More than most types of music that came beforehand, punk audiences did treat boys/girls the same. Siouxsie was merrily gobbed on with no consideration for her human feelings, let alone any female delicacy. And poor old Nico was treated like any other musician that the punk masses deemed to be a ‘boring old hippy’ and was showered with beer glasses as well as gob.
In 1975, Island Records dropped the stylish troubled German actress, model and solo singer from its roster. Nico was an icon linked with Andy Warhol, The Velvet Underground, Dylan and The Rolling Stones. She’d done classic sparse dark songs like ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’ and ‘Femme Fatale’ and by rock standards should have been granted admiration and respect. The comeback gig was arranged for 24th April 1978 at the Music Machine in London. The Adverts had asked Nico to support – presumably they had the reverence that a section of the audience didn’t.
This account of the gig is part of a fantastic article in No More Big Wheels :
“Nico showed up in London again in 1978, playing a set at London’s Music Machine at the invitation of the Adverts but, amidst those awed by her returning presence, lurched the kind of pug-ugly bottle-throwing punks who also manifested when she was invited to open for Siouxsie and the Banshees that September. I stood on the stage at Hemel Hempstead Pavilion and watched her sitting alone and bewildered as these Neanderthal cowards pelted this lone woman with abuse, missiles and phlegm. She fled the stage in tears and the Banshees, enormous fans who were trying to help her, were incensed.”
This image of a hand-written zine contains the assertion that the gig had been a success and it was only a few ‘punky-morons’ who spoiled it. With the usual benefit of hindsight, I can see both sides; the rock gods and goddesses were knocked off their thrones by punk; but there was no need to throw glasses at them to do so. And with female musicians and singers in such a minority, we need to keep them all, hippy, punk, rock chicks or whatever. Sorry, Nico!
2 thoughts on “Nico – Poor Old Thing”
I saw Nico supporting Siouxsie and The Banshees in Hemel Hempstead in, I think, ’79. She had a more friendly reception than the one described above although at one point she did have to retrieve a burning cigarette end from inside her harmonium.
I was there as well-a great night….and she was stood in front of me watching the Banshees-didnt have the nerve to say Hi…