Sex Pistols - Spunk: The Official Bootleg (Cover Artwork)
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Sex Pistols

Sex Pistols: Spunk: The Official Bootleg

Spunk: The Official Bootleg (2006)

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4
It's easy to take the Sex Pistols for granted. Despite rarely actually digging their records out of my stacks, the band's contribution to punk rock should be held without contention (although that's hardly the case). In either case, the band needs no introduction. Spunk is a record that came abou...

It's easy to take the Sex Pistols for granted. Despite rarely actually digging their records out of my stacks, the band's contribution to punk rock should be held without contention (although that's hardly the case). In either case, the band needs no introduction.

Spunk is a record that came about in funny circumstances. It surfaced in late 1977 as a bootleg containing the studio demos of what would later become the Pistols' sole studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks. Recorded during 1976 and 1977, Spunk stands out in one significant way -- it's the only recorded material featuring the band's original lineup, which featured Glen Matlock on bass, who would be replaced by Sid Vicious in 1977. By the time Nervermind the Bollocks came out, Matlock's bass playing only appeared on one track ("Anarchy in the U.K.") despite having written most of the music on the album. Instead Steve Jones would handle both guitar and bass for the band's official release.

Some critics and fans as well as the group's infamous manager Malcolm McLaren have claimed to prefer Spunk to Never Mind the Bollocks, citing its rougher sound and closer feel to the band's live sound as a more accurate representation of what the group really sounded like. Despite being demos, the songs on Spunk are recorded surprisingly well and were once mistaken as a proper finished product by members of the British press.

Spunk contains most of the songs that would later surface on Nevermind the Bollocks, with some under different names. "Pretty Vancant" shows up as "Lots of Fun," while "Anarchy in the U.K." appears as "Nookie." There are also some songs on Spunk that wouldn't make the proper album, including "Just Me," which later appeared as the B-side to "Anarchy in the U.K.," as does "Pretty Vacant"'s B-side, "No Fun." Never Mind the Bollocks tracks that don't appear on Spunk include "Holiday in the Sun" and "Bodies."

Until recently, Spunk circulated only as a bootleg. It first appeared just before Nevermind the Bollocks, causing the Sex Pistols' label, Virgin, to question whether it was a deliberate action of McLaren, although accusations have never been proven. Once the bootleg hit the streets, it was re-bootlegged many times over and was eventually officially released on CD under the the title No Future UK?, as well as other names. The No Future UK? release contained an additional three tracks which are reproduced on this re-release, however the limited vinyl pressing does not contain the bonus material.

For even the most casual Sex Pistols fan, Spunk is much more than a typical re-issue. It's a compelling snapshot of the original Sex Pistols lineup with their principle songwriter taking part. For those who care, the vinyl is available in a limited numbered run and is sure to hit eBay sooner or later.