The Best Memphis Punk Band You’ve Never Heard Of

Happy Friday, you bastards, you.

In 2012, the documentary I directed about the Antenna club and the vibrant music scene which sprang up around it premiered at the Indie Memphis Film Festival. It had a successful festival run, but a commercial release of Antenna has been repeatedly delayed by music rights issues. With the help of J.D. Reager, we managed to convince Bob Holmes, who had become something of a recluse, to do an interview for the film. For three hours, he regaled us with some of the wildest Memphis music stories I have ever had the good fortune to hear. In order to honor the passing of a Memphis musical genius, I have uploaded the Modifiers segments from Antenna to YouTube and present it here for the first time since 2012.

Thus speaketh documentary director Chris McCoy.

Shit

Caroll Spinney, AKA Big Bird (also Oscar the Grouch), dead at 85. Another piece of my childhood chipped away.

Born To Lose

Say what you want about Sid being a shit bassist, he would have made a fucking great front man. Just look at him! And give the RUGGED MAN SONG OF THE WEEK™ a play over there while you’re at it. Horrible live recording, but he had the goods as a rock vocalist.

EDIT: Here it is again, for archiving purposes.

According to ancient punk lore, he actually came very close to fronting a band. Twice. The Damned asked him to audition when they were first getting together. Sneaky Dave Vanian had other plans, and sabotaged the rehearsal so he could try out first. Seems Vanian (or an associate) told Sid the band had canceled at the last minute, while Captain Sensible and the boys just assumed Sid no-showed.

Then one day, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood were discussing who would make a good lead singer for this new band Malcolm was going to manage. Vivienne suggested one of the Johns who hung around the shop all the time, because he had a great look. Malcolm assumed she meant John Lydon; she really meant John Ritchie – AKA John Beverly, AKA Sid Vicious.

Would the Pistols have had the same impact without Lydon’s brilliant, confrontational lyrics? Arguably not. Still …

BONUS: Here’s an interview Judy Vermorel conducted with Sid for her book, Sex Pistols: The Inside Story. Like most 20-year-olds, Mr. Vicious is in turns insightful and moronic.