Johnny Rotten Is Still A Prick

The October issue of SPIN includes a feature about 1977 and the ol’ punk explosion. Of course, Johnny Lydon’s dusted off to say a few things. And, just as of course, he makes a few headline-baiting statements, attempting to define “punk” according to his questionable criteria. It’s the classic bait and bitch — he likes something we wouldn’t expect him to like (here, it’s Journey) then goes on to diss folks you’d assume he felt sympathetic to, or whatever. Pretty vacant.

Here’s Johnny…


The Ramones to me were never really punk; they were closer to Status Quo … The record company wanted to shove us into that CBGB’s world of New York, but that’s a world of foolishness…

I never liked any of the Clash stuff, though … And I never considered the Clash punk. Joe [Strummer] was alright. He was very sweet-natured. But he came from a different music background. He’d already tried the pub-band circuit, so he hopped onto punk.

He calls “Smells Like Teen Spirit” “stunning,” but also terms Nirvana “a kind of record company ploy, to rephrase punk in a manufacturable way.” Wait, did you forget about Malcolm McLaren?

To prove punk’s not dead, it’s just sorta old and crusty, check out some footage of Lydon from the BBC’s Juke Box Jury circa 1979.

Also, remember, the band is reuniting to play a one-off gig to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Never Mind The Bollocks. Reunions are pretty punk! As is Judge Judy (seriously).