What A Fucking Rotter

With John Lydon currently touring the UK with Public Image Limited, we recall a previous visit to these shores filled with anarchy and er, goat sex.
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With John Lydon currently touring the UK with Public Image Limited, we recall a previous visit to these shores filled with anarchy and er, goat sex.

November 2007: Guitar Hero III press conference. In the games industry, press conferences traditionally consist of overweight bearded Americans explaining in a monotone drawl how they’re “really excited about the quarter four release of the product.” This one’s different in that it features three of the Sex Pistols, the band having rerecorded two of their classic songs for the game. Suffice to say I’m all over it like a soup sandwich. They say you should never meet your heroes, but if cornered I would have to cite John Lydon as an all-time hero. Randomly, I have met half of The Clash, a third of The Jam, even a quarter of Oasis, but until now I had never had the chance to meet - and interview - a Sex Pistol.

The day before commencing their sell-out UK tour, Activision had somehow managed to secure their services to promote the game at a bar in East London’s fashionable Hoxton Square (where you’re never more than 12ft from a DJ). For once I am unfashionably early, and step into the square at the precise moment that guitarist Steve Jones steps out of his limo, finding myself shoulder-to-shoulder with rock royalty. He gives me a hard stare and I’m too intimidated to say anything, despite being a fan of his radio show.

Worse is to follow when I arrive at the venue to be told that the interview has been pulled. It’s a hammer blow, and I sit nursing a pint, clutching my dog-eared vinyl copy of Never Mind The Bollocks that I had brought along to be signed. The photographer is equally distraught, particularly as he can see the back of Lydon’s head whenever he pops out for a fag break in the VIP area. Having waited decades for this moment, we’re not going to let it lie. Buoyed by lager and punk rock rage, we seize the moment and shout over the fence to Lydon. He has no knowledge of any interview being pulled and launches into a hail of expletives. The ensuing five minutes are increasingly surreal, as he simulates sex with a goat, gets his gut out for a photo and openly tweaks his nipples, before signing my album, replete with a hand drawn pair of tits. Eventually his security men take him away, leaving us in a state of gobsmacked euphoria.

The press conference is no less chaotic, as Lydon takes to the stage to the strains of Anarchy In The UK and immediately announces: “Fuck off, it’s rubbish, I hate the whole thing.” With PR representatives visibly wincing, he continues: “Guitar Hero, I’ll give it to you basic and honest. The offer came in, I took it home and I played it with a bunch of kids, mostly my younger brother’s who lives nearby me in Los Angeles. I fucking loved it and the kids loved it more. What I liked was it weren’t teaching you how to be a rock star, it was teaching you how not to be a rock star, how not to be an arsehole in your life and how not to seek fame and fortune cos the whole fucking thing’s a joke. And that’s it, alright? I loved the money, gotta say. Then Virgin Records decided they’d lost the masters so we had to spend our advance re-recording. So we give them two songs instead of one: Anarchy In The UK and Pretty Vacant, alright? And I really like what me, Steve [Jones, guitarist] and Paul [Cook, drummer] put together, I think that was alright. So I’m bang on the money on this one, alright? And always remember, get ‘em when they’re young…”

The following half hour is a tense, contradictory, expletive-ridden Q&A during which he throws the microphone at one “beardy wanker,” refers to the “Yankee representative” of the game as “a fucking arse” and explains that he misses “having sex with the Queen Mother.” Lovely stuff. We genuinely are not worthy…

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