The Last Days of Sid

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The date and publication for this 'Eyewitness' piece is presently unknown, and much of the information contained inside it is factually incorrect.

After the Sex Pistols crashed and burned, Sid Vicious moved to New York with girlfriend Nancy Spungen. A relentlessly ghoulish story of love, smack, prison and murder was about to unfold.

Crawling from the wreckage of the Sex Pistols, the seriously smacked-out Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen decided to move to New York. To raise cash for the trip, he pulled together the Vicious White Kids, a one-night-only punk supergroup featuring Sid on vocals, original Pistols bassist Glen Matlock, The Damned's drummer Rat Scabies and Rich Kids guitarist Steve New.

22nd August 1978
The Vicious White Kids play at the Electric Ballroom, London. The audience includes Elvis Costello, Blondie, Joan Jett, and Captain Sensible of The Damned.

Rat Scabies (drummer of the Vicious White Kids) The group was originally to have been called Sid Sods Off - but Vicious White Kids was an amalgamation of the Rich Kids, The White Cats (Scabies then current band) and Sid Vicious.

Shane MacGowan (vocalist, The Nipple Erectors and later, The Pogues) The place was packed out with a really hip audience. There were a lot of transactions going down - people joining groups, buying drugs, fucking each other in the toilets, you know, the usual stuff.

Rat Scabies Sid walked onstage and some punter gobbed at him - so he smacked him with the mic stand.

Frank Murray (manager, Electric Ballroom) Sid took up the role of lead singer without an instrument, and loved it. He kept throwing Elvis shapes and grabbing his crotch - he was doing it years before Michael Jackson. He obviously hated being a bass player, and this was his band. It was as though he was living out his fantasy of being the singer and getting all the attention.

Rat Scabies We only had a 20-minute set so we had to play it twice! Nancy joined us onstage for the second set.

Frank Murray Nancy just squealed into the mic like a bad dose of feedback.

Late August 1978: Sid and Nancy fly to New York and move into the Chelsea Hotel.

Steve Dior (musician/friend of Sid) The first thing we did was enrol them at the methadone clinic. They had acquired sizeable heroin habits in London.

7 September 1978: Sid plays the first of several gigs at Max's Kansas City, New York. His band includes former New York Dolls Jerry Nolan and Arthur Kane, plus Mick Jones of The Clash.

Terry Ork (booker, Max's Kansas City) Nancy became Sid's manager. They'd come by Max's and Sid wanted to do a gig. They needed money because they were on heroin.

Bob Gruen (photographer) Sid was stoned and pathetic. Arthur Kane was on bass, so all Sid had to do was sing. They would start a song, but they hadn't rehearsed, so they'd stop because Sid had forgotten the words.

Mick Jones (guitarist, The Clash) We just about managed five songs. Five songs for five bucks. It was a nightmare between shows, it was full on. Sid was sort of semi-there. It was a serious drug thing. Me and Joe (Strummer) kept looking at each other because we couldn't believe it. The people there were as out of it as you can be without actually being dead.

Bob Gruen Mick looked a bit lost - the band were so lame.

28 September: Sid plays another gig at Max's Kansas City.

Chris Spedding (rock guitarist) I went backstage afterwards and when I shook Sid's hand I felt wetness. I saw blood on my hand. I thought he was cutting my hand with broken glass, because he was well known for self-mutilation, but then I saw it was his blood, and ice, not broken glass.

8 October 1978: Nancy phones her mother, Deborah.

Deborah Spungen She said he'd been hitting her. I spent the following days worrying. And then she didn't call. And never called again.

12 October 1978: At 9.30am, a phone call alerts hotel staff that someone is injured in Sid's room. When emergency personnel arrive, Nancy is dead from a stab wound to the stomach.

Sid Vicious There was blood everywhere. On the sheets, on the pillowcase, all over the mattress and the floor leading to the bathroom. My first thought was that she had been killed.

13 October 1978: In court, Sid is charged with murdering Nancy Spungen. With bail set at $50,000, he is admitted to the Detox Unit at Rikers Island prison.

16 October 1978: Virgin records wires $50,000 to Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren to bail Sid from jail.

Malcolm McLaren One of the reasons I want Sid out is to make a new album in New York. With a bit of luck, the money from the record might pay for the trial.

23 October 1978: Sid slits his wrists in the room he is sharing with his mother, Anne Beverley, at the Hotel Seville, Madison Avenue.

Malcolm McLaren He had been suffering rapid methadone withdrawal over the weekend, and by that evening he panicked. They patched up his arms and gave him 50 milligrams of methadone, which stabilised him.

28 October 1978: Sid attempts suicide again in the Hotel Seville, by slashing his wrists with a razorblade and a broken lightbulb, before trying to jump out of the window. He is admitted to the psychiatric ward of Bellvue Hospital.

30 October 1978: Sid phones Deborah Spungen and begs her to visit him. Soon after, she receives a final letter from him.

Sid Vicious (to Mrs. Spungen) We always knew that we would go to the same place when we died. We so much wanted to die in each others arms. I cry every time I think about that. I promised my baby that I would kill myself if anything happened to her, and she promised the same. This is my final commitment to my love.

5 December 1978: Sid is involved in a fight at the Hurrah club, New York. He is arrested the following day.

Rockets Redglare (comedian, drug dealer) Patti Smith's brother and his girlfriend were in front of us. And Sid was dancing around, playin', playing around, and... he fucked up. I think he did something to Patti Smith's brother's girlfriend, and they got into words. Sid hit him with a beer mug.

1 February 1979: Having been sent back to prison, Sid is released on bail again. Sid celebrates at the Greenwich Village apartment of new girlfriend, actress Michelle Robinson (sic). At the party he takes a hit of heroin supplied by his mother.

Anne Beverley He knew the smack was pure and strong, so he took a lot less than usual.

2 February 1979: Sid dies of a heroin overdose in Michelle Robinsons's (sic) bed.

Anne Beverley He was lying there quite peacefully. I shook him until I realised he was very cold and very dead.

Sid Vicious (suicide note) We had a death pact. I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby. Bury me in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye.

Johnny Rotten I heard it on the news. Nobody bothered to tell me. I felt nothing at the time. It's like the information of anyone's death. It doesn't hit you at first. In a curious way, I almost felt relieved.

In the course of their first US tour, The Clash arrive in California.

Joe Strummer (frontman, The Clash)
I woke up to be told that Sid Vicious had died. I couldn't eat my breakfast.

The Pretenders play their first London gig at the Moonlight Club, West Hampstead.

Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders)
Someone came up to me and said, "Wow, what about Sid?" I looked at him and said, "What about Sid?" Then I realised that no one had told me about Sid because they were afraid it would bum me out before the gig. Instead, I found out right before I went on.