The Libertines’ Gary Powell on playing to “racist” Sex Pistols fans: “It wasn’t a joyous occasion”

He claims Sex Pistols fans threw Nazi salutes during a gig in 2002

The Libertines‘ drummer Gary Powell has recalled performing to “racist” Sex Pistols fans whom he claimed threw Nazi Swastika salutes at him.

Powell, who has also drummed for Dirty Pretty Things with Libs bandmate Carl Barat, as well as The Specials, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the New York Dolls, told NME in a new interview that he was shocked that the Sex Pistols camp allegedly did nothing to condemn the abuse at the gig 20 years ago.

When NME quizzed Powell in the latest Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! feature on which The Beatles song “angry Sex Pistols fans” sang during a Libertines set in support of the legendary punk band in 2002, Powell answered: “Was it ‘Get Back’? I don’t remember!”

The drummer’s answer was incorrect, with NME telling him that the fans were in fact singing ‘Yellow Submarine’ due to the bandmembers wearing matching red tunics.

The Libertines
The Libertines in 2002 Credit: Roger Sargent

Powell then responded: “All I remember was some Nazi-esque Sex Pistols fans giving me Swastika salutes whilst we were playing, and I lost it and wanted to kick off with those guys. It wasn’t a joyous occasion. There were aspects of racism pinpointed at me, with nobody standing up against it. The Sex Pistols didn’t do anything.”

Powell continued: “I’m not holding it against them, but if that happened at a Libertines show, I would expect not only for us guys to stand up and say, ‘Get the fuck out of Dodge’, but statements from our management, the promoter and the booking agents to state that we’re not OK with that.

“None of that happened from the Sex Pistols camp, and all I could see from my side was Nazi signs and racist vitriol being thrown in our direction.”

NME has reached out to Sex Pistols for a response.

Read Powell’s full Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells feature here, where he also discusses trashing hotel rooms with Bobby Gillespie, Morrissey being a “wazzock” to him, and much more.

Meanwhile, The Libertines’ singer and guitarist Pete Doherty recently shared some of his strongest Glastonbury memories. They feature Kate Moss, an “undercover agent” sent by Vivienne Westwood, and a £16,000 cardigan once owned by T-Rex legend Marc Bolan.

Doherty also told NME that he hopes The Libertines‘ long-awaited fourth album should be completed by the end of this year.

The band are set to further celebrate the 20th anniversary of their seminal debut album ‘Up The Bracket’ this year, releasing a ‘Super Deluxe Edition’ of the record in October.

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