John Lydon at London, Cobden Club, May 16th 2002
Pistols at The Palace Advert, July 2002
Come on then, anyone got any questions? Don’t be shy!
Where are the rest of the band?
On holiday – semi permanently. Have you read this press release that’s been passed out here because there are several things in it that are a load of old shit. Thank you to Virgin for being inaccurate again! Courtesy of EMI nowadays though, isn’t it? Now, don’t you think this is fun? Well, come on, don’t be shy… All right, look, I’ll do it for you. I’m here to tell you that on July 27, we’re going to be playing at Crystal Palace Sports Centre. 32 pounds 50p… Hardly breaking the bank, is it? There will be four support bands. They’ll be tasty numbers full of… no names, as of yet but, all good. And I can promise you one other thing: there will be three other Sex Pistols playing. But they’re not here because, as you well know I couldn’t victimise myself if they were.
Why aren’t you doing a full tour?
Cos I’m not interested in a full tour. Its my Jubilee. God Save The Queen, thank you. Twenty five years on and you silly bastards still ain’t fucking learnt from them, have you?
Why don’t you perform during the Queens Jubilee week?
Cos that was her fun, right? And, quite frankly, even before the event, its absolutely guaranteed that her lark will be fucking dismal, right? So we’ll let that taper out and then I’ll come back and remind you what being British is all about. This is our country, this is our flag, they are our monarchy. they don’t work too well at the moment, so lets make the fucker’s do a good job. Get rid of a few of the useless ones and keep the goodies.
Who would you get rid of?
Prince Charles. And quite frankly, as long as Elizabeth keeps him off the throne she’s doing a good job.
Do you admire Queen Elizabeth?
Can you talk louder and tell us who your representing?
The Daily Telegraph.
Uh huh…(laughs) The only good thing about you lot is the Arsenal section. Carry on sir.
Are you saying as long as long as she’s keeping Charles off the throne, she’s all right? You rather quite like her don’t you?
Yeah. Isn’t that what I said? Would you like me to repeat it?
But you made a record against her to embarrass her!
That’s your opinion not fact. Check out the words. Johnny’s a smart boy. Smarter than you.
Have you always admired her in some way?
I’ve always wanted to get into her knickers, that’s the problem! Know what I mean? But lets be honest, I am a Sex Pistol.
Is Britain a better place in 2002 than it was in 1977?
No, much worse. You damn well know that Mr Blair has fucked it up royally. Socialism is a joke. But you voted them in. Can you explain that to me? I mean, you know, were the Tories looking that bad? come on, someone say something. Don’t be shy. I’m not going to be here all day.
You’ve aged marvelously. But from the old days, who else do you rate?
Well, I’d like to say Glen Matlock but that would be lying. I’d like to say Steve Jones but that would be a really big lie. Paul Cook because he still hasn’t changed. His slip is on upwards.
If you love Britain why don’t you come back from LA to live here?
What makes you presume that I’d come back to Britain? Why should I? I’ve got to tell you honestly that for so many years I got endless police raids and none of you fucker’s were backing me up! And there were several setups going on there. Victimisation seemed to be a natural, par for the course, Rotten style, and you never said a word did you? You went with your middle class shite, as per usual. Would you like to talk about the money now? ‘Are you going to make a lot of money out of this? Fucking right! This is about being working class.
Will this be the final challenge, or will there be another one in five years, when your 50?
It all depends on how good a record deal we get out of it.
Any plans to write any new material?
Not for that lot, no. I’ve got other things in mind. But I might change that next year. Look, I don’t know, to be honest. You don’t know about these things but I’m quite happy end this Jubilee on a nice happy note. It is our Jubilee. This is our Britain and we’ve kind of lost that idea, alright? And when I start to see dark doubts cast out there about the Union Jack – should we get rid of it? – I just think, Oh for fuck’s sake! What are you gonna hold up? A plate glass? Or a window? And for what? What have you got? What you’ve got here is an industry. What have got as respect for yourselves, as British folk? Fuck all. Well you got me. Here I am. Come see. Its only 32.50!
Who else do you respect in terms of music/bands?
There’s quite a few who don’t need to be waffled on about but the bad ones are obvious. You can usually tell by the hairdo.
What’s a bad hairdo?
Well now. Please tell me about Beckham, you know? I mean, he couldn’t even wear a dress proper and that’s saying something innit?
Was there a finest moment in the Sex Pistols history?
There weren’t much at the time, I’ll tell you. There weren’t. It was hard slog. But I’ll tell you this; we’re proud of what we did and I ain’t seen fuck all out of anyone to beat it – plain clear and simple. We meant what we said and still do – stone valid.
Are you hoping for a number 1 during Jubilee week with the re-release of GSTQ?
Oh, that old chestnut! Look, all right – and I’ve said this many a time but get this clear – when we first released the record there was no number one that week. So do you think I can trust the chart system? You know whether its one or one million sales, who gives a fuck? When have I ever done any of this for the money? Well then? Oh, come on! I’m challenging you. Give me something to fucking talk about, you bunch of wankers! Right? Oh dear, there it is. Its because your all middle class, kiss my arse, Journalists.
What do you think about Billy Bragg releasing his own single at the same time as yours?
Well, the difference is that I think and Billy Bragg doesn’t. He’s an arsehole, a professional socialist. He’s the middle classes Coco the clown. He says daft shit on late night TV, like, Council Flats for all of us! I’m sorry but council flats for all is not a fucking option! And here’s a go…Look at the Queen Mother, God bless her – because I don’t wish death on anyone, right – but she lived to 101. Why? Because she had a pampered lifestyle! Well, I think we should all have that too, don’t you? Don’t you? Come on. You paid for it, for them. If you don’t know or care about your fucking monarchy, why are you still paying for it?
What about the remix?
Yes the remix. I’m very proud of it. And working with Neil Barnes – and you must understand this: it’s the Sex Pistols AND Neil Barnes’ remix – It’s a wonderful piece of work. Kudos to Neil. Its worth having friends.
So who exactly was responsible for the finished product?
Excuse me, did I just hear you say finished product? You cheeky fucking idiot! I’ve been around for 25 years and invented most of the stuff you listen to. Third rate imitation style! Understand this: I know my business. So what part of ‘worked with’ don’t you understand? Tell me or are you to embarrassed to? Maybe you’re just embarrassed by your bad hairdo!
You’ve said that Socialism is bad and the Queens doing a good job, so I’m wondering what’s the difference between a right winger and an anarchist?
Are you presuming I’m an anarchist?
Well you sang it once.
Yeah, but I also sang Pretty Vacant and I ain’t fucking vacant.
But just before you said you meant every word you said.
Yes the content, not each word. This is the trouble with the Germanic races (the journalist is german) You take things too literally. Okay, I’m not a fundamentalist…When I read ze bible I use it accordingly.
OK, you tell me…why are you proud to be British?
Because we’re not German. How’s about that? I like the Queen. And her hubby, the Greek. See we’ve always been an international race…
Would a show about the Lydon’s be better TV than a show about Ozzy Osbourne and his family? Have you seen the Osbournes?
Well, shame on you because a fakery like that shouldn’t be tolerated. You should find that appalling. Watching a dismal, tired, worn out, old drug addict collapse slowly into millions and millions of dollars of episodes is not interesting viewing.
Debbie Harry recently said that punk is alive and well.
Lets clarify this. The Sex Pistols is Punk. The rest is merely punk rock, plain and simple. I don’t connect us to any of that. There was no movement. And if your really honest about it, most punk records were fucking awful and just another con. But then there was the Sex Pistols, who meant it. And I suppose the Clash were big in Italy. But then the Italians do like left wing politics, don’t they?
So Solid Crew are prepared to say they can’t play. Do you have any empathy towards them and what they’re going through now?
Whoever told you we couldn’t play? It wasn’t coming from us, do know what I mean? You’ve got to bear this in mind, that we were 17 years old and 3 months later we were out on the road, gigging and recording an album. That’s tough stuff. And unlike, say, Yanks we’ve said so. We don’t wait until we’re 23 and mummy and daddy didn’t pay for anything. Look, that lot (So Solid Crew) are a joke, so please don’t waste our time comparing them to me. They have no content. That’s all you need to know. There’s the difference. And I have never, in my life, shot myself in the foot, right? It speaks volumes.
Are you happy reaching middle age?
Yes, I am, as it happens. I’m doing well, as you see. I’m not Pete Townsend. I never said I’d die before I get old. I intend to go on and on and on because I’m not aware of anything after life. That’s why I cherish what I do so well. It ain’t about the money. You all know that as a fact. You cannot call me corrupt. That’s a fact. But you can call the people I work with corrupt because that’s a fact too!
What’s your legacy?
You’ll have to explain what you mean.
How do you think you’ll be remembered?
I’m quite proud of what I’ve done with my life. To be honest. I’ve done more than most of you to make this country better, even though I’ve been viewed as a nihilist and negative. Now, isn’t that an odd circumstance to be in? What’s wrong with me and my type of people? After all, all we do is benefit you!
That shut you up. And on that sound note, I’ll leave you. I’m off.
Picture Credits: (Top to Bottom)
Pistols at The Palace Advert, July 2002