Sid Vicious was a flawed individual who lived a life that was only heading in one direction, and unfortunately, his demise was inevitable. However, John Lydon still feels a “serious sense of responsibility” about his death and takes some of the blame for the harrowing series of events which led to the bassist’s demise.
Following the end of the Sex Pistols, Vicious’ life went even more off the rails, and his relationship with Nancy Spungen was cancerous. They both became reliant on heroin and abused each other relentlessly. It was a toxic partnership en route to devastation from the beginning and tragically struck on October 12th, 1978.
Spungen was only 20 when she was found under the sink of their hotel room in New York’s fashionable Chelsea district with a single fatal stab wound to the abdomen. Her death remains mysterious, and although Vicious was immediately charged with second-degree murder, he too died before the trial reached a conclusive end.
Virgin Records paid for his $50,000 bail, which released him from Bellevue Hospital psychiatric ward. The bassist served seven weeks of detention at detox at Riker’s Island jail. However, he was released on February 1st, 1979, and that same day, he attended a party and subsequently died of a heroin overdose in the early hours of the morning.
A cataclysmic chain of events led to them dying in avoidable circumstances that Lydon feels responsible for because he introduced Sid to Nancy. “The biggest joke of all was Sid would never have hooked up with a girl like Nancy, unless I introduced her to him, which I did,” he painfully once said while simultaneously trying to fight back the tears. “So I take some really serious sense of responsibility in Sid’s demise because of that. I miss my friends.”
Additionally, Lydon told Gloucestershire Live in 2014: “He didn’t stand a chance. His mother was a heroin addict. I feel bad that I brought him into the band, he couldn’t cope at all. I feel a bit responsible for his death. There you are, I have confessed my demons.”
Even before joining the Sex Pistols, Vicious had his problems and being thrown into the cauldron made things infinitely worse. He used heroin as a tool to run away from his demons rather than deal with the issues which stemmed from his traumatic childhood, and the bassist simply wasn’t mentally stable enough to be in the most notorious band in Britain.
On the other hand, his problems would likely have festered even if he never became the poster boy of punk. Although, Nancy could be here today if she wasn’t dragged into his life which would tragically play a role in her premature death.