The question of when and where punk rock started seems almost, improbably older than punk itself.
Was it 1970s London or New York? Was it further back in Texas-inflected garage bands like the 13th Floor Elevators or ? and the Mysterians?
But there was no doubt that punk had arrived in the Lone Star State when London’s Sex Pistols stormed Dallas and San Antonio in early January 1978. This was the group’s only American tour, with just seven dates, mostly in the South where the Sex Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren hoped to stir up maximum controversy.
Texas did not disappoint. On Jan. 8, Johnny Rotten led his merry provocateurs on stage at Randy’s Rodeo in San Antonio, and Sid Vicious clobbered a taunting audience member with his bass. Two days later, the Pistols’ appearance at the Longhorn Ballroom, a venerable institution founded by western swingster Bob Wills, generated one of the iconic images of the punks’ American tour: a barn-shaped marquee above a longhorn sculpture that read: “Tonite Sex Pistols, Jan 15 Merle Haggard.”