“Johnny Rotten sits on the floor, back up against the wall, as I walk into EMI’s press office. The Sex Pistols have just signed to the label and I don’t know what to expect, except that it won’t be The Rubettes. I had seen genuine fear in the face of another reporter also waiting to interview the band.
I like Johnny’s smile. It’s genuine. There’s a flash of honesty about him. We were both raised in the Desolation Row that was Sixties’ Islington so he knows my life and I know his, and that gets the biographical shit out of the way. His vitriol is meticulous but strangely melodious, something I’ve never encountered before. His vocabulary is extensive – music to the ears of someone who had sexed up his interview technique on transatlantic phone interviews with big US soul acts from some Midwest town who talked a lot about God.
I always take shorthand notes and I’m fast but I have to hang on to Johnny’s coat-tails as he whistles down the wind because I don’t want to lose a single precious word. He has ‘star’ written right through him, like a stick of Brighton punk rock. His words are sexy and sassy, strong and genuine, untutored, nourishing. I must catch every one, every aching
syllable. I feel liberated and lubricated at the same time, like a tunnel ride in a water park.”
That encounter changed Barry Cain’s life and led to a year like no other as bands including the Pistols, Jam, Clash, Damned and Stranglers ate it up and spat it out.
And, the day after that first Pistols interview, a three minute encounter between the band and Bill Grundy
at Thames TV changed everything else, forever.
77 Sulphate Strip is an eyewitness account of 1977 by one of the only journalists allowed full access to the bands. This is the true story of how it really felt and what really happened then.......and how John Lydon, Hugh Cornwell and Rat Scabies felt in 2007 about what they said and did back then and about how Paul Weller feels about it in 2016.