Dave Goodman

Producer of the Sex Pistols' early recordings
Click to follow

Dave Goodman was the man behind the notorious Sex Pistols bootleg Spunk. Reviewed in glowing terms by the New Musical Express and Sounds, Spunk appeared in record stores ahead of Never Mind the Bollocks: here's the Sex Pistols, the punk group's controversially titled chart-topping début album from October 1977.

David Goodman, producer, guitarist, instrumentalist, singer and songwriter: born London 29 March 1951; died Mellieha, Malta 10 February 2005.

Dave Goodman was the man behind the notorious Sex Pistols bootleg Spunk. Reviewed in glowing terms by the New Musical Express and Sounds, Spunk appeared in record stores ahead of Never Mind the Bollocks: here's the Sex Pistols, the punk group's controversially titled chart-topping début album from October 1977.

By that time, the Pistols had finally found a home at the French label Barclay and Richard Branson's Virgin Records. But, such was the furore around punk rock that, earlier in the year, they had been dropped by EMI, and been unable to play live or issue their "God Save the Queen" single on A&M - who released them from their contract with a £75,000 pay-off in March 1977.

Goodman, a musician and public- address-system owner turned record producer, worked with the group from March 1976, mixing their live sound, recording B-sides and demos and subsequently helping their svengali Malcolm McLaren to complete the soundtrack to the ill-fated The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle film.

"Working with the band live, I was aware of what they were capable of energy-wise," said Goodman, who drew exciting and sometimes definitive performances from the unruly quartet of John Rotten (né Lydon, vocals), Glen Matlock (bass), Paul Cook (drums) and Steve Jones (guitars) in July and October 1976 and again in January 1977. He was eventually edged out in favour of Chris Thomas - the noted producer who had made his name with Roxy Music and famously commented that Goodman's Spunk tapes were "great. Release them, who needs me?"

Goodman passed his working knowledge of recording techniques to the Pistols and in particular got the best out of Jones. "I had the idea for the overdubbed riffs on the 'Pretty Vacant' intro," Goodman said:

I suggested to Steve that he should pick out the notes in the chord and, for good measure, I got him to double-track it. Finally, I got him to play it once more, but this time up the octave and then, again, an octave above that. A dynamite hook if ever there was one.

He also recorded the group at Riverside, Lansdowne, Wessex and Gooseberry studios, but his relationship with McLaren and the Pistols turned fractious when he did not get proper credit on the B-sides he produced - especially "I Wanna Be Me", the flip of "Anarchy in the UK", wrongly attributed to Chris Thomas.

However, after Sid Vicious replaced Glen Matlock and Lydon left to launch Public Image Limited, Goodman helped McLaren, Cook and Jones to cobble together the soundtrack to the 1979 movie The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle. He collaborated too with Cook and Jones on the single "Justifiable Homicide", which came out in 1978 on the Label, the independent imprint Goodman had launched with his friend Caruzo Fuller the previous year.

A short-lived venture, the Label launched Eater, a punk-rock quartet whose members Dee Generate, Andy Blade, Brian Chevette and Ian Woodcock were still at school in 1976 when they recorded "Outside View", the first of five singles, and an LP, The Album.

Admired for his production work by Pete Townshend of The Who and Lou Reed, Goodman worked with many second- and third-generation British punk groups such as the Vibrators, Chelsea, the Users, Front and UK Subs as well as the reggae band Tribesman.

In 1996, when the Sex Pistols reformed for the Filthy Lucre tour, fans were finally able to purchase Spunk legally in a two-CD package also containing Never Mind the Bollocks. With the release of a three-CD box set by Virgin Records in 2002, aficionados could verify that Goodman had also produced a version of "No Feelings" (the B-side of the withdrawn A&M single "God Save the Queen") and a cover of the Stooges' "No Fun" (the flip of "Pretty Vacant").

Born in London in 1951, Dave Goodman played in the school brass band at Longford Secondary Modern in Feltham, Middlesex. His musical tastes were influenced by his two older sisters and, once he had seen Cliff Richard and the Shadows, the Rolling Stones and The Who, he began playing the bass guitar and formed his first group, Frinton Bassett Blues, in 1966. Within two years, they had become a rock and soul band, Orange Rainbow, backing visiting US performers.

By 1974, Goodman and his friend Kim Thraves had assembled enough gear to record four-track demos in a garage and had also hand-built a PA system which they rented out to rock bands around London. On 23 March 1976, the pair took their equipment to the Nashville Rooms for a gig by the 101'ers - a group featuring Joe Strummer, who went on to front the Clash - with the Sex Pistols supporting. "I noticed something different about this group," Goodman recalled:

They had shorter hair, Rotten's was a mass of orange spikes. They were loud, manic and loose. When they performed "Substitute" by The Who, it was as if they played it as badly as they possibly could, just to annoy people. The band were treading a fine line.

It seemed an unlikely alliance, but the group's Kinks and Small Faces covers reminded Goodman of his own start in music. "I went backstage and asked if they had other gigs and wanted to hire my PA," Goodman said:

"Fuck me," said John. "Someone's actually offering to help us for a change." Something clicked and I did virtually all their gigs from then on right up to the American Tour. Most enjoyable they were too!

Goodman spent a quarter of a century attempting to collect royalties from McLaren, Virgin and various Pistols-related companies, so he felt justified when he released several Sex Pistols bootlegs over the years. In 2002, he moved to Malta, where he made ambient psychedelic music with his partner Kathy Manuell, as the Internet Café Orchestra, and wrote his memoirs.

Pierre Perrone

Pierre Perrone's obituary of Dave Goodman acknowledges his work and influence, but contains inaccuracies, writes Kathy Manuell. Perrone refers to "bootlegs" - yet Dave always maintained the producer's copyright in and possession of the master tapes involved. In addition to which, members of the Sex Pistols have received royalties from these releases, or royalties have been placed in an escrow account on their behalf - these monies, for both Dave and the band, were the main reason for the release of these recordings. Also, Dave never sought to collect royalties from Malcolm McLaren. In fact Dave always said that when Malcolm was in charge he would let him know as soon as there were any royalties for him and present them fully accounted. To say otherwise is completely untrue.