On August 23rd, former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, lost a high court attempt to block Sex Pistols music from being used in the forthcoming Danny Boyle-directed drama series, Pistol.
Sex Pistols’ former drummer, Paul Cook, and guitarist, Steve Jones, sued John Lydon, to allow their songs to feature in Pistol. In a ruling, Sir Anthony Mann found the pair were entitled to invoke “majority voting rules” against Lydon, under the terms of a 1998 band member agreement (BMA).
During the week-long hearing, Lydon claimed that he was not aware of the extent of the agreement. However, judge Sir Anthony Mann ruled: “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.”
In the wake of the ruling, John Lydon told The Telegraph, “I’m seriously in a state of financial ruin.”
“I’m brassic, fella,” he said. “I’ve got no more savings, no more loans, no pensions. I’ve got nothing. I’m fucked, and I’m scuppered in so many different ways.”
Lydon detailed that he was serving as a full-time carer to his wife of 42 year, Nora, who is in the mid-stages of Alzheimer’s disease — an illness Lydon admits is, “hideously expensive.”
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Elsewhere in the interview, Lydon delved into the financial repercussions of the Pistol lawsuit. “This entire juggernaut of confusion has cost me millions. Such a hideous, nasty onslaught.”
“I never expected Steve, Paul, and Glen to be that evil,” he said of his former bandmates. “And we never even sat down and had a conversation about it.”
Lydon takes umbrage with the fact the forthcoming Pistol film is financed by FX, a subsidiary of Disney.
“This became Walt Disney money versus me,” says Lydon. “Who do you think’s gonna win? Money talks and Johnny Rotten takes a walk. It’s a strange, strange world we live in. The Sex Pistols have become the property of Mickey fucking Mouse.”
He continued. “Steve Jones and Paul Cook both said they knew this [legal] action would destroy the band. Then why do it? They really are poison, because they don’t mind selling you a lie.”
Pistol is based on the Steve Jones memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol. Filming for the project began in March, a release date has not been confirmed.