlash against the band's language, volatile behaviour, anarchic sentiments and chaotic performances soon followed, which meant they struggled to hold on to record deals, going through three in 1977. Following a shambolic US tour, which saw them banned from several venues, Lydon (then Johnny Rotten) quit during a show in San Francisco, telling the audience: "ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" The band had completed just one album, Never Mind the Bollocks, but had a lasting effect on the music industry and on high-flying current US bands such as Green Day.

Susan Evans, the executive director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, said of the band's decision to shun the accolade: "They're being the outrageous punksters that they are, and that's rock'n'roll."

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