Pistol: Punk rock beginnings
When I read about this mini-series I got excited and had to connect to the Disney+ in an instant. By coincidence or not, they are releasing lots of TV shows or movies based in rock bands' biography in the last couple of years. That is awesome.
During my teens, I started to hear more punk rock, and of course, Sex Pistols were on my set list. They weren't playing anymore but still, every punk rocker knows about them and also who was Sid Vicious. It is incredible to know how this guy wasn't the best musician in the band and even the most important person in the band, but still after his death, a punk symbol. When I was more into the punk rock movement, I read some critics behind this band saying that the band was commercial, that it was just a symbol mostly created by a man called Malcolm McLaren. But still, I didn't go deeper about it. And now after 20 years of that, Disney+ released in their streaming service this 6 episode mini-series.
This mini-series is based on a biography released by the guitarist Steve Jones. He was a guy with a terrible childhood with a dream to have a rock band. He gathered people and instruments ( that he stole), but like the mini-series empathized, terrible at making decisions, maybe because he never had a good father figure, that could lead him and help him to make his own decisions. He needed someone to make the decisions to his band, and he found someone. Malcolm Mclaren was an ideological guy that wanted to do a music revolution to defy the system in Great Britain. Malcolm had some managing experience previously with the New York Dolls, a band that is also associated with the punk rock beginnings.
In general, a band has a leader, a musician within the band that makes the most important decisions, but in this case, the leader was a puppet from the manager. So Malcolm was behind from all the drastic changes in the band! The first big change was to dismiss the guitarist to fit John Lydon (most known as John Rotten) as a vocalist. But then, Steven had to move to the guitars, even without knowing how to play the guitar. So he learned at first just to play 2 accords, which was already enough for a punk rock music. Another big change came later, to dismiss the bass player Glen Matlock, the most technical musician in the band, because he didn't fit well as a punk image. In addition, John wanted his friend Sid Vicious in the band. Sid a real problematic boy ,that used drugs and was in the middle of fights constantly. In addition, as mentioned he had never played bass before.
So the third big decision that Malcolm was behind, was to dismiss John Rotten, because he wanted to Sex Pistols to become independent from the manager. All these decisions made the band have a start and an end. The band ended with only 1 album released which still brought lots of punk classics such as "Anarchy in the UK", "God Save the Queen" and " Pretty Vacant".
One thing that amazed me in the series is how the actor that plays John Rotten, Anson Boon, mimed the real singer so well. The attitudes and the way he almost came from a mental hospital. The directors chose very well the actors, all young like the musicians at the time, including the manager Malcolm Mclaren. These young actors were already seem somewhere! The most famous probably is Maisie Williams, from Game of Thrones, but she is a secondary character that doesn't interact much with the singers. Sid Vicious actor, Louis Partridge, was in Netflix's Enola Jones as an almost romantic par with Enola in the movie.
I guess that the mini-series could show very well how Sex Pistols changed the UK, the behaviors and music mostly. And also how the past of these kids caused so much trouble to them even after becoming famous. The most drastic consequence is the death of Sid Vicious by heroin overdose.
Thanks for reading, here is the trailer of the mini-series: