John Lydon says he knew Sid Vicious had no musical talent when he joined the Sex Pistols – but the vocalist thought it would develop the same way his own had.
He invited Vicious to become the band’s bassist in 1977 – kickstarting a chain of events that led to his death of a heroin overdose two years later, while under suspicion of having murdered girlfriend Nancy Spungen.
Lydon tells Rolling Stone: “Sid was very, very lazy. He had no work ethic – he never learned anything, and by all accounts he had no aptitude for music at all.
“It’s curious why I brought him in. It must have been some kind of self-destructive element. But I never had any aptitude until I started. I thought, ‘That’s how it will work. You’ll find your way.’
“He got all the postures dead right – he could stare into a mirror for ever.”
Lydon reports in his 2014 book Anger Is an Energy: My Life Uncensored that Vicious became a “zombie” as his heroin addiction deepened.
The former Johnny Rotten reflects: “He was very hilarious, sarcastic. He loved to imitate people and he could really put them down on it because he was very good at it.
“But all that went sour when the drugs came in. The personality changed and shifted into a selfish drug-hunting fucker.”
Lydon insists he wouldn’t change anything about his time with the Pistols or the rest of his career. “Hindsight is of no use,” he states.
“I was lucky enough to be capable of writing songs for the first time. Animosities aside, the whole situation thrilled me.”