I make a short appearance on one of the special features appearing on the 30th Anniversary DVD edition of Sid & Nancy, Alex Cox’s 1986 movie about British punk rocker Sid Vicious and his American girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. In May of 2007, I was asked to appear in the special feature for the MGM movie re-release and contribute my thoughts on Vicious, the Sex Pistols, and the original punk rock explosion. The invitation for me to play a role in the feature documentary was based upon my active participation as an artist in the early Los Angeles punk scene.
“Kick Boy.” Mark Vallen 1979. Acrylic on watercolor paper. Detail from a portrait of Claude Bessy (aka “Kick Boy”), cofounder and editor of L.A.’s Slash magazine. Bessy was depicted wearing a T-shirt sporting a controversial image of Sid Vicious.
In my filmed interview I championed punk philosophy and placed it in the context of dissident culture – past, present, and future. I covered everything from rocker Jerry Lee Lewis setting his piano on fire during a concert performance in 1958, to punk’s protest origins and the likelihood of new rebellious cultural eruptions in the future. My inspired rant was edited down to a few minutes worth of sound bites, and my edited remarks were blended into commentary from a handful of music critics, writers, photographers, fans, and assorted misfits, who were all accomplices in the first wave of punk. I’m not at all hesitant to say that the collective voices highlighted in the special feature are no doubt more interesting, informative, and accurate than the movie they are meant to celebrate.
Look for the 30th Anniversary DVD edition of Sid & Nancy with “For The Love Of Punk” listed as a “Special Features” on the package.