Back in 2018, Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd. frontman John Lydon was photographed wearing a Make America Great Again T-shirt. This apparent gesture of support for Donald Trump caused a minor stir online, especially given the cantankerous punk pioneer’s history of contempt for the governing authorities. That photo has been making the rounds again lately, setting off a new round of condemnations for Lydon. Primal Scream are not having it.
As NME points out, Bobby Gillespie’s band has shared a message of support for Lydon on Instagram. Mostly it’s a call for Lydon’s critics to put some respect on his name, but there’s also a bit about “two sides to every story” and a #sartorialcorrectness hashtag at the end, leaving open the possibility that Primal Scream — who also once called for the government to be burned down, but also spent a whole album cycle romanticizing Trump’s beloved Confederate flag — maybe also sympathize with America’s commander in chief.
Here’s the text of Primal Scream’s message:
A lot of people putting down John Lydon @pilofficial on Twitter. ( how aptly named) without John / Pistols / PIL none of us would have formed bands and become the artists and musicians we are. We are eternally thankful for his inspiration to us as teenagers and beyond. He and his bands changed music TWICE. He was THE ACE FACE – most stylish man on the planet 1976-81. John made a difference to our lives. Fuck the detractors and no-marks who were’nt there and have never felt the power of punk. “Two sides to every story…” #sartorialcorrectness #theboylookedatjohnny #deathdisco #godsavethequeensheaintnohumanbeing #nofuture #aworkingclassheroissomethingtobe
Have Primal Scream considered the possibility that legendary and influential musicians can also make bad choices sometimes? And do the folks in an uproar over Lydon’s T-shirt really expect lifelong provocateur Johnny Rotten to do anything but stoke outrage among society’s most easily provoked populations?
UPDATE: Primal Scream have this to say: