Remembering The Bollocks: Sex Pistols week in SA 

Aging aficionados and young punks were in a bit of a hurry for the holidays to be done and over with. Right around the calendar corner, they were ready to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the infamous Sex Pistols' performance at Randy's Rodeo in San Antonio. Organizers were kicking out the jams, and there were two complementary events planned. Now, it's finally happening.

"It's going to be a lot more than just a punk rock show," said veteran scenester and cowpunk Hickoids singer Jeff Smith, whose band will run through the Sex Pistols' playlist from that night in January 8, 1978.

First, the "We're So Pretty: The Sex Pistols in San Antonio" exhibit opens Friday at the South Texas Popular Culture Center (aka Tex Pop and located at 1017 E. Mulberry). The museum has assembled photographs from the actual gig, posters for coeval punk shows, and related miscellanea, as well as the original Pistols-at-Randy's PR package. The following day, a 10-band tribute mounts two stages for The Filth & The Flautas festival, the name being a South Texas twist on the Sex Pistols documentary The Filth and the Fury. Artists will hail from a range of styles including proto-punk garage bands, punkabilly, conjunto- punk, and other label-bending genres.

In an October interview with the Current, singer Johnny "Rotten" Lydon recalled with equanimity his band's Texas splashdown at Randy's Rodeo.

"I remember it being a wonderful gig and a brilliant relationship with an audience that had very little understanding of us, and I remember the only people that misbehaved and didn't understand how great that gig was, was the British press who turned up just deliberately to write rubbish and create friction."

But creating friction was the raison d'être of the Sex Pistols. The entire tour amounted to a mischievouspromo stunt orchestrated by provocateur-producer Malcolm McLaren, who skipped over New York and other U.S. cities with nascent punk scenes and instead booked the controversial Brits to perform in venues throughout the South, primarily in country bars, to maximize the shock and awe of culture clash.

In San Antonio, Randy's redneck regulars, curious rockers, and a handful of early-adapter punks mixed unnaturally in the venue. Rotten sported a lewd T-shirt depicting two cowboys having sex and taunted the crowd; garbage rained upon the band members; bassist Sid Vicious, with the words "Gimme a fix" carved on his chest, ultimately chopped his guitar into a hostile node in the audience and clipped someone's skull.

"We heard this Sex Pistols band was coming to San Antonio, and they played this thing called punk rock, all of which was very new and we were curious about it," said Javier Padilla, who was 24 at the time. "It was a very weird crowd, all of these people with safety pins in their ears and noses, and Randy's was a weird place for it. But we had a great time and even now it is still fun to look back on."

Both of the bands that opened for the Sex Pistols 35 years ago, the Vamps and ULTRA, will have representation at The Filth & The Flautas. San Antonio garage rockers the Vamps only endured several years after the Pistols' show, but their frontman Frank Pugliese has been a fixture in the local hard rock scene ever since, and will perform with his Sons of Hercules.

And, as fortune would have it, Alamo City hard rock pioneers ULTRA, the second warm-up band for the Pistols at Randy's Rodeo, just recently reunited in 2011 in order to join a concert-fest at the inaugural Texas Legacy Music Awards, where they were among the first inductees into the Hall of Fame; they'll be in force as well.

"With the cowboys, rockers and punk guys all there, the whole thing was really volatile," recalls ULTRA bassist Scott Stephens. "Backstage they were nice guys. Sid came into our dressing room wanting to try a Lone Star beer. But we heard them fighting among themselves that night [The Pistols broke up weeks later at the end of the tour]. We were asked to warm up for them in Dallas, too, but we bowed out. We felt like a square peg in a round hole." The Nervebreakers, a proto-punk Dallas band, opened for the Pistols at the Longhorn Ballroom instead, and they too will be performing at

The Filth & The FlautasThe event pays tribute for the first time to an astonishing event that left an indelible mark on the Texan underground scene.

"We try to acknowledge everything that we consider culturally significant for South Texas music," says Tex Pop's Executive Director Michael Ann Coker. The riotous Sex Pistols San Antonio show may stand on its own as a milestone in American rock history. But the anniversary also rekindles a torch shedding light on San Antonio's own rocker roots, all too often obscured by Austin's long shadow.

The Filth & The Flautas feat. Piñata Protest, Sons of Hercules, The Nervebreakers,ULTRA, Hickoids, Lower Class Brats, The Next, The Clampdown, Heather Go Psycho, Texas Biscuit Bombs
$8-$12
6pm-12am Sat, Jan 5
Backstage Live
1305 E. Houston
(210) 698-2856
tix and schedule at saustex.com

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