In 1977, at the peak of the Sex Pistol’s popularity, Sid Vicious gave an interview, saying, “I will probably die by the time I reach 25. But I’ll have lived the way I wanted to.” The band would break up in 1978 and Sid would continue to work on his solo projects up until his death from a heroin overdose on February 2nd, 1979 at the age of 21.
If Johnny Rotten was the voice of the Sex Pistols, Sid was the face. As the brashest member, he was known to perform covered in his own blood as audience goers physically assaulted him – such was the case in the now famous Longhorn Ballroom performance in Dallas, T.X. where he had written “GIMME MY FIX” on his chest. It’s safe to say, Sid was punk as fuck. Only a few get to be an international notorious figure at his age by simply being obscene, and only a very few help spark a revolutionary subculture because of it. Not only was he one of the main radical stylish icons who defined the punk look – he lived it. He lived it way before he joined the Sex Pistols, before he played with Siouxsie & The Banshees; he had always been the exact type of person that would eventually follow his counter-culture lifestyle – a rebellious problem child. Behind his attitude and self-destructive choices, he was an enigma. Whatever happened on the night his girlfriend Nancy Spungen was found dead from a knife wound at his apartment will forever remain a mystery. A note found on Sid the morning he was found lifeless read, “We had a death pact. I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye.”
The current exhibit SID: SUPERMAN IS DEAD, showing at Subliminal Projects in Echo Park, is a collaborative retrospect between graphic artist Shepard Fairey and English photographer Dennis Morris on the short-lived but ultimately impactful career of Sid Vicious. For its opening this past Friday, an all-star line up of of musicians including Billy Idol (Generation X), Steve Jones (The Sex Pistols), Leigh Gorman (Blondie), and Clem Burke (Adam and The Ants), performed together as a band, calling themselves Ritchie Love. Inside the gallery, separate rooms contained works by Dennis and Shepard. The focal point was a life size replica of a hotel room trashed by Sid in 1977.