Sid Vicious Too Fast To Live... Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

This CD won't raise his status as a fast liver - just a clumsy misguided one...

Chris Jones 2004

Sid Vicious probably means one of two things to you. He's either the sad troublemaker who was never ever going to be the master of his own destiny: Or he was an icon whose status was cemented by an unswerving devotion to the punk ethos of doing exactly what he wanted with no thought of consequence. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between, but where does music enter into the equation? Listening to Too Fast...you may be tempted to say 'nowhere'.

Maybe it's because this CD rather morbidly celebrates the anniversary of Sid's death (of an overdose from heroin bought for him by his mother: how touching); but this was always going to have a reek of opportunism. No flashy box set this time, as Sid's entire recorded output consists of three studio tracks (basically the Pistols without Lydon) and some extremely dodgy unreleased live tracks recorded just prior to his demise. Not only that, but look what label it's on! In the 25 years since Sid pogoed off this mortal coil, commerce has conspired to make all Sex Pistols-related releases now belong to the EMI group. Anyone with the barest knowledge of Pistols lore appreciates the bitter irony of the world's last great non-conformists finally drawing their pensions from the label they claimed to have ripped off, back in the day.

Herein lies the sad reality at the core of the myth. Beneath the bondage trousers and spiky hair was just a really good rock 'n' roll band whose philosophical integrity was almost entirely carried by their singer (and let's not discuss what he's doing now...). Sid lucked into the band as an old friend of Rotten's after the good stuff was on tape and, while the live tracks here show that he wasn't THAT bad a bass player, he was obviously never born to handle a rock star's life. Listening to the truly grave-robbing montage track ''From Beyond The Grave'' you sense that Sid wasn't stupid or even malicious enough to be the embodiment of Rotten's antichrist. He was merely a lost boy who got lucky once (his version of ''My Way'' may be the definitive one) and from then was on the slippery slope.

His turbulent upbringing combined with his suspect choice of friends saw to that. Girlfriend Nancy Spungen was obviously no angel and some of the aforementioned tracks live tracks feature his pal Jerry Nolan (of the New York Dolls) on drums; himself a notorious junkie. Finally he did achieve a cheap tabloid immortality, but this CD won't raise his status as a fast liver - just a clumsy, misguided one...

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