USA Tour Diary 06

The Sex Pistols Experience have been working hard around the u.k for some time, as their reputation grew, more & more enquiries came in from over sea’s, and so work visa's we're sought, & granted for the u.s.a, & they have just completed a full u.s.a tour spanning over 5 weeks, and taken in many town's & cities along the way, from as far south as Dallas, Houston, El Paso, & Austin in Texas, then the whole length of California, inc' San Diego, L.A, Hollywood, Up to Fresno, San Francisco, right up to Seattle & Spokane in Washington state. Then all the way back down filling venues all the way, to finishing off with a storming show in Las Vegas. It was a terrific tour, and took over a year in the planning, being delayed once due to the terrible storms & floods in the southern states last year.


The Sex Pistols Experience, being a tribute show, pitch themselves in that 18yr gap between the bands split in Jan 1978, to the reformed tour of 1996, kind of a 'what might of been' had they continued on beyond San Francisco, had Sid not died, and continued to play & tour on into the 80's & early 90's..! And so it was considered that the best place to start off a U.S.A tour would be to pick-up where the Sex pistols left off, not where it all went wrong in San Fran', (Plus Winterland is now apartment blocks) but from the night before, Cains' Ballroom, Oklahoma. So the deal was done, & that was the anchor date for the rest of the tour to follow.



It was a 6am start, usually the kind of time the band get to bed, a cold, frozen, grey England morning, we were glad to be leaving, But during the oncoming journey we faced endless delays, missed flight connections, several security searches, & the Sex Pistols experience finally arrived, some 5hrs later than expected into Chicago, missing the onwards flight to Tulsa, But that allowed the band to recover with a night out in the city. There was two feet of snow, & biting cold air. We found the first sports bar we could, and stayed there.




Early next day, after yet another thorough security search, we got the 8am flight, finally touched down in Tulsa Oklahoma, & checked into the Downtown Plaza hotel for the first date of the tour. Cains' Ballroom.



Day off. Went to the nearest guitar centre to stock-up on strings & drum sticks, then band were supposed to be relaxing & acclimatizing to the country, best place for that we!? spent the night trying to get wasted on crap American beers.




First thing in the morning, after meeting up with Elvis 'Craig' Presley our tour manager & head of security for the tour, the band appeared live on the Tulsa rock radio show, Z-104.5 for interviews & to promote the Sex Pistols 'return' to the venue.  The band we’re given a very warm welcome on arrival to Cains', and spent the afternoon walking around the venue getting a feel for the place, taking photos, and the venue taking as many photos of the band.. The ballroom had changed hands four years back & had undergone some major refurbishments but in keeping with the style of old, & preserving as much of the original interior as possible, including the famous 'punch hole' in the dressing room wall, made by Sid Vicious with his newly acquired knuckle duster's. That piece of wall was carefully removed, and now resides in a large picture frame in the manager’s office.! (Photo included) The venue celebrate & are proud of their heritage, and recognize the bands that put them on the worlds venue map, none more so than the Sex Pistols. The gig itself was terrific, & very exciting to see, backed up with huge local press interest. A good crowd were
there, not quite a sell-out, and they all got into the gig, jumping about & going nuts, blown away with the accuracy of the music, & look of the band. Finishing the set off with encores from the 'Sid'.. Or rather the 'Kid Sings’ set, Something' Else, Come'on Everybody', Wanna be your Dog, Born to loose, My Way etc. another facet of the band that even the 'real' Pistols can't do.!



The day after was Dallas, a 6hr drive brought us to the Granada Theatre, which proved to be one of the best show's of the tour, apart from some asshole's throwing bottles, that, as far as the band are concerned, is just not on, and at the beginning of  'Submission' Johnny had had enough, walking off stage refusing to come back, & leaving the vocal duties to Kid vicious to handle.! The whole two hour set was performed and filmed for posterity on the soon to be released DVD 'live from Assassination City', edited in with snippets of the group's cameo appearances in the sequel to Alex Cox's 'Repo man', filmed when they spent the following day filming on location around Dallas. (The film title has to be kept under wraps for the time being)



The next day, we took the chance for a little sight seeing, Dallas's most famous event of note was the assassination of JFK, so we headed into the city & took the short walk down Elm St, following the route of the
motorcade, around the corner onto Houston St, then down the 'snipers alley' of Deeley Plaza, where the convoy of the presidents motorcade slowed down to
5 miles per hour to allow the 4 assassins every chance to blow the president away.  First shots got JFK in the back & through the neck, third hit the pavement missing totally, 4th shot got governor Connolly through the side & arm, 5th hitting by the freeway bridge underpass, 6th shot was the famous head shot killing the president dead.  The exact spot marked with a red 'X' painted on the road so the tourists can stand and have photos taken there. . Only in America.!  We went up to the 6th floor of the Texas book depository, which is now a government run museum, who'll say nothing other than Oswald did it with his own gun from the sixth floor window. ...Whilst sitting in the cafeteria having lunch, owning a gun that cannot be fired that quickly, and running out of the building to fire the front head shot from the grassy knoll 100yrds away.  A fucking miracle if you ask me.! ...Only in America.!



Whilst in Dallas & before heading out to Houston, the group called by the infamous ‘Longhorn Ballroom, long thought to be demolished or closed down, but its most defiantly still there, although a little run down, it
doesn’t appear to have changed at all from Jan 78' when the Sex Pistols appeared there, the only other gig from that tour, along with Winterland, that made it onto film. With Sid totally out of it on heroin, 'look at that, the living circus..!"  Johnny famously said about Sid.  The Sex Pistols Experience all took to their places on stage, soaking up the atmosphere & imagining how it must of felt in the face of such adversity.! The stage, and pretty much the whole venue, has stayed the same. The rafters thick with filthy black dust, true spit & sawdust cowboys place. And when asked the  following week by Johnny Forgotten, when the S.P.Ex appeared as special guests on jonesy's jukebox, "if that was a good gig looking back??"  Steve Jones said

"No, it wasn’t, it was scary, full of cowboys & gingers all wanting to kill us! " Longhorns gets the occasional band on today, usually just local talent, its a big place holding in the region of 3000 punters, but is so far out of the city, in the middle of an industrial area of downtown Dallas, that its glory years seem to have passed it by.  It’s in need of some long overdue T.L.C, or at least a lick of paint.!? We hung out there for quite a while, snapped some photos, had lunch, stole some souvenir ice buckets, the only thing we could find with 'Longhorns' printed on.! Then time to move on for a long journey to Houston.





Weather warnings on the radio on the way into Houston warned of severe storms & torrential rain, and advised only essential travel & not to go out door's unless absolutely necessary! Not a good sign, the whole of the usa & the only storm in an otherwise sunny country was right over the top of the Sex Pistols Experience..!  However, it wasn’t a bad turnout considering, and we we're very well looked after by the Meridian venue, which made for a good show & enjoyable night for all those that braved the storm to see the band.



We took off early to get ahead of the bad weather, another long drive to Austin, Texas. A cool party town home of many great artists & venues, unfortunately we we're booked into one of the worst. The booker had
tried to pull the plug on the gig a few days before hand, leaving us high & dry with nowhere to go, so a much lesser door deal was reached, consequently little or no promotion was done, no-one knew we were in town apart from a few hardcore fan's, we enjoyed the outdoor location of the venue, and had a good time with the fan's who came and played pretty well. Shame about the lack of promotion as it would almost certainly of been a sell-out as everyone had told us how good Austin is for the band scene, but not for the S.P.Ex , maybe next time.?



We got away early, all aboard the bus for the 8 hr journey to El Paso, we had the next day off so decided to take a detour to visit the Alien town of Roswell, arriving late at night, Crooky, Johnny & Nancy decided to head out into the night, & found themselves in a saloon type 'disco' bar, keeping their heads down as best they could amongst the cowboys. 'Cotton-eye Joe' & Garth Brooks blaring through the crappy sound system, the bar full of 'Clint Eastwood' stereotypical cowboy’s, many wearing stetsun cowboy hats, with mobile phones replacing 6 shooter gun's in their otherwise empty holsters. The strangers in town stood out like neon signs, the locals must of thought the aliens had come back..!

DAY 11


Spent the day mooching around Roswell, visited the alien museum, which is full of all the evidence you could ever need to convince even the most cynical of non-believer into being convinced, by the time you've seen all the exhibits that Alien's did indeed crash-land in a remote field just outside the otherwise insignificant town of Roswell.  The locals all know somebody, or have a tale to tell of someone who's disappeared, been abducted, or been 'visited'. So many tales kind of undermining the 'fact' that Aliens did visit, crash-land, and alien bodies were recovered from the wreckage!  ..The Sex Pistols Experience believes it, and so did many other, now mysteriously, 'dead' people.!?  The tourist shops flogging tired dusty old Alien figures, ashtrays, postcards and countless amounts of Alien junk have made the town the tourist Mecca it is today, did it/didn’t it happen?? The not knowing for sure makes it all the more easy for another government cover-up... only in America!


DAY 12


At the same time as we were told about how 'great' Austin is, we we're also warned off in no uncertain terms from playing El Paso, being right on the Mexican border, we we're told of how the town run's on unlawfulness, and that "no-one will show", "you'll get shot" "they're mad them there Mexicans" etc, etc, Yet on arrival at the venue 'Lucky Devils' we we're greeted with a queue outside stretching down the road, dozens of punk rockers waiting for the circus to come to town...& we'd just arrived! We bustled our way through and into the club, the local El Paso Times had
conducted an interview with Paul Crook the week before which had made headline news & a full colour front page ad' announcing the Sex Pistols Experience arrival into town that Saturday. Nothing like this had ever come to El Paso before, & may never come again, so everyone had turned out to see what all the fuss was about from this English band.  It made for a great
night, everyone was very friendly, & the band played a blistering set that set Lucky Devils on fire!  Autograph signing went on for long after the bar closed, and we made many new friends in El Paso, we'd recommend any touring band going out of their way to visit the city.

DAY 13


Leaving El Paso early for the long, hot, 8hr drive through Texas & into the Arizona desert, watching Ramones DVD’s to pass the time, we made a stop at a KFC for lunch, which, bizarrely, turned into a full on assault for autographs, firstly from one of the members of staff who'd seen the S.P.Ex in the press, then everyone wanted a piece of the strangers from
England, who no matter how often it was said " we're the Sex Pistols Experience, a tribute band from England" they just seemed to block out the words 'experience' & 'tribute' from their ear's,& so with word spreading fast around a packed KFC that the "SEX PISTOLS ARE HERE!!" turned into a frenzy... we made a hasty exit.


  After a day long drive crossing from Texas into Arizona it was decided it was time to stop for the night & get some 'light refreshments'. Turning off the main highway 10 just before Tuscon, the small western town of Tombstone is found nestled between the mountains by the Mexican boarder. The roads turn to dust cart tracks, and any sign of the modern age is left behind as we approch the cowboy town. We checked in to the old colonial motel, Craig, our tour manager, head of security, & driver decided after the long drive it was time for an early night, leaving us alone to head out to find the nearest bar.
As we walked through the double swinging door's of the nearest saloon it was one of those moments when it seem's as if time stood still, heads turned, silence fall's, and all eye's are on us. We quickly notice we're the only one's not dressed like line dancers! the whole place is full of Cowboys, all eye's sweap across us five, checking us out one by one, and finally, land on Nancy looking like a New York hooker..there's going to be trouble.!??
As the beer's flowed we got talking to some tourists from out of town, curious as to who we were and why we were here, explaining that we're a band on tour & just passing through, but that only brought about more attention, a bunch of cowboys strolled over in full western regalia, decked out in their best 'John Wayne' outfits gun's slung low on their hips, stetsuns tilted down with just enough room to peer out at us, with a look to kill, introducing themselves as the 'Erp Brothers', and stating very clearly that "THEY were the only show for this town", & "the town ain't big enough for the both of us!!" and, "would we care to come along to the O.K Corral at 12 noon to see how we do it in the west??" phew.. the Cowboys were the local Wyatt Erp shootout actors, just finnished from the evenings re-enactments for the towns holiday makers and out for a few beer's! We all got along great as more and more Mexican Corona's flowed, we moved from bar to bar, visiting many of the legendary watering holes of the 1800's, The (origional) Chrystal Palace, Big-Nose Kates, Oriental Saloon, the Birdcage, Doc Holliday getting more & more pissed as he tried hard to keep up with Paul Crook & Johnny Forgotten's legendary beer intake, eventually giving in & spending the rest of the night trying to hit on Nancy. We soon discovered that drinking, gambling, shootouts, loose women, and good times are certainly no thing of the past in Tombstone!
The next day we had just enough time to call in at 'Helldorado' to see the cowboys in action, there wern't so many shots fired off this morning as the legendary cowboys had some legendary hangover's to match! Then a quick stop off at the 'Boothill Graveyard' to visit the graves of the wild west bad boys of days gone, hung, shot, stabbed, murdered, they all found their way to the Boothill graveyard, a who's-who of wild west hero's.
Time to hit the road road again and say goodbye to our new friends 'The Cowboy Faggotts' as we made our way accross the Arizona desert, only 12 hours to San Diego...

Arriving in San Diego in the early hours of the morning, we checked in the hotel & crashed-out, only to be awakend a few short hour later from the chaos that seemed to be happening right outside.
The hotel was directly below & only feet away from the flight path of San Diego airport! ..ontop of that, the main rail link between here & L.A ran right behind the room's we were in. Every few minutes a fucking great big freight train was steaming past inches from our heads. Sleep-in was out of the question.
So we had the afternoon free to explore San Diego, had a wander along the harbour into town, through the 'Gaslamp district' of bar's, restraunts and curiosity shops. Paul Crook called into the workshops of 'Zebra 3' to say hi to the guy's who'd built his Starsky & Hutch Ford Gran Torino, the custom built machine monster of a car that can be seen cruising the street's of Yorkshire came origionally from the street's of San Diego, the guys there we're busy puttin the finnishing touches to some new General Lee's for promoting the as then up-coming movie 'The Dukes of Hazzard'.
The gig that night in the Casbah went pretty well, security hsd their work cut-out for them with a handful of mad punk rockers who'd never seen anything like us before and were geting a little 'over excited'. Kid & Nancy finnished the night off with 'Wanna Be Your Dog' & 'Born to Loose'.
Some punk kid foolishly asked 'Nancy' for her autograph, with no paper to hand she made do with writing 'I love cock' on his neck, he spent the rest of the night proudly showing off his 'Nancy autograph to everyone who'd listen, ...whilst we were all giggling..!
It took us a good hour or more to get through the security checks at Disneyland, searching everything we had, once inside we found our way to the Anaheim 'House of Blues', with an unlimited 'Disney' budget available, the venue was one of the more impressive we'd played, big stage, good lights, great sound crew, all the free beer we could drink & huge food rider, with all the pleasure's of Micky Mouse & his pal's right outside! We took full advantage... well of the beer anyway. We we're still playing the usual two hour set we'd alwas done at this point, it wasn't until the next day when a certain 'Steve Jones' told us "we only need do an hour or so,

san diego flight path

This guy really loves it




Jones dukebox

the Americans have a very short attention span, anything more than an hour is not expected, not only that, its wasted as the audiance will just get bored!" In a country of mass consumerism, who were brought up on a diet of everything available in vast volume to assault all the sences, the american nation need a constant flow of everchanging 'product' to keep their minds active and alert, otherwize bordom soon sets in, and a search for there next fix of stimulation begins.
So despite the great sound & light show, (which is not what the pistols were about anyway) we made that our last night of the 2hr sets, as we could see people getting bored! Shuffling from foot to foot, we were giving everything we had, but in the end figured its better to hit & run, leave them wanting more. Fine by us, we can then get back to the free beers.Los Angeles on Thursday Febuary 9th, another glorious day of hot Claifornia sun. We made our way into the city to early, mile after mile of all six lanes of highway blocked up with bumper to bumper commuter traffic. Eventually turning off and heading towards the famous 'Hollywood' sign & up & along one of the most famous streets in tinsel town, Sunset Boulevard, turn a left at the top and were parked up outside the impressive office block that houses Indi 103.1 radio station, who were awaiting our arrival as special guests that day on former Sex Pistol Steve Jones's radio show 'Jonesy's Jukebox', which is now fast becoming the N01 most listened to show in L.A & Orange County. After a few cool beers across the road to loosen up, we met up outside with Steve's on-air sidekick Mark Shovel, and made our way upto the station. With a big beaming grin, Jonesy wanderd out to greet us...
"ey-up whats all this then..? Hello lads, i know who you lot are, dont you look a sight!!?" And then straight on with the show, Steve played afew records whilst we set minimal gear up in the small studio, a brief introduction, a few questions, and before we knew it we were playing the Sex Pistols 'Pretty Vacant' live on air with Steve Jones playing his accoustic guitar next to Steve Clones who belted it out note-for-note, Crooky making do with one small cymble & a snare drum as a drum kit, & having to kick the guitar case as make-shift bass drum, Kid Vicious plugged into a tiny practice amp, and Johnny singing straight into the interview microphone, amazingly we pulled it off, Steve obviously enjoying himself as he sang along on the chorus, & screamed and shouted over the end of the song..! We spent the whole two hours live on air with Jonesy, chatting, & playing live pistols music with him alongside, a very memorable day! It seemed a long time ago when we started out in 2001, relentlessly rehersing in a freezing cold outhouse in north yorkshire, we'd mentioned how cool it'd be if one day we could get to L.A & go on Jonesy's Jukebox, it seemed an impossible dream.!?? ( A fuller transcript of the show is on the 'Jonesy's Jukebox' page.)
After the show we hung-out a while, had Steve sign a few books and things we'd taken along, gave him a S.P.Ex t-shirt & tour mug (available on the 'Store' page!) Steve handed over one of his newly printed 'Jonesy's Jukebox' T-shirts to Steve Clones for a job well done, and we made our way off, just as we were heading out the door, Jonesy came after us with his mobile phone in hand, " just got a message through from Dublin" he said, "Love'd the Yorkshire Pistols, say 'hi' to em - Joe Elliot" , fellow Yorkshireman & Def Leppard frontman. Back to the pub for rest of day.





The gig that evening was cancelled by the L.A Fire department, who decided it was too risky to have us play the newly opened Safari Sam's venue on Sunset Boulevard, due to the expected turnout, and a couple of failings on behalf of the club and its emergency exits, so an alternative venue was quickly found, the 'Zen Sushi bar' in the foothills of the Hollywood hills, an ex Japaneese restaraunt and bar, but the upstairs room held a small stage, and room for a couple of hundred, hardly an ideal venue for our first time in L.A, but it had to do.

So it was with minimal equipment again, making the best of the hired in P.A & backline equipment, we took to the stage and gave it our maximum to our newly reworked hour long set. Concentrating then on just the classic 'Bollocks' album & the odd 'B Side', It worked a treat, everyone seemed to go crazy, or just stood staring, blown away with it all, Eddie Jordan, F1 racing driver & a big pistols fan came over to congratulate us & couldnt belive what he just witnessed, then went back to trying to chat-up Nancy again. There were quite a few 'faces' in the crowd, but we just went out the back doors, leaving the steaming stage behind, sank a few cool bottles & left them all to it.








Leaving L.A behind we now had to head up north on the I-5, pacific haighway, for the longest trek so far, eventually taking us all the way up to  the top north-east corner of the USA, almost bordering onto Canada, into Seattle. We'd stop off to gig in Fresno to break the trip up, then, following in the footsetps of the Sex Pistols 78 tour again we arrived into San Fransisco for a gig at Studio Z, (Hi Gil), it was cool to play San Fransisco, a real sence of 'drama' & 'occasion' for us & an acheivment we'd never imagined possible when we began rehearsals 5 years earlier. We had a plush hotel for our base and had the next 3 days off to go explore the city.






Fours hours further north was Chico, a small town with a huge reputation as one of the best party towns in the USA on account of the huge numbers of students studying & living in there, those student fee's have to be paid from somewhere & we arrived to find it'd been set up for the Sex Pistols Experience to be the judges at the local strip joint to pick out the best new amateur girl.!   A task we 're more than capable of handling.  Cant say too much on here, (you'll have to ask the band!) suffice to say we took to it like ducks to water.

The gig in Chico however was not as good. Feb 14th, better known as Valentines day is traditionally a crap night to be playing a gig for obvious reasons. Chico was no different. We did have a great time in our short stay there though & met some cool people, we hope to return to do the job right at some better time in the future.  










Passed through Eugene, to Portland in the state of Oregon for a show at the Rock'n'Roll Pizza venue. It was getting more & more colder as we went north, no longer was it the shorts & vests weather of L.A, we we're now layering our clothing as it turned minus -9 by the time we got past Mt St Helens & into Seattle. Studio 7 venue is a big old warehouse just on the edge of the city, with no effective heating in such conditions & security insisted on keeping the entrance door wide open to attact the punters. At one point Nancy, freezing her tits off, blew the electrics with the ammount of heaters she'd put around her at the merch stall.!  

There was some great support bands on to try warm the place up a little before we took to it, it all got a bit lively, a few over enthusiastic punks getting thrown out into the cold, but generally a good night in Seattle, ( A few live tracks from this show can be heard on the new live C.D.) Hopefully we can return when the weather isn't so against us. There's a great band scene in Seattle, and lots seemed to be going on, but we unfortunatly couldn't hang around as we had to get back on the road towards Spokane.

Driving through what has to be some of the most impressive scenery, it was like being in the Swiss Alp's, skirting around Mt  Rainier national park, through thick snow amongst the ski resorts. Stopping short of Idaho & Montanna states is the small town of Spokane, which turned out to be a lot like El Paso in its welcome for us.  Well worth going the extra miles to get here as it turned out to be one of our favourite gigs of the tour.





We then had to turn around and go back the whole way we'd just come. Calling in at Tacoma's Hell's Kitchen, just outside of Seattle, sharing the bill with 'Hell's Belle's', the all girl Ac/Dc tribute & one of the most popular bands in the region. 

Again, we couldn't hang around having to get on the road for the 17hr marathon journey to San Jose, all the way back down to just outside of San Fransisco.  A small pub/club type venue that turned out pretty well for us (hello again Gil) the support band didn't show up, so we went back to a longer set-list, Kid Vicious got a bloody nose somehow, and it all went down great for a Tuesday night.

We decided to spoil ourselves on account of the long journey we'd just endured to get to San Jose, so booked ourselves into a plush, 'top of the range' hotel, for some well earned R&R, much needed as we also knew what was coming our way soon, ..Las Vagas.!