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John Lydon on Kylie Minogue’s breasts, Megadeth and Bruce Springsteen
09.29.2014
12:03 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:
John Lydon

John Lydon Dreadlocks
 
John Lydon’s 1988 appearance on the low-budget video review show Video View is classic Johnny Rotten. Photographer Dennis Morris (who shot the Sex Pistols early on and designed the distinctive PiL logo), joins Lydon on the show to rate new videos from artists like John Illsley of Dire Straits and long-running Brit chart-toppers Status Quo. From the get-go Lydon is in top form, chiming in with trenchant and biting observations on the (then) current state of the music industry of the late 80’s and his opinion of Kylie Minogue’s breasts.

Lydon doesn’t hold back even when it comes to his former bandmate Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones. However, it’s whatever is going on with Lydon’s hair, which appears to be the styling of an unskilled Rastafarian armed with a can of pink spray paint, that is the true unsung hero of this video. My point is this, if you want to hear a young John Lydon spitting out opinions on Bruce Springsteen or why he blames Herbie Hancock for giving him “epileptic fits,” then just hit play.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Its rubbish’: John Lydon brutally critiques the pop charts on ‘Jukebox Jury,’ in 1979

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
John Lydon’s 1978 record of the year, reissued on ‘Music for Alien Ears’


 

RECORD OF THE YEAR
Martin O’Cuthbert, “B.E.M.S” (Esoteric Records)
Seriously, when I played this record, an object on the wall started to vibrate very quickly, and I have witnesses to prove it. Martin O’Cuthbert is either a very evil person (just listen to the record) or a total fool (just listen to the record). Probably be big in Japan, and at a guess I’d say the whole thing comes off a Yamaha organ cos no synthesizer could sound that bad, could it?
—John Lydon, New Musical Express, July 22, 1978

How very Lydon, that his gesture of public praise for his favorite single of 1978 could just as easily read as a pan. “B.E.M.S” stands for “Bug Eyed Monsters,” and its author was the obscure synth-pop experimenter Martin O’Cuthbert.
 

”B.E.M.S,” 1978
 

 
O’Cuthbert was a more rough-at-the-seams contemporary of Fad Gadget, Gary Numan, The Normal, et al, and like those artists, he explored the very common early synth-pop themes of alienation and emotional deadness, self-releasing unfindable singles and EPs under the pseudonym Martoc. He lists as his influences “Kraftwerk, Pixies, Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, manic depression, extra terrestrial cultures.” No Earthly idea how the Pixies fit in, as Martoc’s music seems to have changed very little through the years, as is demonstrated by the new compilation Music for Alien Ears. The title and artwork refer back to Martoc’s 1983 collection For Alien Ears, but the new comp includes music from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘oughts.
 

 

”The Vigilante Rules,” 2009
 

”Navigator Through Nowhere,” 1979
 

”Born in a UFO,” 2005

There’s more music to be heard on Martoc’s Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages. Also, his personal web site is as endearingly primitive by current web design standards as his music is by current production standards.

Thanks to Bent Crayon John for cluing me in to this.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Lou Reed part 2’: Little-known Public Image Ltd. footage from 1982
04.10.2014
11:55 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
John Lydon
PiL
Keith Levene
Public Image Ltd.


 
When I was a kid, more than any other group, Public Image Ltd. were my band. As a teenager, I was a major acidhead who hated religion and PiL suited that state of mind better than just about anything. They were demented dada geniuses, doing more to move music away from the three chord blues-based rock and roll that had dominated popular music since the days of Chuck Berry than anyone else. It wasn’t as if John Lydon’s previous outfit had done much to musically challenge the status quo. The Sex Pistols may have shown that the prevailing rock acts of the day were all “dinosaurs,” but their music really wasn’t anything all that “new” was it?

Who would say that about Public Image Ltd.? With their second album, Metal Box, they changed the state of modern music the way Picasso and Georges Braque had changed the act of perception itself with the advent of Cubism some seventy years earlier. After PiL, everything was different and nothing was too weird. A hundred years from now those first three PiL albums will still be revered the same way they are today, except that by then they’ll considered classical music or something…

I was lucky enough to see PiL in 1983. I’d run away from home and PiL were playing a few days later on Staten Island at the horrible, decrepit and just downright shitty Paramount Theater (a venue that should have required a tetanus shot to enter). Jah Wobble had already been kicked out of the band, but that didn’t bother me (I’m probably just slightly more partial to The Flowers of Romance than I am the first two albums) and this was a few months before Keith Levene and Lydon had their famous falling out.

Without Wobble you still had PiL, but as Lydon would soon prove beyond all argument, he was only as good (or as bad) as his collaborators. When Keith Levene fucked off, forget it, after that it was Public Image Ltd. in name only. Not that Levene did much of anything—for years decades—without Lydon anyway, but Lydon without Levene was hopeless, a fucking joke from 1983 onwards if you ask most fans of the original group.

I’ve mentioned on the blog before that I have a pretty decent collection of PiL bootlegs on vinyl. Truly “oldschool” boots produced over thirty years ago, most of them pretty primitive pressings. When I got rid of most of my records ten years ago (keeping collectibles and signed pieces, plus my Jeannie C. Riley albums) I still retained them and as a percentage, they comprise a good bit of what’s left of a once ridiculously huge record collection. One of them is a boot of the actual show I saw called “Where Are We?” taped on March 26th, at the Paramount Theater.

The title comes from a song PiL had been playing in their sets around that time that was originally called “Lou Reed Part 2” and then later rechristened “Where Are You?” (the spiteful lyrics are about departed PiL video maker Jeanette Lee). It came out on both Lydon’s “official” This is What You Want, This is What You Get album and Levene’s less official version on the Commercial Zone bootleg.

This 1982 report from Canadian television about PiL’s first performance in the country, at Toronto’s Masonic Temple Concert Hall, features a short excerpted performance of “Lou Reed Part 2/Where Are You?” and during it someone spits right in Lydon’s face. He’s not happy. At the end of the piece there’s a bigger chunk of a live “Public Image.” With so little decent footage of PiL around—I’ve seen very little video of the post Wobble group—this is a real treat. Lydon’s sporting a hospital gown and looks, as he often did in his youth, like an escaped mental patient.

I don’t know exactly what he means by this, but if you click over to Keith Levene’s website, he’s trying to raise the funds to “finish” Commercial Zone 2014. For a guy who was so, er, quiet, throughout most of the past three decades, for the past few years, Levene seems intent on making up for lost time, recording and gigging with Jah Wobble, releasing solo material and writing his life story, the nicely titled, This is not an Autobiography: The Diary of a non-Punk Rocker, available soon as an e-book.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and others expound on the topic of ‘Punk’ in 1979


 
Getting it or not getting it to varying degrees are Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Cliff Richard, Steve Harley, Mick Taylor, Peter Gabriel, Paul Cook, John Lydon, Meatloaf, and a surprisingly astute young Leif Garrett putting in their two cents on the topic of “Punk.”

According to the caption on YouTube, these comments aired in December 1979 on a program called Countdown on a specific episode called “End Of the Decade.” Presumably this is something from the archives of Australian television. It looks like an editor’s raw “selects” in the formulation seen here.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
John Lydon’s rallying call to youth: ‘Learn how to beat this system intelligently’
02.24.2014
09:48 am

Topics:
Punk
Television

Tags:
Sex Pistols
John Lydon
Public Image Ltd.

nodylnhojlip.jpg
 
It started with a look.

John Lydon was wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt that he had modified to read “I Hate Pink Floyd.” It was this piece of anti-fashion that brought him to the attention of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, owners of the King’s Road boutique SEX.  Malcolm and Vivienne were conjuring up plans for a new band that would fuse fashion and music, and Lydon’s tee-shirt suggested the right kind of attitude the pair were looking for. Lydon was asked to audition for the band, so he mimed to an Alice Cooper number and won the role of lead singer with The Sex Pistols. He looked the part, you might say.

It may have started with a look, but for John it was never about the image, as he later explained to Melody Maker in 1978:

”The rest of the band and Malcolm never bothered to find out if I could sing, they just took me as an image. It was as basic as that, they really were as dull as that.

“After a year of it they were going ‘Why don’t you have your hair this color this year?’ And I was going ‘Oh God, a brick wall, I’m fighting a brick wall!’”

We all know The Sex Pistols, they were “a damned good band,” as Lydon recalls in this interview from That Was Then This Is Now in 1988, ten year’s after the band’s demise.

“And to be quite frank, how right it was we ended when we did, because it would have been really futile to have continued with it. We all knew that…

“When you feel you’re running out of ideas you must stop, and go onto something else, which is precisely what all of us did.

Lydon went on to form Public Image Limited with Keith Levene (guitar), Jah Wobble (bass), and Jim Walker (drums). PiL was “different,” and “experimental without being arty-farty about it.”

Their first release “Public Image,” partly written while Lydon was in the Sex Pistols, dealt with Lydon’s frustration at being only seen for the clothes that he wore. Lydon has always been aware that he is an individual, and as can be seen from his interview on That Was Then This Is Now—love him or loathe him—he has always been consistent in being true to himself, and saying whatever he thinks.

Such honesty makes Lydon good for quotable sound bytes, which fits well with the format of That Was Then This Is Now, where information was served up like the ingredients of a recipe.

For example, he tells us how he moved to America because of police harassment. His home was raided on four separate occasions, his belongings damaged or destroyed, his pet cat killed by overzealous police dogs.

While next, Lydon tells us how he considers himself to be an Englishman, and resents paying his hard-earned cash in taxes to pay for Fergie’s (Princess Sarah Ferguson) frumpy tents.

However, no matter how funny, amusing, insightful and inspiring the answers, having them all cut together, one-after-another, reveals the problem with That Was Then This Is Now: information is arbitrarily doled out as sound bytes, signposted by graphic captions, with no connective structure other than the answers given by the interviewee. It’s a nice research tool, and certainly one for future biographers and archivists, but the form lacks any sense of engagement between the audience and Lydon, as there is no possibility of knowing how rigorously he was questioned about his life or his beliefs.

Of course, there are plenty of highlights, including Lydon’s rallying call to the teenage viewer about intelligence:

“All kids should learn this in school—this is the weapon the Tories use against you.

“They want to keep you stupid. They want to keep you down.

“If you do not learn how to beat this system intelligently, you never will.

That is the only lesson really in life to learn. Period.”

Recorded in 1988, That Was Then This Is Now presented the great, the good and the oh-no of Punk, New Wave and the New Romantics, discussing their musical careers in entertainment.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘It’s rubbish’: John Lydon brutally critiques the pop charts on ‘Jukebox Jury,’ 1979
02.04.2014
06:19 am

Topics:
Television

Tags:
John Lydon


 
In 1979, John Lydon made an unexpected appearance on the goofy Jukebox Jury television panel show. His fellow panelists included Joan Collins and Elaine Paige!

“What sort of music do you personally enjoy?”

“Decent.”

The expression on his face (see above), sums up perfectly, I feel, what most Brits probably think about Noel Edmonds, the host of Jukebox Jury ....
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Public Image Ltd. asks the ‘lollypop mob’ to send in rare pics and footage for upcoming PiL doc
01.30.2014
09:14 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
John Lydon
Public Image Limited


 
Earlier today, the people who run the Public Image Limited web presence (I’m doing everything in my power not to say “John Lydon” here) put out a call to the band’s fans for any “never before seen” photographs or video footage for a documentary on PiL that is in the works. If you have anything tasty in that direction, you are urged to get in touch at PiLarchive@gmail.com. The statement indicated that those who contribute footage or pictures that are used in the documentary will be named in the end credits.
 

Calling all PiL fans!

We are in the process of making a comprehensive, career-spanning documentary film about Public Image Ltd. and we would like your help!

We are looking for never before seen photographs as well as film and video footage of PiL and John Lydon from any time period. If you have ANYTHING that you think may be of interest please drop us a note. You will be credited in the end titles if we use your footage.

Do you have a snapshot at The Rainbow on Christmas 1978?

Do you have a photo souvenir of the infamous Ritz riot show? Do you have a picture with or without John showing your injuries after being hit by a flying object!

Did you shoot video of John signing your PiL records at the Monsters of Alternative rock Tour in 1989?

We know PiL fans are most creative people. Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated. We salute you lollypop mob.

If you can help please send us an email to: PiLarchive@gmail.com

Please forward or share this info…

 
Here’s some incredible PiL footage that has been seen before, “Death Disco” from Top of the Pops in 1979:
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
John Lydon visits his childhood home
12.11.2013
06:55 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
John Lydon


 
This brief clip from 2009 appeared on the BBC1 magazine program The One Show. John Lydon took part in a recurring series in which prominent Britons visit the residences in which they grew up. Lydon/Rotten lived at 6 Acres Estate in Finsbury Park, London, between the ages of 11 and 20.

The onetime scourge of all right-thinking people notes the improved appointments and fixtures in the humble flat; reminisces about Sid the hamster, who bit the finger of the young John Simon Ritchie, thus ensuring himself a place in the annals of hamster history; and points out the corner of the kitchen where he wrote, “in one go,” one of the most famous songs of the twentieth century—“God Save the Queen.” 
 
John Lydon childhood photo
 
Take solace, younger readers suffering under totally unfair music volume restrictions, the neighbors both upstairs and downstairs detested the Beefheart and reggae Lydon liked to play.  Lydon appears to be quite emotionally affected by the visit, noting that the memories from all different times are “fairly flooding my head right now—and it’s not a pleasant feeling,” followed up with a classic Lydon cackle of displacement. Back in the studio with Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, Lydon again professes to be choked up by the footage. (Adding to this is the fact that his father had died in that housing estate only one year earlier.) 
 
Lydon on The One Show, December 4, 2009:

 
You can see the same apartment in Julien Temple’s The Filth and the Fury—in this clip we get some home footage of Lydon’s mum Eileen around the 5:45 mark, joined by two of Lydon’s younger brothers, Martin and Bobby, around the 7:50 mark:
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
John Lydon reveals Mick Jagger ‘secretly’ paid Sid Vicious’ legal fees
11.08.2013
10:15 am

Topics:
Crime
Punk

Tags:
Mick Jagger
Sid Vicious
John Lydon

jaggersid.jpg
 
John Lydon may have said The Rolling Stones looked “silly” performing at Glastonbury earlier this year, but the former Sex Pistol and PiL frontman has only praise for Mick Jagger.

In an interview with the Daily Record, Lydon has revealed that Jagger ‘secretly’ paid Sid Vicious’ legal fees, after the Pistol’s bass player had been charged with the murder of girlfriend Nancy Spungen. As Lydon told journalist John Dingwall of the Record:

“Nancy Spungen was a hideous, awful person who killed herself because of the lifestyle and led to the destruction and subsequent death of Sid and the whole fiasco. I tried to help Sid through all of that and feel a certain responsibility because I brought him into the Pistols thinking he could handle the pressure. He couldn’t. The reason people take heroin is because they can’t handle pressure. Poor old Sid.

“Her death is all entangled in mystery. It’s no real mystery, though. If you are going to get yourself involved in drugs and narcotics in that way accidents are going to happen. Sid was a lost case. He was wrapped firmly in Malcolm’s shenanigans. It became ludicrous trying to talk to him through the drug haze because all you would hear was, ‘I’m the real star around here’. Great. Carry on. We all know how that’s going to end. Unfortunately, that is where it ended. I miss him very much. He was a great friend but when you are messing with heroin you’re not a human being. You change and you lose respect for yourself and everybody else.

“The only good news is that I heard Mick Jagger got in there and brought lawyers into it on Sid’s behalf because I don’t think Malcolm lifted a finger. He just didn’t know what to do. For that, I have a good liking of Mick Jagger. There was activity behind the scenes from Mick Jagger so I applaud him. He never used it to advance himself publicity-wise.”

Read the whole interview here.

Below, Sid Vicious near last TV appearance on Efrom Allen’s Underground NY Manhattan Cable show from September 18th, 1978. Vicious appeared alongside Nancy Spungen, Stiv Bators and Cynthia Ross (of The B Girls). Spungen was dead less than a month later.
 

 
Via the Daily Record

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
John Lydon almost joined Devo in 1978? Well, I’ll be.
10.10.2013
08:25 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Devo
John Lydon
Mark Mothersbaugh


Mark Mothersbaugh by Brad Elterman.
 
It’s hard for me to imagine anyone but Mark Mothersbaugh doing the lead vocals for Devo, but did you know that for about ten minutes in 1978 there was a real possibility of John Lydon taking over the singing duties for Devo? (Actually, that’s not quite accurate—he was still known as Johnny Rotten then; there was no such thing as Public Image Ltd yet.)

The story comes from Mothersbaugh, who’s told it many times—if interviewers ask him about it, he’s just as happy to tell it all over again. I first encountered it in Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen’s We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk:
 

Richard Branson called me up in Akron in the winter of 1978 and said, “Hey, you wanna come down to Jamaica?” And I looked out the window and said to myself, “Well, it’s snowing about thirty inches here. Sure, I’ll come down to Jamaica.” So he flew Bob Casale and I down there to meet him and Ken Berry. We were all just sitting around in the Kingston Holiday Inn and he brought out this big stash of pot and Branson is rolling these gigantic joints on a newspaper and we’re used to being in Akron where you get enough to make a paper-thin joint. We were talking to him about playing Mabuhay Gardens the night after the Sex Pistols’ last show at Winterland and how we were staying over at Search and Destroy magazine, we were using Search and Destroys for mattresses. And we talked about how the Sex Pistols came over to the office, Sid and Nancy, and we were hanging out. And Branson said, “What do you think of them?” And we said, “They were all nice guys. You know. It was fun meeting them. It’s too bad that they broke up.” And Branson said, “I’ll tell you why you’re here. Johnny Rotten is down here at the hotel. He’s in the next room, and there are reporters downstairs from the New Musical Express, Sounds, and Melody Maker. I’d like to go down to the beach right now, if you’re into this, because Johnny Rotten wants to join your band … and I want to announce to them that Johnny Rotten is the new lead singer for Devo.” And I’m going, “Oh my God, I’m really high right now.” Regrettably, I didn’t just go, “Yeah, sounds great. Send him to Akron. He can do it for a week or two, just for the hell of it.” It was a weird time for us.

 
The Mothersbaugh-Lydon connection doesn’t stop there, though. Apparently Mothersbaugh was instrumental in guiding Lydon in the eventual direction of PiL. In some versions of the story, Mothersbaugh goes on to explain that, since they were all high and all, he and Casale were laughing manaically, and in between bouts of laughter proposed to Branson that they help Lydon figure out his next combo instead: “We just started laughing at them until tears were coming out of our eyes and we were choking, and we’re like, ‘It’s not you, Richard. We’re not laughing at you. We love Johnny Rotten. That’s great. But what if we just help him start a band.’” 

There may be something to this. Many have noted the complete tonal switch that existed between the Sex Pistols and PiL, and the more austere critique/adoption of the corporate ethos does seem right out of Akron, as it were.
 
Public Image Ltd.
 
In Apocalypse Jukebox: The End of the World in American Popular Music, Edward Whitelock relates an anecdote from Jade Dellinger and David Giffels’ We Are Devo!: Are We Not Men?,
 

The story concerns a conversation between Mothersbaugh and Johnny Rotten, shortly after the breakup of the Sex Pistols. Mothersbaugh “suggested that Rotten lose the safety pins and shredded shirts and adopt a corporate approach, that screwing with convention was edgier than spitting at it. Perhaps in response, Rotten dropped his stage name and John Lydon formed Public Image Ltd., defining the post-punk aesthetic in the process.” Exactly how much “credit” Mothersbaugh should get for PiL is beside the point, which is that overorthodox thinking had already become second nature for Mothersbaugh and Casale.

 
To me the whole thing is fascinating—Lydon’s early interest in Devo, Branson’s insatiable drive to make something happen, Mothersbaugh’s half-conscious (and probably correct) rejection of the idea.

Would the world never have heard of Jah Wobble? Would Lydon really have participated in the soundtrack to Dr. Detroit?

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Siouxsie, Morrissey, John Lydon, Robert Smith and more get superhero makeovers


 
Brazilian designer Butcher Billy re-imagines Siouxsie Sioux, Mark Mothersbaugh, Ian Curtis, John Lydon, Morrissey, Robert Smith and Billy Idol as comic book superheroes. His series is called The Post-Punk / New Wave Super Friends.

Now only if there was a Mark E. Smith one. He’d probably have to be a supervillain, tho…
 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
John Lydon’s handwritten rant to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1996
05.08.2013
07:25 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Sex Pistols
John Lydon


 
John Lydon’s handwritten response to the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame regarding the induction of the Sex Pistols in 1996:

Next to the SEX-PISTOLS rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain. Your museum. Urine in wine. Were not coming. Were not your monkey and so what? Fame at $25,000 if we paid for a table, or $15000 to squeak up in the gallery, goes to a non-profit organisation selling us a load of old famous. Congradulations. If you voted for us, hope you noted your reasons. Your anonymous as judges, but your still music industry people. Were not coming. Your not paying attention. Outside the shit-stem is a real SEX PISTOL

Via The World’s Best Ever and Letters of Note

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Growing Up Rotten: Pictures of a young John Lydon

nettornodylnhoj.jpg
 
Photographs of John Lydon from cute, tartan-clad child, via brainy school portrait, to long-haired, teenaged hippie, who was going to Hawkwind concerts and allegedly selling LSD.
 
000111000nodylnhojnettornatrat.jpg
 
Via The Times, Stereogum, Fodderstompf, and Fark
 
More of young Master Lydon, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Something rotten Down Under: John Lydon makes a fool of himself on Australian TV
04.10.2013
01:09 am

Topics:
Punk

Tags:
John Lydon


 
Yesterday John Lydon threw a hissy fit on Australian TV talk show The Project and ended up the fool. Looking like a pudgy old tart with a stick up his arse, Lydon’s rant was bereft of even the slightest trace of humor or punkish charm. It’s really quite embarrassing.

Hey, hey, hey Mrs, shut up. Whoever you are, shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Now listen, when a man is talking do not interrupt.

Johnny needs a good kick in the dentures. What a wanker.

While Lydon is obnoxious from the get-go, the real unpleasantness begins at the 4:10 mark.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Johnny Rotten reviews ‘Katy Perry: Part of Me’
03.21.2013
10:59 am

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
John Lydon
Johnny Rotten
Katy Perry


 
Johnny Rotten reviews the 2012 documentary Katy Perry: Part of Me for Fuse. As you’d imagine, there are some pretty funny moments. 

“Oh, Katy, my heart goes out to you. You poor thing, your dad’s a nutter! A skinhead priest!”

 

 
Cynical-C

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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