Spunk (Sex Pistols bootleg album)
|Demo album (bootleg) by Sex Pistols|
|Recorded||13–30 July 1976, 10–12 October 1976, 17–28 January 1977|
The album comprises studio demos and talking recorded with Dave Goodman during 1976 and early 1977, while original bass player Glen Matlock was still a member of the band. Most of the songs would later be re-recorded and officially released on the group's album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols.
The alternative debut album
Several parties, including some journalists in the British music press, immediately suspected that the band's manager, Malcolm McLaren, was responsible for the original Spunk bootleg. This would have been in breach of the band's record contract with Virgin, which was readying the release of Never Mind the Bollocks when Spunk appeared. An October 1977 Sounds article by Chas de Whalley discussed Spunk and made reference to this conveniently coincidental timing. In the Sounds article, Chas de Whalley makes reference to buying a copy in a record store on the Portobello Road. It was in fact a tiny little record store (ACME Records) in the back of the now famous ACME Attractions. The shop assistant who dealt with de Whalley, identified in his article simply as "The Punk," was Doug McArthur, bassist for Killerhertz and Kid Rogers and the Henchmen. McArthur maintained the bootleg was a better quality record and claims to have sold many copies through that little record store.
The evidence for McLaren's involvement is speculative, although it can be noted that his company, Glitterbest, retained the rights to the demo recordings as well as the master tapes – and the demos appearing on Spunk were presented in excellent quality. Also, as evidenced by the original album's "LYN-" matrix number prefix, the record had clearly been pressed in the UK by Lyntone, a legitimate independent pressing plant that would presumably not handle anything that appeared to be a bootleg, and would certainly allow the bootlegger in question to be traced if enquiries had ever been made by the genuine copyright owner. McLaren always publicly denied responsibility for Spunk, but said that he preferred it to Never Mind the Bollocks.
Some Sex Pistols fans concur with McLaren – and producer Goodman – that the raw versions of the songs on Spunk are superior to the officially released ones, particularly since Spunk approximates a faithful reproduction of the original Sex Pistols line-up's live sound. The album also features the bass-lines of Glen Matlock, which were not reproduced when guitarist Steve Jones took over bass duties for the recording of Never Mind the Bollocks.
Spunk is therefore often cited as the Sex Pistols' de facto alternative debut album. Certainly a tape of part or all of Spunk had been played to Tony Parsons as early as March 1977, and became the subject of his NME article, "Blank Nuggets in the UK", which described the recordings as if they represented an imminent debut album release.
The original Spunk was itself copied and bootlegged immediately upon release. The tracks have since been re-bootlegged countless times in many different formats, including a widespread variant called No Future UK?, which added three extra tracks, and many releases by Dave Goodman, which often feature evidence of remixing.
Spunk has also been the subject of several official releases.
Virgin Records released the whole of Spunk, without the talking between tracks, along with several other early Sex Pistols demos as part of a limited edition double-CD reissue of Never Mind the Bollocks in 1996 called Spunk/This Is Crap.
Spunk was released on 17 July 2006 by Sanctuary Records in its original vinyl format (CMQLP1395, limited to 1,000 copies). The CD version (CMRCD1376) included the three bonus tracks from the original No Future UK? bootleg.
A Venezuelan bootleg album, "Smilin' Ears", features the same tracks, except additional track of intro to "No Future" at the beginning of album. It is unnamed, consisting of "Nookie" backing speech of band members. The words spoken are:"I don't have any heroes, they're all useless. I don't need a Rolls Royce, I don't need a house in the country, I don't need a villa in the south of France. I'm happy as I am an' I'm gonna carry on".
All songs written by the Sex Pistols, all songs on the original bootleg album were simply credited to "Spunk". Several songs were presented with incorrect titles (actual titles noted in parentheses below).
- Side one
- "Lazy Sod" ("Seventeen") – 2:08
- "Satellite" – 4:10
- "Feelings" ("No Feelings") – 2:51
- "Just Me" ("I Wanna Be Me") – 3:11
- "Submission" – 4:17
- "Nookie" ("Anarchy in the U.K.") – 4:07
- Side two
- "No Future" ("God Save the Queen") – 3:37
- "Problems" – 4:19
- "Lots of Fun" ("Pretty Vacant") – 3:09
- "Liar" – 2:44
- "Who Was It" ("EMI") – 3:15
- "New York (Looking for a Kiss)" ("New York") – 3:08
- Bonus tracks on the original No Future UK? bootleg and official Sanctuary Spunk CD
- "Anarchy in the UK" (Denmark Street/Riverside/Decibel, July 1976)
- "Pretty Vacant" (Denmark Street/Riverside/Decibel, July 1976)
- "No Fun" (Lansdowne/Wessex Studios, October 1976)
- Johnny Rotten – lead vocals
- Steve Jones – guitar, backing vocals
- Glen Matlock – bass, backing vocals
- Paul Cook – drums, backing vocals
- Dave Goodman – producer
- Tracks 1–5 recorded at the band's Denmark Street rehearsal room (mixed & overdubbed at Riverside/Decibel Studios), London, 13–30 July 1976.
- Track 6 recorded at Lansdowne/Wessex Studios, London, 10–12 October 1976.
- All of side two recorded at Gooseberry/Eden Studios, London, 17–28 January 1977.
- Pitchfork Media review
- Heylin, Clinton (2003). Bootleg: The Rise & Fall of the Secret Recording Industry. Omnibus Press, London. pp. 127–33. ISBN 1-84449-151-X.
- Goodman, Dave (2007). My Amazing Adventures with the Sex Pistols. Omnibus Press, London. ISBN 1-904438-48-2.
- Classic Albums: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols. Isis/Eagle Rock Entertainment. 2002.