In November, Mc Laren temporarily relocated to New York City.
Mc Laren had been talking with the New York Dolls' Sylvain Sylvain about coming over to England to front the group.
When those plans fell through, Mc Laren, Rhodes and the band began looking locally for a new member to assume the lead vocal duties.
According to a later account by Jones, both he and Cook played instruments they had stolen.
They would go to concerts, and when these were over they would go up on stage and steal as much musical equipment as they could carry.
As described by Matlock, "Everyone had long hair then, even the milkman, so what we used to do was if someone had short hair we would stop them in the street and ask them if they fancied themselves as a singer." Among those they approached was Midge Ure, who was involved with his own band, Slik.
Kevin Rowland—who would co-found Dexys Midnight Runners three years later—auditioned, but apart from Matlock, no one was impressed. He had his 'I Hate Pink Floyd' T-shirt on, and it was held together with safety pins.
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With the search going nowhere, Mc Laren made several calls to Richard Hell, who turned down the invitation. John had something special, but when he started talking he was a real arsehole—but smart." When the pub closed, the group moved on to SEX, where Lydon, who had given little thought to singing, was convinced to improvise along to Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen" on the shop jukebox.
In August 1975, Rhodes spotted nineteen-year-old Kings Road habitué John Lydon wearing a Pink Floyd T-shirt with the words I Hate handwritten above the band's name and holes scratched through the eyes. Though the performance drove the band members to laughter, Mc Laren convinced them to start rehearsing with Lydon.
In January 1978, at the end of a turbulent tour of the United States, Rotten left the Sex Pistols and announced their break-up.