John Lydon Is Still Yelling About Losing His Court Case to Former Sex Pistols Bandmates
"This entire juggernaut of confusion has cost me millions"
Published Sep 14, 2021By way of majority voting rules, former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook recently won the right to use the group's songs in Danny Boyle's upcoming FX biopic miniseries Pistol — and frontman John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) lost. The musician and vocal critic of the series has continued to put his former bandmates on blast over the "dumbfounding" and "destructive" court ruling, and he isn't done whining yet.
To make matters more volatile between band members, Lydon has now claimed that he's in "financial ruin" over the whole ordeal in a new interview with The Telegraph.
"These guys were out to destroy me," he told journalist Neil McCormick. "But it ain't gonna happen. You can steal my money, but you cannot steal my soul."
"This became Walt Disney money versus me," Lydon said, referring to the fact that the FX network is owned by Disney. "Who do you think's gonna win? Money talks and Johnny Rotten takes a walk," he explained, claiming that the court case — "this entire juggernaut of confusion" — has come with a hefty price-tag of millions of dollars. "It's a strange, strange world we live in; the Sex Pistols have become the property of Mickey fucking Mouse."
He continued: "I've got no more savings, no more loans, no pensions. I've got nothing. All right? I'm practically this close to zero."
In addition to his legal expenses, Lydon's wife, Nora, has Alzheimer's disease, which he calls a "hideously expensive illness."
"I'm fucked, and I'm scuppered in so many different ways," the musician admitted. "All I've got at age 65 is the chance to start again." (He does still have two California vacation homes in Venice and Malibu, though.)
Ultimately, Lydon claims he didn't "ask to go to court" — that was apparently Jones and Cook's decision — and was in the dark about the miniseries' production until right before it was announced.
"This was being developed for three years, with not one word said to me," he explained. "I never denied rights, I just asked questions."
He then went on to maintain that, as the frontman, the Sex Pistols were more his band than anyone else's:
I don't want to blow me own trumpet, mate, but I wrote all those lyrics. I gave that band their image. I was the frontman, I took all the guns and warfare put against us, and I've stood up there and shivved through the lot. I'm not bragging here, but I can't imagine the Sex Pistols without Johnny Rotten amounting to very much at all.
Despite all the drama, Boyle's Pistol is still expected to premiere on FX next year. The miniseries is based on Jones' memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol.