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John Lydon slams ‘evil’ Sex Pistols, says court loss sees him facing ‘financial ruin’

Pistols 1996
(Image credit: Patti Ouderkirk/WireImage)

John Lydon has described his former Sex Pistols bandmates Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Glen Matlock as “evil” and says that losing the High Court case his old friends brought against him has left him facing “financial ruin.”

Jones and Cook initiated legal proceedings against Lydon after the singer sought to veto the use of original Sex Pistols recordings in Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle’s upcoming TV biopic series Pistol, which is based upon guitarist Jones’ autobiography Lonely Boy. The production is being financed by FX, a subsidiary of Disney.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the pair, who also claimed ex-bassist Matlock’s support for their action, insisted that decisions concerning the licensing of the group’s music were to be made on a ‘majority rule basis’, under the terms of a 1998 band member agreement (BMA). And in his ruling on August 23, Sir Anthony Mann found the pair were entitled to invoke this majority voting rule.

In a new [paywalled] interview with The Telegraph, Lydon says the court ruling has left him “brassic”, meaning broke.

“I’m seriously in a state of financial ruin,” he says. “I’ve got no more savings, no more loans, no pensions. I’ve got nothing… I’m f---ed, and I’m scuppered in so many different ways.”

“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. And we never even sat down and had a conversation about it.”

“This became Walt Disney money versus me,” Lydon continued. “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.”

“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.”

In the interview, Lydon maintains that his financial well-being is in serious jeopardy following the ruling as his employment options are limited as he’s effectively a full-time carer for his wife Nora, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. 

Currently in the UK on a spoken word tour which runs through to mid-November, Lydon says that he fears his wife’s expensive health treatment may be imperilled by the court’s decision.

“If anything happened to me, what could happen to Nora?,” he asks, rhetorically. “Seeing as they’ve stolen all my money. It’s a very serious problem… I’m gonna have to work really hard to gain anything like a fundamentally stable environment to take care of my loved ones. This is what they’ve done to me. Thanks, boys!”

Subscribers can read the full interview with John Lydon on The Telegraph website.