Advertisement

John Lydon: “I’m Seriously in a State of Financial Ruin”

Lydon is hurting after losing his very dumb legal battle against his former Sex Pistols bandmates

john lydon financial ruin legal battle sex pistols lawsuit danny boyle miniseries
John Lydon, photo by Amanda Koellner
Advertisement
Advertisement

    John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon is never so eloquent as when throwing himself a pity party. Now that his legally tenuous efforts to wring more money out of Danny Boyle’s Sex Pistols miniseries has failed, the onetime frontman is, “scuppered,” “brassic,” plain old “fucked,” and “seriously in a state of financial ruin,” according to his new interview with The Telegraph (via Louder).

    The limited series is called Pistol, and is based on the book Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol by the band’s former guitarist Steve Jones. Lydon’s been making a stink about it since at least April, when he threatened to sue because of the “disrespectful” decision not to hire him as a consultant. When that didn’t work, he attempted to block Sex Pistols’ music from appearing in the show — even though he and the rest of the band had previously agreed to make all such decisions by “majority voting rules.” It fell to Jones and former drummer Paul Cook to hit Lydon with a lawsuit, and after the judge confirmed that yes, Lydon had indeed agreed to put such issues to a vote, his block on the music rights was summarily dismissed.

    This is great news for the other former Sex Pistols, as well as Danny Boyle, punk fans generally, and anyone who believes in the rule of law. But on the other hand, Lydon really, really wanted the money. If the courts won’t help him out, maybe whining will do the trick.

    Advertisement

    “I’ve got no more savings, no more loans, no pensions. I’ve got nothing… I’m fucked, and I’m scuppered in so many different ways,” he said in the new interview. “I’m seriously in a state of financial ruin.”

    He added of the lawsuit — which, again, only came about because he illegally blocked the band’s music rights — that, “This entire juggernaut of confusion has cost me millions. Such a hideous, nasty onslaught; I never expected Steve, Paul, and Glen to be that evil. And we never even sat down and had a conversation about it.”

    The problem, as he sees it, is not that he attempted to engage in a kind of music rights extortion. The problem is that Pistol is going to premiere on FX, which is owned through a series of subsidiaries by The Walt Disney Company. “This became Walt Disney money versus me,” Lydon complained. “Who do you think’s gonna win? Money talks and Johnny Rotten takes a walk. It’s a strange, strange world we live in. The Sex Pistols have become the property of Mickey fucking Mouse.”

    Advertisement

    Despite being less than truthful himself, Lydon accuses Jones and Cook of mendacity. “Steve Jones and Paul Cook both said they knew this [legal] action would destroy the band. Then why do it? They really are poison, because they don’t mind selling you a lie.”

    The tragedy of it all is that Lydon’s wife Nora is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and her care is undoubtedly expensive. In the hopes of a big payout, Lydon has cost himself a ton of money in legal fees, and that has added to the anxiety of an already stressful situation.

    “If anything happened to me, what could happen to Nora?” he asked. “Seeing as they’ve stolen all my money. It’s a very serious problem… I’m gonna have to work really hard to gain anything like a fundamentally stable environment to take care of my loved ones. This is what they’ve done to me. Thanks, boys!”

    Advertisement

    Last month, Lydon warned that Pistol will “distort the true history and legacy” of the Sex Pistols. Those nostalgic for the days when Lydon wasn’t a flea-infested Trump supporter should check out our 2021 Punk Week coverage, including the 30 best punk bands and the 50 best punk songs.

Advertisement