The Ramones Tricked Johnny Rotten Of The Sex Pistols Into Drinking Urine

Think of two groundbreaking '70s-era punk rock groups on either side of the Atlantic, and chances are the Ramones from New York and the Sex Pistols from England will come to mind. Part of each band's success was charismatic and rebellious band members. The Ramones had the long, lanky, enigmatic frontman Joey Ramone and the hard-rocking guitarist Johnny Ramone. The Sex Pistols were fronted by snarling singer Johnny Rotten and sneering bassist Sid Vicious. 

Although the Ramones predate the Pistols, Rotten's band was already a sensation in the U.K. in 1976 when the New York band made their London premiere (via The Pistols' debut, "Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols" came out one year later, according to AllMusic. In keeping with punk rock's reckless reputation, the Ramones in general, and Johnny specifically, liked to play pranks on famous people they met. Such was the case in 1976 when the Ramones met the Sex Pistols for the first time.

Johnny Rotten met the band after the show

Johnny Rotten met the Ramones at the London venue called The Roundhouse where the Ramones premiered in 1976, playing for a few thousand attendees (per UDiscovermusic). Also on the bill that night were the bands Flamin' Groovies and The Stranglers. In attendance was Joe Strummer, lead singer of The Clash, another legendary punk band from the era. The crowd was otherwise full of musicians who would go on to make their name in the punk rock genre (via Louder Than War). Appropriately enough for an American band like the Ramones, their Roundhouse performance was on July 4.

Even though music industry observers had high expectations for the burgeoning international punk scene, Johnny Ramone wrote in his autobiography, "Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone," that punk rock, as he saw it, was not a competition. "We wanted to save rock and roll ... We weren't against anybody ... I thought the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, and The Clash were all going to become the major groups, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and it would be a better world," he later wrote (via Far Out Magazine).

The Ramones put urine in drinks they offered guests

Despite that collegial sentiment from Johnny Ramone, he could not resist getting up to his usual antics once he met Johnny Rotten at The Roundhouse. In true punk rock fashion, the band had a habit of putting just a little bit of human urine in the drinks they offered people they met at music functions, which most would drink unaware of what happened, as Ramones bassist, Dee Dee Ramone, told punk rock historians Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain in their oral history of the punk era "Please Kill Me."

According to McNeil and McCain's book, this is how Dee Dee Ramone remembered the Sex Pistols incident: "Johnny Ramone was very friendly to Johnny Rotten when they met. He shook his hand, patted him on the back and asked him if he wanted a beer," with just a small amount of urine added, unbeknownst to Rotten. Rotten accepted and "downed it without hesitation" (via Far Out Magazine).