A little bit crass and outspoken, but always honest, meet Punk Icon, John Lydon, AKA Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd..

 

Lydon’s cocky, outlandish and sometimes rude demeanor mark him as one of the most memorable personalities in the music world. Never afraid to speak his mind or throw expletives around like confetti at a parade, Lydon, a true revolutionary, is one of the most well-known Punk Rock icons of all-time.

Back in 1975, while hanging out at Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood‘s alternative clothing boutique on Kings Road in London, Lydon, along with Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Glen Matlock, under the direction of McLaren, history was made with the formation of the unforgettable Punk group, the Sex Pistols. 

 

Bob_Gruen-Sex_Pistols
Sex Pistols (l to r: Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, Steve Jones, Paul Cook)

Bringing his best mate, John Simon Ritchie, AKA Sid Vicious, into the band is one of Lydon’s biggest regrets. He knew Ritchie would fall into the drug culture, and it was almost inevitable once Ritchie met Nancy Spungen, a known heroin junkie. The story of Sid and Nancy is sad, drug laden, and tragic love story. 

Lydon, who recently turned 60 years old, shows no signs of slowing down.

Between the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd., Lydon has also published two autobiographies: his first in 1993,  Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, and his latest in 2014, Anger Is An Energy: My Life Uncensored. With a ton of TV appearances from MTV to Fox News, his blunt tongue has always made him an interesting feature to watch – just to see what he would say next.

You can always count on Lydon to speak the truth, no matter what the subject – for me, and I’m sure many others out there, he embodies the true attitude and spirit of Punk.


 

John Lydon punk icon

 

  • Punk was never about one particular clean-cut imagery… it’s about many, many individuals coming very loosely together.
  • Art should be life. It’s an imitation of life. It should have some humanity in it.
  • Punk is a state of mind open to new ideas, with a desire to constantly evolve, to find the next step, not only in music but also in the world around us. When I wrote songs for the Sex Pistols, I wasn’t talking about chaos for the love of chaos. I was saying that the government and the institutions were misleading us.
  • I don’t believe in anarchy, because it will ultimately amount to the power of the bully, with weapons. Gandhi is my life’s inspiration: passive resistance. I don’t want to live in the Thunderdome with Mad Max. 
  • It’s no good being nice and young and naïve. There’s no good in that at all. You’ve got to do it all yourself, and you’ve gotta learn quick. And you can’t look for sympathy either.
  • Listen, you know this: If there’s not a rebellious youth culture, there’s no culture at all. It’s absolutely essential. It is the future. This is what we’re supposed to do as a species, is advance ideas.

 

 

Laura Bock, an old school punk and goth, is a writer and photographer from Lorain, Ohio. A self-proclaimed Jane of all trades, Laura is a recovering 80’s hairspray addict, and prefers her Doc Martens and combat boots over a pair of heels anyday. In addition to her blog, Laura’s writing can also be seen on Skirt Collective, The Tattooed Buddha, Elephant Journal, Rebelle Society, Be You Media Group, and Pucker Mob. She was also a featured writer with the now defunct webzine, Indie Chicks.

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