Sid Vicious could actually play bass...kinda.

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by IpseDixit, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. IpseDixit


    Jul 26, 2009
    Denton, TX

    This recently unearthed soundcheck from the Sex Pistols last show at Winterland in '78 surprised me, not only in terms of the sound quality but also the fact that a) I could actually hear the bass and b) Sid is actually (mostly) hitting the right notes during songs (the noodling around between songs doesn't really count). It's been a long accepted truism in rock circles (and here) that Sid just flailed away hopelessly and was there purely for the visual element, but at least by the end of the tour he seemed on his way to being a competent, if rather unexceptional, bass player.

    Note: Johnny does yell "Turn Sid down!" several times, but I think that's more because he's simply too loud in the monitors. Sid is definitely flubbing some notes now and then and just thumping the roots, but on the whole I was quite surprised how well he kept up, given his reputation.
  2. Craig T Vector

    Craig T Vector Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2013
    Liberty Hill, TX
    Pretty cool! Thanks for sharing.
  3. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    First off, I'm a Sex Pistols fan.

    Sound quality is surprisingly good for a tape this old. His P-Bass through an Ampeg stack sounds like crap by itself but it sure sounds good blended in with drums and guitar. =)

    Sid was ok at best. Drugs were the priority in his life, bass playing was definitely way down on the list. He was exceptionally good at the "punk rock pose" for sure. He was the blueprint for plenty of crusty, drunk punks ever since.
    Jah Wobble Fan likes this.
  4. bassmalone4

    bassmalone4 Inactive

    Sep 9, 2013
    He was as good as any other brand new player I've heard. What I really liked was his singing. He was the one that should have replaced Rotten. I thought he was actually better.
    murphy likes this.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Sounds like these songs are sped up. Bigtime.
  6. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    "Johnny does yell "Turn Sid down!" several times, but I think that's more because he's simply too loud in the monitors."

    He says it right after each time Sid joins in singing on "We're so pretty...", he's referring to turning Sid's vocals down.
    murphy likes this.
  7. rafst29


    Apr 6, 2011
  8. Sped up meaning they were playing them faster or the actual recording was sped up?
  9. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    ah he was never supposed to be any good. and he wasn't.

    NMTB will always be a classic album, mind.
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Actual recording. Those songs were a whole step higher than the original recordings and any other live boots of them I've heard.
  11. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    Ability to play the bass or not, you guys are still talking about him.
    So... I guess by that mark, he succeeded!
  12. how do you make a p bass and ampeg sound like crap?!?!?!?
    descendent22 likes this.
  13. lexington125


    Sep 11, 2013
    hollywood, baby......
    1, 2, 3, 4; repeat
    Jonesy sounds good, as always; I like when he steps on a footswitch and his reverb kicks in at 1:13
    (honest admission - as a late boomer, the '75 - '78 NYC scene was the golden age for me; so the only thing that would have made the last Pistols show any better would have been for it to be in NY)
  14. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013
    Sid was never really a true "bass player" the band needed a bassist because glen Matlock quit and they needed a bassist quick and Sid stepped up but didn't know how to play but he got a bass and took a whole load of speed and listen to a ramones record on repeat and learned the basics of the instrument. But in the studio he rarely played. Normally in live performances he would have to turn down to the point where there was no bass at all. But hey he was the most punk out of any of them.
    descendent22 likes this.
  15. Listen to the "Sid Sings" recording. He was learning how to play by the time of that performance & singing at the same time. It's poor quality but I enjoy the heckling drunk dude inbetween trax, the obnoxious audience & Sid banging away on a P bass through a SVT.
  16. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013

    I've seen that it's pretty funny.
  17. A friend saw the Sex Pistols in St. Louis. He said Sid was playing his bass so hard that he broke three of its strings and was flailing away on just one string at the end of the show.
    Bass V likes this.
  18. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013
    Was his pick made of steel or what? That's insane.
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I thought it sounded great.
    barach713 likes this.
  20. LordDog


    Jun 25, 2013
    Norwich UK
    LOL "it sounds like a terrible mess up here" is about right!
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