The Vermorel Interview

The following interview was conducted in August 1977 for the Omnibus Press book, 'Sex Pistols: The Inside Story', by Fred and Judy Vermorel.

SID VICIOUS (with Nancy Spungen present): Okay, what did you want to ask?

JUDY VERMOREL: I was going to ask you about the Jack Lewis article and how that came about and what you felt about the result of it.

SV: Well, that came about because just previous to that there'd been some incident at the Speakeasy where somebody had got injured. John Rotten and I were suspected. Course we had nothing to do with it whatsoever. [Sarcastic]

He picked me out to interview because my name was Vicious and it was obvious he was trying to find out from the questions he asked - like he asked me if I was violent and things like that and if I did this and that, all very subtle, designed for a person of low intelligence, obviously like myself.

I would be totally foiled by this, and he would get it all out of me and I would say: "Yes, I'm big, tough and vicious and I beat up all these people and split people's heads open."

And this was what he came along to do. And he was so sure he was going to get that. So I told him exactly the opposite of what he wanted to hear, I told him what a nice intellectual boy I was and I wouldn't dream of doing anything like that and I had pet hamsters and things like that, you know what I mean? Made myself seem like butter wouldn't melt in my mouth.

And he fucking fell for it as well! They're just so thick they wouldn't know a string quartet from a string vest. They're just totally dumb. They don't know a fucking thing. They make me sick. They make my physically ill because they're not in touch with what's going on. They've got no idea of what is happening. And they can't, you know, they can't handle it.

That's why, you know, when people read how I love my mummy and she's pleased that I've at last found something that's near to my heart...

Like, as far as I'm concerned, anybody with any suss looks at the picture of me standing there and looks at what I said and says the two don't go together. Of course, he lacks the intelligence, like most grown-ups, to do anything of the sort.

Grown-ups have just got no intelligence at all. As soon as somebody stops being a kid, they stop being aware. And it doesn't matter how old you are. You can be 99 and still be a kid. As long as you're a kid you're aware and you know what's happening. But as soon as you 'grow up'...

I've got absolutely no interest in pleasing the general public at all. I don't want to because I think that largely they're scum and they make me physically sick, the general public. They are scum. And I hope you print that. Because that is my opinion of like 99 per cent of the shit you find in the street who don't know a fucking thing.

JV: But is it actually the people who annoy you?

SV: Yes, it is. It's the people and their God-awful attitudes. What I want to do is put something out that I like, and like whoever else likes it will find it, do you know what I mean? And like if nobody else in the whole fucking world likes it, I couldn't give two shits. If it doesn't sell one copy, who gives a fuck? The point is that it's what we want to do. We have fun making it, we have fun listening to it. I listen to our records a lot because I like them. I think they're good records. Otherwise I wouldn't have had any part in them. I like our music to listen to as much as I like the Ramones to listen to. The Ramones are my favourite group, by the way. But do you know what I mean?

JV: Yes. What do you feel about television?

SV: I hate it and everything to do with it. It's the worst. It's depressing, television, it frightens me. The way they fucking kiss arse, you know what I mean? The way they say: "And now the wonderful this, that and the other." They don't mean one fucking word, you know what I mean? So why do it?

Do you know what I mean? I hate insincerity. If you do something you should only do it because you like it and you want to do it. Cos anything you gain is just a load of hogwash anyway. What do you do with money, for instance? I can think of one thing to do with money. [He and Nancy laugh] One thing. That's what I do with all my money. Every halfpenny of it.

JV: You were at technical college with John, weren't you? Did you get on all right there or what?

SV: What do you mean, work-wise?

JV: Any-wise. Well work-wise and with...

SV: I got on really well with John. I got on really well with the black kids - they were great, the spades at that college. They were really cool, you know what I mean? And they used to have these reggae discos with massive sound systems and they were really good. But like everything else was shit. I hated work. I never did anything at all. I couldn't do a single thing. I used to be always making excuses. And I couldn't do any of the work anyway, not because I was unintelligent or anything, but simply because I wasn't interested in it. I'm incapable of doing something I don't want to do. I just can't do it. I just can't force myself to do things. I either want to do it or I don't.

JV: Before you went there, did you anticipate that it would be good?

SV: No, I knew it would be shit. But I couldn't think of anything else to do and I was not of an age when I could just hustle, you know what I mean?

JV: How old was you when you left school?

SV: Fifteen.

JV: And what school were you at?

SV: Clissold Park.

JV: That's a comprehensive isn't it?

SV: Uh-huh.

JV: Do you read a lot?

SV: No, I never read. I read comics mostly. 'Cos I hate books. Find them tedious. I only like very entertaining books. I like horror books.

JV: Don't you think that books have anything to offer that other things haven't?

SV: No. I think nothing has anything to offer. Especially television and books.

JV: There's a much bigger range of books though than there is of television programmes.

SV: Well, I find that if I want to know something, I know about it anyway or I find out about it. And the things I don't want to know about just, you know...

I can't say I like books, but if it's necessary for me to read a book to find out something I want to find out, I will read the book, happily. But as such, I can't generalize about that. I can't generalize over anything. I don't like anything particularly.

[Sid was reluctant to let us speak to his mother]

© Fred and Judy Vermorel