Post Pistol Professionalism

The last ever SEX PISTOLS live or recorded show together, took place at the Winderland Ballroom, San Francisco, USA on January 14th 1978. It was,not to put too fine a point on it, crap! Steve JONES and Paul COOK, the Pistols' lead guitarist and drummer respectively, had both decided that there was no mileage left in the group. In fact, after this concert, the biggest row of all-time erupted, culminating in Steve and Paul telling Johnny Rotten that they would no longer carry the "useless idiot" Sid Vicious, who was basically not on the same planet as anyone. They wanted to get out, finally and irrevocably. Sid celebrated their final appearancre by falling over at least five times and being picked by the road manager and being never could play bass anyway.
Johnny Rotten, within days of this debacle, had accompanied Richard Branson to the West Indies as Virgin's Reggae and Ska adviser; Sid Vicious was trying to create a new altitude record in Los Angeles, without the aid of an aircraft and Stve and Paul, still called the Sex Pistols but no longer the group that set the World alright, were about to be despatched to Rio De Janeiro.
On reflection, calling Steve and paul the sex pistols, was just like removing John Lennon and Paul McCartney from a well known group and calling George and Ringo the Beatles. The only difference being that, in the case of the Pistols, the best two (only two remaining) musicians amongst them had been left to carry on the good work and hoist the banner of Malcom McLaren.

Flying down to Rio

McLaren, having seen his bank balance rapdily diminishing, had to come up with a new scam and this came in the ample shape of ex-Great Train Robber Ronnie BIGGS. Biggs had never heard of the Sex Pistols but he HAD heard of money. With a warrant for his arrest still dangling above him like the Sword Of damocles, Ronnie biggs couldn't be seen in England so Steve and Paul flew to Rio where he was ensconed..
When they arrived the original plans had to be adapted or cancelled. it had been intended to actually do a gig with Biggs as lead singer, but as Sid couldn't make the trip and Biggs' vocal prowess was nothing to write home about, this idea was abandoned. Instead Steve, Paul and Ronnie biggs were filmed, eating, drinking, joking, lying on beaches and generally screwing around.
Two songs were recorded, the first of which went under the extremely tactful title of "Belson was a gas". This was to be the pistols' fifth single. As if the title of this sad dying grasp at former glories was not offensive enough to prevent Virgin Records from issuing it, insult was added to injury by the inclusion of Ronnie biggs and the addition of one Martin BORNMANN on bass guitar. It later transpired that the part of Bormann had been played by an actor, however McLaren milked this 'subtlety' for all it was worth until the press finally cottoned on.
The second number was "Cosh the driver", supposedly written by Biggs himself with the music added by Steve Jones. Virgin refused to release a record with that tittle, written by a convicted criminal, whose actions directly or indirectly had led to the disablement of a train guard. This title was changed and the record was eventually released as "No one is innocent".

Really gone and done it now

The solo debut of Messrs Cook andJones came out heavily disguised as a Sex Pistols single entitled "Sillly thing" . it featured... just them; none of McLaren's optional extras a la Swindle and I supoose, looking back, became the foundation stone for the Professionals. However, let's not rush and put the cart six feet before the horse, already well flogged and half dead.
In the summer of 1978 and around the time as the Vicious White Kid's one and only live show, Steve and Paul teamed up with Phil Lynott, Brian Downey and Scoot Gorham(THIN LIZZY) under the name The GREEDY BASTARDS. The Greedy Bastards, latter, could issue a single via Vertigo Records (no surprise, in that Lizzy were signed to Vertigo) though, for obvious reasons, it came out under the name of The GREEDIES. 1979 saw the release of "A merry jingle" anf if that wasn't bad enough the flip side A "A merry jangle" was almost the same number. If you haven't got a copy you've missed nothing of great importance and not surprising the Greedis never issued another record.
By the time 1979 had dawned the swindle was well and truly in the can. Nobody loved Malcom anymore; John had P.I.L., Sid was dead, and Steve and Paul were no longer Sex Pistols because there was no longer a group. In July 1980 after much press speculation as to what Steve and Paul would do next Virgin records issued "Just another dream" , the debut single if the PROFESSIONALS. The picture sleeve credits the group as Steve Jones, Pail Cook and Andy Allen on bass however, although Steve and Paul are pictured on the back of the sleeve there's no sign of Andy. The single more than stands up for itself. "Just another dream" is an over the top guitar and drums bash, echoes of the kind of frontal attack Steve was already mastering on "Never mind the bollocks" while the instrumental "Action man" is a good number in its own right.
Three months would pass until October saw the release of the second Professionals' single "1-2-3" . A limited numberof these singles came in a poster sleeve folding out into a large colour shot of Steve and Paul. Rumour has it that "1-2-3" is a direct rip-off from the set of the American Punk band The Avengers.

The album that wasn't

What occured next was odd, to say the least! Around Christmas time 1980 Virgin Records issued a budget priced sampler album entitled "Cash Cows". The idea behind the sampler was to feature one brand new song from the twelve albums that the label would issue in the early part of 1981. The opening song was "Kick down the doors" by The Professionals and listed as taken from the forthcoming album "Join The Professionals". they even featured the cover art-work, a blow up of a running soldier painted on board, pretty much like the ones seen on Army combat ranges. The strange point came when in the opening months of 1981 a new pressing of the "Cash Cows" album featured no mention of the group or their album. In other words, any mention of a Professionals' debut album had gone missing.
The group's next output came in May 1981 under the title "Join the Professionals b/w Has anybody got an alibi". The picture coveris a kind of fold-out card featuring a painting on one side of two soldiers marching in step under two Star Spangled Banners. The gatefoldfeatured a colour shot of the group, except the group now consisted of Steve and Paul with Ray McVeigh and Paul Myers. "Join the Professionals" was a real knock out single proving that the ex-Pistols could really rock when they wanted to.
The group's album, "I didn't see it coming" arrived via Virgin in November 1981. Their last single "The Magnificent" b/w "Just another dram" came within days of the album; it's cover is a cartoon of a small boy, while the group are featured on the back. The A-side is said to be all about John Lydon "Who put you on the wall, who's the one who has to watch you fall", while the B-side is a re-release of the group's first single.

Police on my back

SOUNDS magazine gave away a free flexi featuring the group's rather funny look at this country's police force - "Little boys in blue". A Gillan trackcompleted the flexi which was issued under the title of "The sounds Freebie Number 2."
Before Christmas the group annouced a UK tour which was cancelled when news broke that Paul Cook along with Ray McVeigh and Paul Myers had all been involved in a serious car crash out in the USA. The story was, however, quite untrue. The real reason behind the tou's cancellation was Steve's increasing dependency on heroin. To quote a member of staff Virgin: "One day you read that Paul has broken just about everything, two days later he runs into the office larger than life looking for a royalties cheque."
When the group left the USA to return to England, Steve stayed on. Paul was to team up with Matthew Ashman, ex-Bow Wow Wow and fully paid up member of the Malcom McLaren school of rock management, in the group The Chiefs Of Relief.
Steve grew his hair, cleaned up hisheroin habit, released two, dare we say "heavy rock" albums.

The mysterious "Join The Professionals" debut album that never happened finally did, via Limited Edition Records in the closing months of 1990, issued in both CD and a coloured vinyl album. It's recorded by the original three piece line-up.
And finally, it may have taken him ten years, but Andy Allen's on the sleeve too!

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