They don’t call him Johnny Rotten for nothing.
A who’s who of punk royalty — including Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon — gathered in Los Angeles on Wednesday night to celebrate Epix’s new docu-series Punk. Things got testy during a panel session, when Lydon nearly came to blows with The Ramones’ Marky Ramone.
According to Rolling Stone, Lydon scoffed at Ramone’s comments about The Ramones’ legacy. “[You’re] not even an original Ramone!” Lydon quipped, to which Ramone replied, “But I did the Blank Generation album with Richard Hell, and you took his image. All you guys took Richard Hell’s image. That’s all you did.”
It goes even better from there, so do yourself a favor and read the full transcription as provided by Rolling Stone:
“And you’re still covering your fucking ears,” Lydon said, grimacing that he’d gotten a rise out of the drummer.
“And Sid Vicious was the star,” Ramone said, prompting Lydon to smile and stick his tongue out. “That’s right, he was,” Lydon replied. “He was the star for asshole fake idiots like you. Enjoy your drugs and fuckin’ have a happy death.”
Lydon then continued his attack on the drummer. “Punk music for me was positive, proof positive, that we could change our lifes by music, meaning what we said, attack the political systems,” he said. “This daft cunt is into fucking drugs.”
“You talk the talk, but you didn’t do the walk, just like the MC5,” Ramone said. Lydon then stood up and danced around, “Hello, Johnny Rotten never did the walk?” Then as Ramone continued, Lydon looked at him and said, “Look at you, you look like a heavy-metal fucking reject.”
“Sit the fuck down,” Ramone said.
Ramone wasn’t Lydon’s only target of the evening. After being introduced to Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins, Lydon remarked, “Henry, we ain’t never met before, have we?” You’ve said silly things but excellently good things, too.”
“And you called Black Flag a bunch of suburban rich kids and we wanted to tear your ears off,” Rollins replied. Responded Lydon, “Yes, I did, but I didn’t like the fucking music. It was boring!”
Lydon then went on to mock Rollins’ singing style. “When the Sex Pistols came to you, you ain’t heard anything that good, and you know it. You could hear everything clearly, and those words put me in the houses of Parliament under the ‘Traitors and Treasons Act’, which at that time carried a death penalty. So, don’t talk Black Flag, Pink Flag, or White Flag.”
Unlike Ramone, Rollins took Lydon’s ribbing in stride and laughed at many of his remarks.
You can watch video from the evening below (via Rolling Stone). The panel also featured Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan, L7’s Donita Sparks, and Punk producer John Varvatos.
The four-part docu-series, executive produced by Iggy Pop, premieres March 11th on Epix.