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The Sex Pistols Lead Singer Johnny Rotten Adamantly Against Band’s Iconic Music Being Used In “Nonsense” FX Series Pistol

Sex Pistols lead singer John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, has recently revealed that he is adamantly against the band’s iconic music being used in the soundtrack for the upcoming Disney-backed FX miniseries based on the band’s history, Pistol.

Source: Ed Vill from Caracas, Venezuela, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Announced in January of this year, Pistol will be based on the memoir “Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol”, written by band guitarist and co-founder Steve Jones.

While the series still doesn’t have an official release date, it is expected to consist of 6 episodes directed by Academy Award winner director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) and produced by Disney subsidiary FX.

Source: Kevin Baldes, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

However, as per a report by Yahoo! News, legendary rock star John Lydon is being sued by band mates Steve Jones and Paul Cook over the former’s refusal to allow any music from the Sex Pistols’ discography to be used in the upcoming FX limited series.

According to Cook and Jones, an agreement dating 1998 allows them to license the band’s songs based on a majority rule basis. Lydon argued, however, that this is not the case, and that the tunes cannot be used without his consent.

Source: Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols (1977), The Sex Pistols

During a hearing at Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice in England, Lyndon stated, “I don’t understand how Steve and Paul think they have the right to insist that I do something that I so morally heart and soul disagree with without any involvement.”

“This is my life here,” he continued. “This is my history. I didn’t write these songs [for them] to be given off to nonsense.”

Source: Riksarkivet (National Archives of Norway) Photograph: Billedbladet NÅ/Arne S. Nielsen, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons

The singer also claimed that his former bandmates demanded that he “agree to sign over the rights to a drama documentary that I am not allowed any access to,” adding that, “to me that smacks of some kind of slave labor.” 

In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, Lydon described the upcoming FX series as “the most disrespectful s—t I’ve ever had to endure,” revealing that the controversy goes beyond the licensing issues. 

“I mean, they went to the point to hire an actor to play me but what’s the actor working on?” asked the singer. “Certainly not my character. It can’t go anywhere else [but court].”

Source: http://www.shelleyannphotography.com Shell Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

He further fervently asserted, “Sorry, you think you can do this, like walk all over me — it isn’t going to happen. Not without a huge, enormous f—ing fight. I’m Johnny, you know, and when you interfere with my business you’re going to get the bitter end of my business as a result.”

“It’s a disgrace… If you put me in a corner like a rat, I’m going to go for your throat,” he concluded. “I’m up against some corporations that just want to take over.

Photograph: Koen Suyk. In: Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 – negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang 2.24.01.05, bestanddeelnummer 928-9665 – Anefo Nationaal Archief

Interestingly enough, this isn’t Lydon’s first rodeo in regards to licensing issues. As reported by the Associated Press, the Sex Pistols singer previously denied Netflix permission to use the band’s song ‘God Save the Queen’ in their popular royal drama, The Crown – much to Jones’ dismay.

“I was a big fan of the show and excited that our music was going to feature in [The Crown],” said Jones. “So I was very upset when I found out that John’s manager had blocked it.”

Source: God Save the Queen Single Art (1977), The Sex Pistols

What do you make of Lydon’s ongoing legal battle with bandmates Steve Jones and Paul Cook over the use of their former bands’ recordings? Let us know all about it in the comments section down below or on social media!

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Josh Berger

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