Sunday, October 5, 2008

Johnny Rotten didn't sell out - he sold in

John Lydon, formerly professionally known as Johnny Rotten, has made a commercial.

This inspired PopEater to write the blurb Punk God Johnny Rotten Ditches Anarchy, Cred for Butter Shilling Gig.

Um, what did the PopEater writer think the Sex Pistols were?

To pretend that the Sex Pistols were a purist band who eschewed commercialism, you have to gloss over 99% of the band's history.

William Arnold noted this in his review of "The Filth and the Fury":

As a documentary, it's hard to follow and it's argument that the group represented a kind of Camelot of rock integrity is not convincing....

Guided by a clever manager and gradually picking up fifth member Vicious (who couldn't sing or play an instrument and liked to cut himself with razor blades on stage), the band became a frequent object of violence to a string of offended Londoners....

It's quite a story, told with a gossipy, bitchy charm in the voices of the band members themselves (who perceive themselves as paragons of rock purity and martyrs to commercialism).


The Sex Pistols are not restrained by purism, and have never been restrained by purism. Former manager Malcolm McLaren was, to put it mildly, interested in commercial affairs. The website posts a 2007 interview with Lydon:

As for anyone bothered by the idea of this norm-defying lot consenting to something as conventional as an anniversary tour, well, Lydon's got a response for that, too: "Don't be telling me I can't do a damn thing in my life! … People are putting false, fake values on us without understanding that we're human beings."
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