The Flowers of Romance

This is the only interview the Flowers of Romance ever gave, in December 1976. It was published the following month in the underground British punk fanzine, Skum. The band were without a drummer by this stage, and their lineup consisted of Sid Vicious, Viv Albertine, Steve England, and Steve Walsh. They disbanded in February 1977 when Sid joined the Sex Pistols.

The mass media have stated that the initiative of the new wave of bands is to influence the kids with political lyrics and front a serious social revolution. There are bands like the Hot Rods who claim that they only want to have fun when playing. That is closer to the root of the reason of existence of this young movement.

One example of this "have fun" attitude is reflected by The Flowers of Romance. This band were at the Clash's rehearsal rooms in Camden when I spoke to them. The band are - Steve (bass), Steve (guitar)... (they wouldn't tell us their second names), Viv (guitar) and Sid Vicious (vocals). "I just scream down the mike."

I asked Sid what he thought were the main reasons for new bands starting up, and what were his views.

Sid - I don't know about the rest of them but personally I don't have any views on anything.

Paul - Why do you think new bands like yourselves are starting up?

Sid - Out of boredom.

Paul - How about musical influences, who are your favourite bands?

Viv - Pistols.

Sid - Yeah, the Pistols, Ramones, Iggy, Subway Sect.

Paul - What about songs of your own?

Steve - 'Love Me Do', 'Please Please Me', 'Teenage Depression' (laughter from the band).

Sid - Yeah, of course we have our own stuff, we were only joking.

Paul - What are the titles?

Sid - I'm embarrassed.

Steve - Go on, tell him.

Sid - No.

* * * * *

NOW A SENSIBLE BIT.......

Paul - If you gained a big following, and the critics welcomed you, would you play large places like the Rainbow?

Sid - I'm not into the superstar trip or anything like that. I'll never go to select places or have bodyguards, I'll just be the yob that I am now.

Paul - How old are you?

Sid - Nineteen.

Paul - On the dole?

Sid - What do you think?

Paul - Do you genuinely want to bring back music by kids for kids?

Sid - Yes, and I just wanna have fun. To me music is about fun, and if it isn't fun, it's just dull, tedious nonsense.

Paul - If you ever became established, have you any ambitions to go on to anything more complicated?

Sid - No, I don't think anyone can get above their own station in life.

Viv - Just keep it down to basics.

Sid - Yeah. If I ever got the urge to do something like that, I'd consider myself to be a total cunt, and I'd blow my brains out. Of course I'd never reach that stage, I'm too good for that.

Paul - What were you doing two years ago?

Sid - I used to be a skinhead, that's the only thing I've ever been. I don't want to belong to some potsy group wearing uniform. It's the others that wear uniform, I wear it because I've always worn it.

Paul - So you're anti-fashion?

Sid - I was wearing what I wear now a year or two ago, and then only a few of us were wearing it, but a lot of others followed on, they followed it and made it a fashion, and now people come up and say, 'gee gosh man, you're jumping on the bandwagon.'

Paul - Do you think that a lot of people that have joined in with the fashion are just hangers-on, you know, like going along to SEX and buying their leather trousers for £40, or whatever it is. Isn't that going in opposition against the fact that most of the kids are on the dole?

Sid - I work at SEX.

Paul - (Humbled)

Sid - No, that was true once but not anymore. Very few people wear the gear in the right way anyway.

Paul - What is the right way?

Sid - I don't know, it just is - it can't be planned.

* * * * *

AT LAST SOME VIEWS...........

Paul - How would you describe yourselves musically?

Sid - Energetic. Our lyrics are more like sounds to the music. I'm not into politics, that's just a load of drivel. I don't understand it anyway.

Paul - That's probably why you hate it.

Sid - Yeah, I'm not prepared to write about dull, tedious nonsense.

Paul - Don't you feel anything about anything?

Sid - I'm totally numb.

Paul - Do you hate hippies or teds?

Sid - Only when I feel like it... if I feel like killing a hippy, I will. I don't have to be angry to do that. That's what I mean about being numb. I'm more of a robot than a person.

Paul - Why?

Sid - I don't work on an emotional level.

Viv - No feelings about anything...

Sid - Yeah, that's right.

Paul - Do you like animals?

Sid - Only my mum's cat, Boris.

Paul - Do you like the attitude of cats?

Sid - Yeah, they couldn't give a fucking shit about anyone... I like people with that attitude.

Paul - Do you want to be established as a band?

Sid - I just wanna have fun, play gigs, just so I don't have to compromise for any cunt. I'll be
totally happy.

Viv - When we play we'll be satisfied and that's what matters.

Paul - Always. What if it fell below a certain standard, you know, the beat dropped a bit?

Sid - That's not what it's about, it's about having fun. I'm in it because I can't think of anything else to do, and as Johnathan Richman said, 'Cos I'm lonely.' That was true once with me but now it's not.

Paul - What's in the name The Flowers of Romance?

Sid - Johnny (Rotten) suggested it, and we liked it.

Paul - Is it in opposition to the bands with aggressive names?

Sid - No, not really. It's just a nice name.

Paul - Do you like the Velvet Underground?

Sid - I do, I like Lou Reed a lot. He's great, his attitude is great.

Paul - What do you think of Metal Machine Music?

Sid - That's amazing - his best.

Paul - Didn't you get disappointed?

Sid - Why should I?

Paul - It's all electronic stuff.

Steve - No, it's amazing. Four sides of complete garbage - amazing!

Sid - He put a loop on one side so that it'll never finish.

Throughout the interview, Sid has been strumming, on Mick Jones' old Telecaster, a few bars of the Ramones' 'Havana Affair'.

Paul - Did you know that it's scant to be quite political?

Sid - No, I thought it was just 'baby-baby mumbo, baby-baby jumbo'. Hey, that's a good line.

Steve - Bit embarrassing.

Sid - No, it's great.

* * * * *

NOW PAUL RUNS OUT OF QUESTIONS.......

Paul - What's your favourite colour?

Sid - I haven't got a favourite colour.

Steve - I like very dark grey.

Paul - That's okay, we're taking our pictures in black and white.

During this time, the group have been gobbing on a single bar electric fire.

Steve - If you have a long string of gob going from your mouth to the fire, you'd electrocute your teeth.

Sid - Yeah, if I pissed on it I'd electrocute my willy.

Steve - Go on.

Sid - No, I don't want anyone to see my willy.


WRITER:
Paul Brooks

PHOTO CREDIT:
Mark Jay