An artist in the truest sense. Says what he wants when he wants and to hell with the consequences. Friend or foe beware; when Prometheus starts throwing fire everyone gets burned. Enjoy these choice rants, statements, musings, storm offs, whatever you want to call the stream of consciousness of an undefinable force of nature with an opinion on everything.
Let's start with something recent that brought Johnny Rotten back to the public consciousness. A small excerpt from his 2015 ITV appearance on "Piers Morgan's Life Stories". Where they played a clip from 1978 which has Lydon talking about Jimmy Savile. Serial sex predator of among other victims disabled children who went famously unpunished for decades thanks to powerful connections. He then died in 2011 before justice could be served (sound familiar?). In fact the crimes had been systemically covered up his entire career by a culture of rich assholes as revealed in an explosive series of investigative reports triggered a year after his death by an ITV documentary.
BBC radio interview clip from 1978 - "I'd like to kill Jimmy Savile. I think he's a hypocrit. He's into all kinds of seediness... We're not allowed to talk about it. I know some rumours. I bet none of this will be allowed out... Nothing I've said is libel." - not aired until decades later after it was too late.
Back in 2015:
John Lydon: Weren't I right!
Piers Morgan: The fact that in 1978, at the height of the Sex Pistols explosion, there you are saying about Jimmy Savile... so you had heard the kind of thing that we now know about him or stuff like that?
JL: Ya. I think most kids did, too. Most kids wanted to go to the top of the pops, but we all knew what that cigar muncher was up ta, but I'm very, very bitter that the likes of Savile and the rest of them were allowed to continue.
PM: Did you ever try to do anything about Savile?
JL: I did my bit. I said what I had to.
PM: Did they air that? No?
JL: [Shakes Head. No]
PM: It just got suppressed for "legal reasons"...
JL: Ya... and I found myself being banned from BBC radio for quite a while for my "contentious behaviour". They wouldn't state this directly, there'd be other excuses.
PM: But it's shocking! That he got away with it for another 30 odd years...
JL: Not only him... a whole bunch of 'em... and these are the purveyors of good taste.
PM: You were too offensive...
JL: Brilliant. Idn't it. [Shakes head in disgust.] Well I'm still here and the rest of them... what are still alive... nice bit of jail time for them. [Calls to crowd] Jail Time!
Tom Snyder, NBC's Tomorrow, 1980
TS: Why do you hate rock and roll so much?
JL: It's dead. It's a disease. It's a plague. It's been going on for too long. It's history. It's vile. It's not achieving anything. It's just digression. They play rock and roll at airports. That's about as advanced as it can possibly get. It's too limited. It's too much like a structure.... a church... a religion. A farce.
Check It Out, 1979
Host: ... you sold out...
JL: I don't have to explain myself to anybody and I ain't gonna really bother. Now I was asked here, right, to interview with the band here, PIL, but now we're like facing a cheap skate comedy interrogation act and it just ain't on pal. It's a joke. It's a farce.
Host: Well it sounds like we've heard this story before.
JL: Good night. [Walks off]
Judge Judy, 1997
JL: Why are we wasting money on separate hotel rooms.
Judge Judy: ...but...
JL: I'm perfectly able to share...
JD: ... can I...
JL: ... and I'm apparently the pop star yet he...
JJ: Mr. Lydon, don't be disrespectful, sir. I haven't disrespected you, have I?
JL: No, you haven't.
JJ: Ok, so let's not be disrespectful in my home.
On Malcolm McLaren (former band manager and promoter for the Sex Pistols)
"We wrote the songs. We did all the work. We did the gigs. We lived the lifestyle and he just seemed to collect the accolades. For a certain point as well he tried to collect the money... but I fought that court case and won on everyone's behalf."
So let's tie this off with some fun comments about bringing Sid Vicious into Sex Pistols. BBC 5 Live 2014. Thanks for reading. This is a voice worth remembering so don't let it get buried in the archives!
"He wasn't the brightest spark on the planet... Sid. He was my friend and I miss him very much I gotta tell ya.... and I felt really guilty about bring him into the pistols cause he was ill equipped mentally to deal with the pressures... and he was prone to falling in to the drug culture very quickly because his mother was a registered heroin addict and there'd been situations before the pistols... see him get a birthday present of a bag of heroine and he'd always say no I'm not like that but from the first moment he joined the band he became very much like that. The trouble with heroine as a drug is that what it does is it hides the inadequacies and self doubts you have and Sidney had a lot of them. What he didn't understand was we all had them, too, but we'd already been at it for you know nearly a year here and so we were better prepared. He wouldn't listen. He just would not listen. He took that easy way out and the result is always going to be with that a tragic death... a loss."