Punk Is Dead: Sex Pistols Album Art Will Soon Grace Credit Cards

Sex Pistols
Photo Courtesy Verizon Money

Never mind the bollocks, here’s the tools of capitalist oppression!

Nearly 40 years after iconic punk band the Sex Pistols was signed to Virgin Records, Richard Branson wants to decorate a collection of credit cards issued by Virgin Money with the band’s logo and album artwork.

The two designs come from Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, their first (and only) studio album and the single Anarchy in the UK, which contained the eerily prescient lyric in light of today’s news, “Your future dream is a shopping scheme.”

Considering John Lydon has starred in butter commercials and did a stint on Judge Judy (seriously), this new form of selling out isn’t all that shocking in retrospect.

Michele Greene, the bank’s director of cards, said in a press release: “In launching these cards, we wanted to celebrate Virgin’s heritage and difference. The Sex Pistols challenged convention and the established ways of thinking — just as we are doing today in our quest to shake up UK banking.”

And without a discernible hint of irony, Virgin Money also stated in the press release that it’s “time for consumers to put a little bit of rebellion in their pocket.”

Rebellion with an interest rate of 18.9% APR.

Malcolm McLaren: Renaissance Man & Vivienne Westwood’s Baby Daddy

 

Those who declare themselves punk or glam have Malcolm McLaren to thank, should they care to, (though Lou Reed might have taken issue) for directing punk’s style beginnings from a shop on King’s Road in London. McLaren and designer Vivienne Westwood opened the shop, Let It Rock – later renamed SEX – and it was there that they sold clothes and records and made costumes for the New York Dolls out of red patent leather.

McLaren met Vivienne Westwood when he was a teenager, getting her pregnant by the time he was 18. His grandmother gave them the money for Westwood to have an abortion, but against McLaren’s wishes, she spent the money on a cashmere twinset.

Shop the look, see more photos, and READ +

Black Sabbath and Other Bands That Won’t Reunite Until They Do

After a series of contract disputes, Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward has announced, via an incredibly long public letter posted on his website, that he will not join his old bandmates as the do their middle-aged rocker reunion thing at dates in May, June and August. The band was slated to play a series of shows as well as to record their first album with this line-up since 1978.

The reunion has been marked with troubles since the beginning. Ward has had a very public back and forth with the band about whether or not he would play, mostly centered around contract debates. Meanwhile, guitarist Tommy Iommi was dealing with lymphoma that should have put the squabbling into perspective but didn’t. Now the group is playing shows sans Ward and it seems as though things will stay that way. Still, we can’t help but think of all the bands that claimed they would never reunite and who did just that, sometimes even weeks after making the statement. Let’s take a look.

The Sex Pistols: After years of claiming his infamous punk band would never reunite, Johnny Rotten (who publicly trounced a Police reunion as “soggy old dead carcasses”) did indeed put his band back on the road—and in the studio to record tracks for video games—but at least was self-aware enough to call the comeback shows the Filthy Lucre World Tour.

The Police: Speaking of Sting and company, they’ve denied reunion rumors throughout the years—the Tantric One recently said, "People reacted to The Police coming back as if mum and dad had got together, you could see that emotion in the audience. But who really wants to go and live with the wife you divorced? I won’t do it again”—but in 2007 did reunite, an experience that reportedly left the old men even more bitter and hateful toward one another than they were before the shows.

Hole: Even though her former bandmates are some of the few people Courtney Love never publicly tussled with, after she toured in a band she called Hole in 2010, saying, "Nobody asks Trent: why Nine Inch Nails… I made the [band] name up,” it was assumed that she had moved beyond her old cohorts. Not so! Just last month Love teamed up with the version of Hole that played on the group’s last real album, Celebrity Skin, and did a secret show in Brooklyn.

RIP Malcolm McLaren: The End of the Great Rock N’ Roll Swindle

In the end, all who are writing about the passing of Malcolm McLaren are merely putting their two cents in. Maybe that’s the price for sharing memories and all the talk and recollecting only add up to two copper pennies. But it feels like if we put in anymore than our two cents Malcolm would laugh at us or pocket the change himself. That’s the kind of guy Malcolm was, he was one of us and in a lot of ways he was all of us. He helped define the world I live in, forcing me to think outside the box, gather no moss and try not to be a cliché. I got a text from my friend, interior designer Jim Walrod. “Malcolm’s dead!’ He had just got a call from McLaren’s girlfriend and admitted that he hadn’t known he was ill. I asked Jim to write something about Malcolm. He knew him well and would often tell me amazing stories that gave me insight to the genius. Here’s what Jim had to say.

“The man never stopped looking at the world, and he always had a fresh perspective. When you spoke to Malcolm you felt that anything was possible. He always had something going on – from video art installations, to a line of children’s clothing, to a musical on the life of Christian Dior. Malcolm made it seem as if it was all happening NOW and if it wasn’t going to begin immediately he was going to pound on doors until it did!

The man changed the way people view pop culture. He treated hip-hop as if it were folk music and opera like it was disco. The man sold clothing and mocked fashion simultaneously. He stood for everything that we wanted to stand for and he always made you feel as if you were in on whatever it was that he was scheming, even if you weren’t. Boy will I miss him.”

When you lose a Warhol or a Rubell or a McQueen, there is no one who will ever fill that creative niche. Until the last few years Malcolm led the way. The New York Dolls, Bow Wow Wow the friggin’ Sex Pistols– the fashion collaboration defining the punk movement with Vivienne Westwood. The attitude. Where Warhol came off as a gentle genius, Malcolm was hard, angry, deviant unpredictable, unstoppable. He didn’t just open doors, he kicked them in. He was vogue-ing before Madonna. My mentor Chi Chi Valenti provided lyrics for “Deep in Vogue” which featured my lost friend Willy Ninja:

“Sometimes on a legendary night Like the closing of the Garage When the crowd is calling down the spirits Listen, and you will hear all the houses that walked there before”

In the early 80’s, McLaren stopped me in my tracks as I watched buffalo gals and double dutch. Now it seems so dated but it was jaw dropping new as so much of what he gave us. The Bow Wow Wow lyrics turned me and my generation onto DJ scratching. “All that scratching is making me itch.”

In an incredible coincidence, I heard ex Sex Pistol Jon Lydon played the other day. Malcolm named him Johnny Rotten. Maybe Malcolm didn’t pay him or the Pistols what they wanted, but he surely gave them everything they ever had. I saw Malcolm at dinner one night a long time ago. The place was called Bernard’s in a hood that was the edge back then, but is now full of yuppies. Bernard’s was famous for mixed-matched plates and inconsistent food. McLaren was dating Lauren Hutton then and she was holding his hand in anger, digging her nails deep into the flesh. He wasn’t pulling his hand away and he was pleading for forgiveness. I winced at the violent grip even though he did not. He had gotten used to criticism and was notoriously thick skinned.

He once said “To be bad is good. To be good is simply boring.” People used to say a picture is worth a thousand words but these are much faster times. Where a picture wont do, a Youtube video might. I revisited his masterpiece, Madame Butterfly. It hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s as relevant, sexy, beautiful and hip as ever it ever was. I watched it 3 times, straining to hear the last lyrics of the song. They are “He’ll be back.” Unfortunately, that ain’t so.