She Ain’t No Human Being (The Sex Pistols) – Bootleg

Don't Ever Get Near This Line Of Bootlegs

Don't Ever Get Near This Line Of Bootlegs

I am only reviewing this bootleg in order to warn you: don’t ever, never buy a Sex Pistol bootleg. Don’t even ask to listen to it beforehand. Keep your distance. That is all I can tell you. The guys were famous for sounding bad live, and their performances were unofficially captured in the shoddiest of ways.

This particular line of bootlegs has at least three titles and I have listened both to this one (named “She Ain’t No Human Being”) and to one named “We Have Cum For Your Children” (not to be mistaken with an “official” release of the same name, put together by sound man Dave Goodman). Not only is there a huge fidelity problem, but the track listing is wrong. That is, they got the pressings all mixed up. If this album had had what it was supposed to have, it wouldn’t have made it listenable but at least it would have given it a certain retrospective value. According to the sleeve, it was to include “Watcha Gonna Do About It”, “Did You No Wrong”, “Understanding”… Instead, I have two discs that are like replica sets of “Bollocks” songs, with minor differences here and there (disc 2 has “Good Save The Queen” and a demo of “Liar”, and even the demo sounds appalling. That very same demo is available on the Spunk/Spedding discs and it sounds way better).

To add insult to injury, the first disc has been arranged as if it were their entire final gig at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. The first and last tracks are the real item (Anarchy In The US, Bodies, Belsen Was A Gas and No Fun are genuine performances), but the one who assembled this sandwiched other takes of the remaining songs between them, in the order that they were performed that night. For example, the version of “New York” is a garage-ish demo. If you want the “true” San Francisco performance, that can be found in its entirety on another bootleg entitled “Gun Control” (Sid Vicious is on the front cover).

Just look at Johnny’s face…

No fun indeed…

The one and only value this has is in the interviews and audio clips that are featured. The best one might be the radio interview at the end of the first disc – it lasts something like 10 minutes, and it is quite funny. At least, I used to find it funny when I was younger, owing to the level of profanity on offer. The Sex Pistols were/are nothing but transgressors to a sizable part of their audience, and the chance to see their musical chaos translated into a context other than the stage is obviously appealing.

Disc 2 also has the infamous comment by London councilor Bernard Brook Patridge on punk music. The immortal lines “Most of these groups would be vastly improved by sudden death. The worst of the punk rock groups I suppose currently are the Sex Pistols. They are unbelievably nauseating. They are the antithesis of humankind. I would like to see somebody dig a very, very large, exceedingly deep hole and drop the whole bloody lot down it” are accompanied by some burlesque music on the background.

I am not even rating this two-disc set. That is besides the point. If you wanted to sample the nihilism that characterized the band live, you should have been born in 1960 and lived in England back then. I am afraid that would have been the only way. Bootlegs like this only highlight that so much chaos couldn’t be held into tape, and much less a shoddy tape. And I want to dedicate a song by Dr. Hook to the one who pressed this particular line of bootlegs. The song is “I Got Stoned And I Missed It”.  Enough.