20. September 1976 : '100 Club Punk Festival'Three individuals - Siouxsie Sioux, Steve Havoc (aka Steve Severin), Billy Broad (aka Billy Idol) - had been following the Sex Pistols as the nucleus of the Bromley Contingent, since they had witnessed them for the first time the previous January. They became contact to the bands manager Malcolm McLaren and finally approached him to appear at the planned '100 Club Punk Festival'.
Malcolm agreed and the next few days were spent deciding on a suitable name to perform as. It was the horror movie 'Cry of the Banshee' which inspired Steve to the suggestion Susy and the Banshees, which after Siouxsie has altered the spelling of Susy to Suzie, was accepted. Now, decisions had to made as to what roles they wouldindividually take in the band. One thing was certain whatever the outcome, it would be a pretty unique performance, as only Billy had any previous musical knowledge (having played guitar for three or four years) and they hadn't got a drummer!|
With the date of the gig drawing nearer, a rapid decision had to be made as to what the set would consist of. Several ideas emerged, the basis of the idea being that Billy would show Steve the rudimentary bass notes and they would spent the allocated twenty minute set in the total destruction of one of their most hated songs.
The basic preparation and plans suffered a set-back at this point, when Billy phoned Siouxsie and Steve to inform them that he had decided to take the advice of Tony James (the bass player of Billy's band Chelsea), to withdraw from taking part in the planned event, suggesting that his participation would only prove damaging to the reputation of their group! An alternative measure, Billy suggested that the Banshees should approach Marco Pirroni to replace him as guitarist, as he had just left Chelsea. So it was that Marco joined the ranks, although it was now two days prior to the festival and the drummers seat was still vacant. It followed that during a meeting with Malcolm McLaren at 'Louise Club' in Soho, upon relating the drummerless situation to him, he promptly asked Sid Vicious to sit in with the Banshees.
|Marco Pirroni / Viv Albertine / Sid Vicious / Siouxsie Sioux / Steve Havoc|
|After Sid's okay, a two hour rehearsal was promptly arranged at the Clash's rehearsal room in Camden for the following day. During this rehearsal a decision was taken to drop all the previous plans and ideas, in favour of a twenty minute continuous wall of noise, over which Siouxsie wouldrecite The Lord's Prayer, interspersed with extracts from what they considered the most ridiculous songs ever written, like Knocking on Heavens Door and Twist and Shout, throughoutwhich Marco would provide a soundtrack of horrendous standard rock cliches like Deep Purple's 'Smoke on the Water' and the Rollings Stones 'Satisfaction'.|
At number 100 Oxford Street, London W1 the eyes of the crowd were transfixed stage-front in anticipation, awaiting the debut performance of a band announced as Suzie and the Banshees, sandwiched between Subway Sect and The Clash. The tense athmosphere is fragmented by a feedback scream eminating from Marco Pirroni's Guitar, Sid Vicious' relentless pounding of the drumskins as influctuating minimal-beat, accompanied simultaniously by Steve Havoc's booming bassline. All this coupled with Siouxsie's piercing recital and the unnerving juxtaposition was complete.|
Friends of the band gathered to one side of the stage, dousing their sweat with pints of lager. Whilst Johnny Rotten danced his way through the crowd to the front, the other half of the audience momentarly stood aghast at the realisation that this wasn't what they were expecting or accustomed to.
So after 20 minutes of manic improvisation, the band just stopped and (on doing so) returned once more into the audience. 'God it was awful' screamed Howard Thompson (Island Records A&R man), while Siouxsie replied 'the ending was a mistake, we were going to play until we were thrown off stage, but we got bored before the audience did'!
Amongst the (mainly) bemused audience two people were sufficiently impressed to warrant them approaching the band, Nils Stevenson and Kenny Morris. At the time Nils was one of Malcolm McLarens co-conspirators to the Sex Pistols. So great was their initial impression that Nils immediately offered his services as manager and Kenny made it clear that he'd play drums for them, should the opportunity ever arise. The rest is history.
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