My Sex Pistols Story
(Chicago, IL. Saturday 8-17-96)
It was over. The stage empty, its presence a void compared with the energy that had just filled it. Now it was gone, it had disappeared like a genie that had returned to its lamp. My heart was still pounding as I stood there in the vacant mosh pit, which only moments before had been a mass of explosive energy. It's captive audience had left and returned to the streets outside. Yeah this was it, the first and most likely last time that Johnny Rotten and his original line up would probably ever play to the lives and minds of Chicago town.
I'd waited just over fourteen years to witness what I'd just seen and yet it had ended no sooner than it had begun. It was like playing a favorite album, you'd heard it so many times and ya knew it word for word yet there were times when you probably didn't even know it was on; too familiar should I say.
The Aragon Ballroom was virtually empty. All that remained was a colored plastic mess that covered the old wooden floor. These broken plastic beer cups had also created a slippery pathway everywhere ya turned. But there again, what else would you expect after a Pistols gig?
I crushed the noisy drinking containers as I wandered over to the edge of the stage where a parade of steps led up to the balcony above. This, so I was told was where I should wait if I intended to get a picture of the band backstage. At the bottom of the stairwell were two other characters who I recognized as being part of the audience from earlier. I gathered that they just wanted a signature considering they both had a CD in their hand. As I stood there I began thinking about the arrogance of the man upstairs; Johnny Rotten. From all knowledge that I'd attained over the years he was just an arrogant, intelligent, intellect who really didn't give a fuck about anyone or anything. With that in mind I really wondered what the hell I was doing, most likely wasting my time with all attempts at getting this picture. But of all the musicians, film stars and sports personel in the world who I could of chosen to pursue such a thing, Rotten was most undoubtedly the worst. This was a suicide attempt right from the start. But on the other hand I knew that whatever the outcome, this was one thing in my life that I had to do. Even though it was virtually guaranteed that this was a doomed mission before it began, I had waited far too long for this opportunity to just let it pass.
The presence of the heavy set black bouncer who stood half way up the stairwell had bothered me since the word go. To me it was like looking at a guy who was really pissed off with his job and didn't give two hoots about it, yet was still there every day against his own will because it was simply, a job. To me his personality seemed far removed from anybody who'd be the slightest bit interested in any kind of punk music whatsoever. And as the time passed, I was getting more and more frustrated by this creep. This was a very important moment in my life whereas to him it was just another fuckin night at the Aragon. I'm sure every evening he comes across all kinds of assholes who are trying to get back stage using every tactic possible and being fucking annoying with it. That I can relate to and understand, but I wasn't being awkward, facetious or disrespectful at all. I had simply asked on three separate occasions if he could perhaps inquire back stage and see if it were possible for me to take one single photo and I'd leave. On the latter two attempts all he'd done was act like an arrogant slob and threatened to throw me out if I kept on. Talk about a macho prick.
Forty five minutes later I'd concluded that if my only way of getting to Johnny Rotten was through this piece of shit then I was in serious trouble. It was rest assured that I'd get nowhere. By now fifteen or so others had also appeared on the scene and every single one of them had something I didn't; a back stage pass. Only in my dreams would I ever get near to having such a thing. If this set back wasn't bad enough, in addition to the black man there were now five more security guards who seemed just as unpleasant. I could hear my mind battling away with itself, 'leave, go, let's get the fuck out of here, I'm bored, this is a waste of time,' but the better half of me knew I had to wait this out.
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