March 22, 1996 -- The legendary Sex Pistols stirred up some vintage commotion at a press conference in London on Monday, trumpeting a summer reunion tour and live album, 18 years after the band fell apart in the midst of a chaotic US tour. Sid Vicious is long dead, of course, but the band's real bass player, Glen Matlock, the guy on the records, is back on-board. And while Johnny Rotten may be 40 years old now, his lovably loathsome persona hasn't mellowed a bit.
LYDON, clip from the late 1970s: Thought you'd gotten rid of us, didn't you? But you were wrong, old bean, because now we're back...with a vengeance.
MTV: A lot's happened since the Sex Pistols were the most aggressive band in the world. Their disciples have learned well, and in the '90s the torch is carried by the likes of Rancid and Green Day. So why bother getting back together now?
JOHN LYDON, a.k.a. Johnny Rotten, the Sex Pistols: Quite frankly over the years every f***er has lived off us and we've
not seen penny one or respect. You wouldn't think we'd need to thing like that, but quite frankly I do, and I f***ing demand it.
MTV: The reunion tour will feature members of the original Sex Pistols, including bassist Glen Matlock, who was replaced by the late Sid Vicious.
LYDON: This is the Pistols. This is the original members. Sid was nothing more than a coat hanger filling an empty space on stage.
MTV: In the old days the Pistols reveled in antics calculated to offend and to push the media's buttons. This time out the media seemed ready to push back -- but then, so did the Pistols.
LYDON: We don't really care whether you like us or not. Ain't got nothing to prove to anyone.
TOBY AMIES, MTV Europe: What about yourself?
LYDON: Myself? I've got a lot to prove. So that's, that's difficult.
AMIES: What are you going to prove to yourself by doing this?
LYDON: That I really am as glorious as I really know I am.
We all think you're fantastic.
AMIES: Oh, come on...
STEVE JONES, Guitar: You're not funny, are you? You're not fruity?
AMIES: Well, you're a very handsome man... What do you think you can offer a 16 year old Green Day fan that Green Day can't?
LYDON: A big willie.
AMIES: I'll have to take your word on that one.
PAUL COOK, Drums: The real thing, basically, we can offer them. What more do they want?
GLEN MATLOCK, Bass: Those Green Day fans haven't seen nothin'. They think they have, but they haven't seen nothin'.
AMIES: Why not?
MATLOCK: Because it's all so wet and second-hand.
AMIES: Well isn't this a bit second-hand, though?
MATLOCK: But we invented it, and we shall continue.
STEVE JONES, Guitar: Have you ever seen us in concert?
AMIES: Have I? No, I'm too young.
JONES: Well, then it isn't second-hand, is it?
AMIES: Well, I've seen it all, though.
LYDON: No, you've seen imitators, that's what you've seen. And you settled for that, and you think that that's what it's all about, Alfie. Well it ain't. It's a little bit more. It's called content, which is something none of those wanky third-rate outfits have. There ain't no trashy little love songs in this outfit. Every single lyric is a killing nail in the coffin of what you call the establishment. Like what you work for -- MTV? Bye bye. I think I've said my piece. Now F*** off!!!
JONES, COOK: Oh no! Don't go!
AMIES: You want to say you can do something new?
LYDON: With P.I.L. on my solo album, but not with the Sex Pistols.
AMIES: Are you just doing it for the money?
LYDON: No, I'm doing something old because it's still valuable.
AMIES: Why is it valuable now, twenty years later?
LYDON: Well, it might not be to you, but there are people out there who do appreciate genuine originality.
AMIES: With a bunch of forty-year-olds
in the audience?
LYDON: How would you like a nice smack in the head?
AMIES: Not very much.
LYDON: Well then shut your mouth and get out of my way with that thing, or I will do it.
Music's just not what it was. The Pistols will launch their tour -- with no new songs and no rehearsal, they promise -- in Finland on June 21st, and will arrive in this country a little later in the summer.
Anne Ritchie, the colorful mother of the late Sid Vicious, denounced the band's reunion as "sad and pathetic" -- a sentiment echoed on this side of the pond by dismayed fan Johnny Ramone. Said Mrs. Ritchie, "If I met John Lydon, I'd want to hit him." The band also sarcastically offered to play a benefit for the divorcing Princess Diana, to which a princess-ial representative earnestly replied, "She's aware of the offer, but has no comment." How wise of her.