Sid Vicious

Ask the proverbial American on the street to name a member of the Sex Pistols -- or, for that matter, to name the first British punk figure who comes to mind -- and chances are that the answer will be "Sid Vicious." That's because for many listeners, the myth surrounding Sid Vicious became the essence of what punk rock was all about -- anarchy, violence (especially at gigs), nihilism, wild excess, an apathetic lack of concern with everyone and everything, and dying young, all in the service of a pervasive boredom and dissatisfaction with the predictable, mapped-out existence in store for young adults of varying class backgrounds. Legend even has it that Vicious disciple and Germs lead singer Darby Crash committed suicide by overdosing on heroin in tribute to his idol. According to his myth, Vicious' demise was destiny from the start, as he chose the path of destruction and lived it to the hilt, breaking all "the rules" out of total disrespect, destroying himself and everything around him out of frustration with the hollowness of existence, a quixotic rebel without a cause who possessed a certain doomed romanticism and junkie glamour. However, what Vicious the icon (and, by proxy, the original punk movement) has come to represent in the minds of many, and what Sid Vicious actually was, are two very different realities.