Punktuation! Magazine

Punk News, Features, Interviews and More!

John Lydon: Court decision will water down and distort the true history and legacy of the Sex Pistols.

John Lydon pictured in July. Photograph- Facundo Arrizabalaga:EPA

Sex Pistols’ frontman John Lydon blasts the Judge’s decision saying, “It is dumbfounding to me. It is so destructive to what the band is.”

John Lydon, who lost the case against his bandmates over the use of the Sex Pistols music in the Danny Boyle directed TV series about the band, says he fears the band’s legacy may be ‘watered down’ In a newly released statement, John Lydon has responded with anger and dismay after losing the much-publicised court case in London.

Lydon was sued by drummer Paul Cook and guitarist Steve Jones after Lydon tried to prevent the use of Sex Pistols songs in the TV drama. Lydon lost the case, with a judge ruling that Jones and Cook were allowed to overrule him using a majority rule created in the terms of a band agreement.

As previously reported in Punktuation Lydon had claimed he wasn’t aware of the extent of the agreement, but judge Sir Anthony Mann said: “I reject the suggestion made by him that he did not really know or appreciate its effect. That piece of evidence was a convenient contrivance. It is highly likely that, even if he did not read it himself, it will have been explained to him and he will have understood its effects.”

A statement has now been published on Lydon’s website that claims that Lydon was only told of the announcement of the TV drama hours before it was made public, and was not made aware of how the band would be portrayed on the TV series.

A sneaky-peek image from Danny Boyle's Pistol. Left to right: Christian Lees as original bassist Glen Matlock, Anson Boon as singer John Lydon and Toby Wallace as guitarist Steve Jones. CR: Miya Mizuno/FX
Danny Boyle’s Pistol. Left to right: Christian Lees as original bassist Glen Matlock, Anson Boon as singer John Lydon and Toby Wallace as guitarist Steve Jones. CR: Miya Mizuno/FX

The statement continues: For more than 23 years the Sex Pistols have operated on the basis of unanimous decision making. The Disney production is the first time that the unanimous approach has been ignored. It is disappointing that a High Court judge has decided that John Lydon is bound by an undated agreement signed in 1998, which imposes on the Sex Pistols a majority rule arrangement in place of the unanimous decision-making process that has been followed for 23 years. Looking forward, there is great uncertainty about what the majority rule approach might do to water down and distort the true history and legacy of the Sex Pistols. Time will tell.

Lydon personally added to the statement, saying “I am the lead singer and songwriter, frontman, image, the lot, you name it. I put it there. How is that not relevant? It is dumbfounding to me. It is so destructive to what the band is and so I fear that the whole project might be extremely negative. How can anyone think that this can proceed without consulting me and deal with my personal life in this, and my issues in this, without any meaningful contact with me before the project is announced to the world. I don’t think there are even words that I can put forward to explain quite how disingenuous this is. As I said in the lyrics of ‘The Order of Death’, This is what you want, this is what you get…”

sex pistols
Lydon’s not celebrating the court’s decision.

“I am the lead singer and songwriter, frontman, image, the lot, you name it. I put it there. How is that not relevant? It is dumbfounding to me. How can anyone think that this can proceed without consulting me…?” John Lydon

Jones and Cook had said in a joint statement immediately following the ruling in their favour: “We welcome the courts ruling in this case. It brings clarity to our decision making and upholds the band members’ agreement on collective decision making. It has not been a pleasant experience, but we believe it was necessary to allow us to move forward and hopefully work together in the future with better relations.”

The TV Drama ‘Pistol’ is based on Steve Jones’ memoir ‘Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol.’ Filming began in March, and no transmission date has yet been announced.


More Sex Pistol High Court News

Share This Story!
Show More
Please Support Punktuation!...for the price of a coffee!

If you enjoy reading Punktuation! please consider supporting us with a regular donation each month.

Every contribution, however big or small, powers our DIY punk mag and sustains our future.

Donating as little as the cost of a coffee every month will help support independent music journalism.

Thank You!

Punktuation Magazine uses cookies and other data to deliver, maintain, and improve our services. We also have partners that measure how our services are used. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.
I Accept
Privacy Policy