Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's
Saturday, June 28th, 1997
Interviewed by Leora Kornfeld
(JL: John Lydon - LK: Leora Kornfeld

(plays "Sun")

LK: That is the Leftfield mix of "Sun" from John Lydon's new album, his first solo album called "Psycho's Path". And this is not just John jumping on the electronica bandwagon working with people like The Chemical Brothers and Leftfield and Moby. Actually most of the stuff was recorded about three years ago before the Sex Pistols reunion tour, but naturally had to be put on hold for a while. At any rate, John Lydon is on the line live from Los Angeles. Our phone lines are just jammed here, so please keep trying if you want to talk to him. Our toll free number within Canada: 1-800-563-2328. Right now, John Lydon. Hello John!

JL: Hello.

LK: You've been rehearsing with your band tonight, have you?

JL: Yeah, well for the last month. It's difficult, but I promise I will be coming out there at some point.

LK: Why is it difficult?

JL: Well... The wonderful world of musicians! I've never really understood how I put music together. So it's very difficult to find people that can quite naturally fit into my way of doing things. I don't follow normal patterns or traditions in music. In fact, I never have. And that makes it rather difficult for - for certain people. There are exceptions out there, but they're hard to find. I'm still looking for a keyboard player! So if anyone's interested... hello!

LK: They could be your keyboard player, huh?

JL: Well, it's that or I'm gonna have to end up doing it all myself live. And I don't really want to do that.

LK: How much could you get for a week playing keyboards in your band?

JL: Not a lot. But I guarantee it'd be exactly what I'd get. Cause that's the only way it works with me - equal rights.

LK: That's good to know. So I know you have to get back to rehearsing. So tell us when you have to go. As I mentioned, the phone lines are just jammed. A lot of the fans want to talk to you. And I noticed that over the last few weeks, that you've had a lot of media presence. You did "Politically Incorrect", you met up with Tom Snyder again. How did all that happen?

JL: Mostly by happen-chance. "Politically Incorrect" wanted me to go on some time ago. But I wasn't ready. And I didn't want to do it way back then. I just did it for a laugh. And Tom Snyder watched that and he thought, "Oooh! About time I made up with Mr. Rotten!" And so he did.

LK: Do you think your relationship with the media has changed much over the years?

JL: No it's about the same. You know, those that don't like me will never like me. And those that do, well you know, same.

LK: Do you think Mr. Snyder likes you now?

JL: Well yeah, I think I got on all right with him.

LK: Now, last year during the-

JL: You know, it's not like the old days. I mean, he gave me a chance to actually talk this time. And he'd actually, like, bothered to do some research. So, that made the difference.

LK: Last year, when you were doing the Sex Pistols reunion tour, you told us at every opportunity that you'd come for the money. You were very upfront about it.

JL: Absolutely! I needed it to finish this record.

LK: And, so you got the money.

JL: Yeah.

LK: A good amount of money?

JL: A sizable amount. But, as you know, by the time lawyers, accountants and the tax have had their little bit - there's not too much left over. I mean, you know it's not - we're not talking millions and millions, dear! You know, this is not like Kiss reforming. It was a fairly small time affair. You know, the way I like it, really.

LK: Well, I read on the internet. And you know you can't believe anything there. But I read-

JL: Oh, certainly not!

LK: They said - somebody on the internet said Steve Jones - Steve Jones made 15 million dollars on the Pistols tour. True?

JL: (laughing) No!

LK: Ok, good. So, now we know-

JL: You know, as fantasy goes - that's a real big one, that!

LK: But, he did get a house, didn't he?

JL: He might have made 15 million yen!

LK: Oh. Or pesos!

JL: Or pesos. But, certainly not dollars or pounds.

LK: We have lots of people that want to talk to you, John. The number is 1-800-563-2328. And first up it's Joseph in Toronto. Joseph, go ahead.

Joseph: Hi John. How are you tonight?

JL: All-righty.

Joseph: Great! Big fan of yours. And I've listened to your music for quite a few years now. I just wanted to let you know, here in Canada, I think you could take "The Guess Who" in a fist-fight any day. And I just wanted to ask you what you thought of the music industry overall currently.

JL: "The music industry" - well, it's all about fashion and trends, isn't it? And people like me ignore all of that. And I just go on being original. Because I don't believe in trying to fit into any mold or genre. There will always be fools out there who'll believe that the 'Top 30' is the "be all and end all" of good taste. And there lies the difference between me and the rest. In that I don't see the Grammy Awards, for instance, as being anything close to an achievement. Because, in terms of who they award, I mean it would be like: in terms of popular food; McDonald's would win every time! Because that's what most people go for. So, you know, me and the masses don't see eye to eye.

LK: Joseph, thank you very much for the call.

Joseph: Thank you.

LK: Next up, we have Jack in Hamilton. Go ahead Jack.

Jack: Hi, how are you doing?

JL: All right.

Jack: Hey, I was just wondering... this Malcolm McLaren thing - are you still in resentment towards the way you guys-

JL: What thing? I'm not aware of him anymore. I haven't been for quite a long time.

Jack: That's good. Hey, when you guys played Toronto - I don't know if you remember -someone threw the apple on stage, you held it up and said, "Oh! An apple for the teacher." That was me.

LK: You remember that John, right?

JL: (laughing) Well, I hope you've got it saved in the refrigerator!

Jack: I'm pretty sure I did a bootleg of you guys that night.

LK: Ooooh!

JL: You did? Well, leave your name and address and the boys in blue will be giving you a visit shortly.

Jack: (laughs) Ok.

LK: (laughs) Thanks, Jack.

Jack: Take care. Bye.

LK: Bye. And from Jack, we go to Jill in Vancouver. Jill, go ahead for John Lydon.

Jill: You're all right, John.

JL: Hello.

Jill: You're all right. Yeah, so I've always - all respect to you. I respect your intelligence and your cynical truth telling.

JL: I'm not cynical. I'm more satirical.

Jill: Yeah, all right.

JL: Cynicism I think, is cheap and nasty.

Jill: Yeah-

JL: And I don't feel I suffer from that.

Jill: Yeah. Sorry, I-

JL: What I do suffer from is telling it like it is. And honesty is not a thing respected in the pop industry. Because it's all based on conceit and lies and rip off.

Jill: Yeah, exactly. And you've got a lot of the DIY Anarchist scene movement behind you for years. And I've been involved for a couple of decades now. And that's what I wanted to ask you about. If you think that the whole rebel punk voice of the DIY Anarchist scene is still viable today.

JL: Well, it's like this: Look, a true Anarchist doesn't need a uniform. In fact, a uniform would be a contradiction. And a lot of people who think of themselves as being Anarchistic are really anachronistic. Because they're still wearing the punk cliché outfit. Times move on. Situations change. And you've always got to keep ahead of the herd.

LK: Jill?

Jill: Yes?

LK: Thank you for the call.

Jill: Yes. Thank you John.

LK: Good question.

JL: I hope I was clear!

Jill: Yeah.

LK: We got it! Ok, thanks Jill. Bye! And next up it is Lisa in Vancouver. Go ahead.

Lisa: Hi, Johnny.

JL: Hello.

Lisa: Speaking of coming ahead of the herd - I just happen to be doing live band karaoke now. With punk-aoke, new wave-aoke and glamrock-karaoke with a live band. So, how do you feel about that? About us doing your Sex Pistols - six Sex Pistols songs, inviting the audience to come up and sing them?

JL: I think that's a good laugh.

Lisa: It's great! It is so entertaining. And you're going on about a keyboard player-

JL: Well, you know what? You see, a lot of people would take that as a sign of disrespect. I don't at all. I think that-

Lisa: No, I mean-

JL: I think that you should be able to see amusement in everything.

Lisa: That's the thing. I love everything that's being said right here. Cause yeah, that's - it's pure entertainment. We have fun with it. If somebody's really awful - I mean we had a guy doing a Fear song - he just went, "Aaaaaaah! Aaaaah!" And we just laughed so hard. It was like he lost his day job as Barney at the local mall, right? You know, it was like he slid down to karaoke-

JL: Well good. You know, I mean, you know in a way that's why I did "Rotten Day", that radio show, was to just punch a few bubbles.

Lisa: Exactly.

JL: Because too many of these pop stars take themselves so damn serious.

Lisa: But, also it's also an avenue-

JL: But they are the problem. The very problem that they're moaning about is actually themselves.

Lisa: Yeah. But we find that it's also an avenue for people, like they're behind the drum kits, who like come out and express themselves as a singer. They know all the tunes, they've been doing it for years. Finally, they can come out. It's like, they're chance! They're out there and they're like, "Yeah!" But, if you need a keyboard player, I'm talking Dave Gem - new wave-aoke Band. We're playing tonight at the Starfish Room. And uh-

JL: (laughs)

Lisa: New wave karaoke - he is the man!

LK: Hey, Lisa, did you ever get any good Lydon sound-alikes for punk-aoke?

Lisa: Oh, yes, we've had all kinds-

JL: I'll tell you a good Lydon sound-alike at the moment!

LK: Oh, who's that, John?

JL: The Prodigy! (laughing)

LK: What was that, John?

JL: The Prodigy!

LK: Oh, The Prodigy.

JL: They're the good Lydon sound-alike!

Lisa: That's very true. That's very true. I have seen those videos. I went, "What?!" But, uh yeah, I think you should come to one of our shows. We're actually going to tour with a new wave band. Which is gonna be hilarious. Like we blew away the college scene. The COCA Conference, like we - they said to us, we're doing like, 80's covers and they're like, "You are the most original thing we have ever seen!"

LK: Well, Lisa, maybe you'll cross paths when John Lydon's band goes on tour.

Lisa: I think we will.

LK: Ok, thanks a lot for calling.

Lisa: Thanks a lot.

JL: I could definitely do with Karaoke before and after!

LK: Thanks Lisa!

JL: Maybe during!

LK: Ok, bye. It is John Lydon live on RealTime. We will come back and take some more calls and e-mails if that's ok with you John, is it?

JL: Yeah, of course.

LK: You love talking with the Canadian public, don't you?

JL: The public in general, yeah.

LK: Yeah.

JL: Much easier and much more insightful than any journalist.

LK: The number is 1-800-563-2328. So stick around while we hear another song from your album "Psycho's Path" and then we'll come back and talk to you more.

JL: Yeah.

LK: This is "Dog."

(plays "Dog")

LK: Music from John Lydon's new album "Psycho's Path" should be available in a disc store near you. Uh, and you heard what he said in there, "You can look to the future when you're confident." Is that really true, Mr. Lydon?

JL: Absolutely.

LK: Are you confident and looking to the future?

JL: I always have.

LK: Really? Would you always have described yourself as a confident and optimistic person?

JL: I have no fear of change.

LK: Mm-hmm. And you-

JL: And because I tend not to lie too much, that makes life rather easier. Rather than the other way around.

LK: I guess easier for you. (laughs)

JL: Easier for me. I mean a lot of people would find that very, very difficult. But you know, I'm not being 'braggy' here, but I couldn't live that way.

LK: Before we go back to the phones, I have a few e-mail questions for you. This comes from Loren in Saskatchewan. He says, "Hey John. Do you still have a gas mask in your London home?"

JL: Uh, no.

LK: What's he talking about here? Do you know?

JL: I've no idea, but it sounds witty I suppose.

LK: Yeah, I thought maybe he knew something. Ok, here's a good one. This comes from-

JL: He might be referring to the bad plumbing.

LK: Oh! (laughing) Well, here is - this is a really good e-mail. This comes from a 14 year old girl named Kaela. And she says, "What is a famous song by the Sex Pistols that a 14 year old girl would know. I hear that you are one of Bush's favorite bands." You see, she's a fan of Bush's. And all she knows about the Sex Pistols is that Bush have referred to them as one of their favorite bands. So she would just like to know - actually what music you listen to.

JL: Everything and anything. I have no prejudices in music at all. But what I don't do is limit myself to one particular style or genre. It's all out there for entertainment and you should take it all. If she's curious about the Sex Pistols, then I recommend she asks her older brother or listen to "Never Mind the Bollocks" or whatever.

LK: She may be the eldest in the family though. You never know.

JL: Well, you never know. But, you know, it's not thoroughly impossible to know what the Sex Pistols sound like, now is it?

LK: No! But of course-

JL: Unless she's leading a real sheltered life!

LK: She was born in 1983, back when you were singing "This is not a Love Song". Right? She's-

JL: Uh! Apt!

LK: She's only 14! We go back to the phones to Steve in Fountain Valley, California. Hello, Steve. Go ahead.

Steve: Hello! Um-

JL: Yeah.

Steve: I have a question for John here.

JL: Yep.

Steve: I was curious, have you seen or are you aware of the many different internet web sites that have been designed based upon your music career as well as that of the Sex Pistols and PiL?

JL: Yeah-

Steve: If so, what are your opinions and views about the fact that such a large amount of people have chosen to create these sites?

JL: Well they're all unofficial. And so that kind of worries me. Because disinformation can start to be given out for any particular reason on those kind of things. And I don't like the internet so much for that very reason. There's a lot of hearsay and opinion and very little fact going on.

Steve: There are a couple out there that are pretty accurate though. Mine being one of them. (laughs)

LK: You've got, now you've got the-

JL: (laughs)

LK: It's true! St-

JL: You come from where? California?

Steve: I'm sure you've seen it! I'm sure you've seen it. It's the title "homepage".

LK: It's the generic artwork, like your generic album.

JL: Right.

Steve: Tell me you've seen it.

JL: Well, I read a review of this album actually, on one of the internet pages.

Steve: Uh, it was probably mine, cause I have - it's all up to date-

JL: Well, I thought that was very inaccurate! (laughs)

Steve: It's nothing but flattering to you, John.

JL: Your description of the songs was appalling.

Steve: What's that?

JL: Your description of the songs, if it was the same one, was wrong!

Steve: (laugh) I didn't know which - you know, everybody's got their own views on the songs.

JL: Yeah, but-

Steve: Which is what makes it so diverse. Which I like.

JL: Well, how nice for you! But don't be putting that across as fact.

Steve: Uh oh. (laughs)

JL: If you state opinion, that's fine.

Steve: Oh, I said it was my opinion.

JL: But don't state it as fact!

Steve: I said it was my opinion only.

JL: Right, but-

Steve: It probably had nothing to do with what you-

JL: It didn't say that on your page though.

Steve: (giving up) I know.

JL: There lies the difference.

LK: Yeah, but it's assumed that it's somebody's opinion because as a web page-

JL: Oh, no no no. You can never make assumptions like that.

LK: That it's just-

Steve: (laughing) No, I made it real clear that it was just-

JL: People read these things and take them quite literally. I know, because I've been misrepresented all my life.

Steve: Of course.

JL: And I constantly have to argue against out and out lies.

Steve: Ok.

JL: 98 percent of the questions I'm asked about anything I've done in my life is based on somebody else's opinion of what I've done, rather than the fact.

LK: Ok, Steve. Go home and take down that web site! (laughs)

Steve: Yeah, I think I might.

JL: Or improve!

Steve: What a - oh, wow. (laughs)

JL: (laughs)

Steve: John, uh, I've got a-

JL: Hope I've made your day!

Steve: Well, kind of. (laughs) I don't know! I'm gonna go change a few things, I think. But, uh, I have a quick story here. I don't know if they wanted me to tell it now or later.

LK: Oh, this is the 'spit cup' story. Which-

Steve: Yeah it is.

LK: Now, I read this on the internet, John. So ok, Steve. Go ahead tell the story.

Steve: Yeah. I don't know if he'll remember. John, you did a radio interview down here on KROQ with "Jed the Fish" - the annoying DJ. And, uh-

JL: Yep.

Steve: Back in November of 1990. I guess you were spitting in a cup, using it as a spittoon and an ashtray, cutting up some small eraser over and over again. Uh, he decided after the interview, to scoop this all into the cup and joke about giving it away. So I called him and he said it was just a joke, but if I could get down there, he would give it to me. And I ended up getting down there in the nick of time, put me on the air and made me smell it before he gave it to me. But, uh-

John: Well, let's hope it was the genuine article!

Steve: Oh, I'm pretty sure it was! It was kind of a - kind of a spit slushy actually.

JL: Did you keep it? Because if you did you-

Steve: I still have it after all these years!

LK: It's on his web page!

JL: I'll tell you what to do.

Steve: After all these years.

JL: Sell it to the Hard Rock Cafe!

Steve: Huh?

JL: They're very big for that kind of thing.

Steve: Oh.

LK: What, the Hard Rock Cafe?

JL: Yeah! (laughs)

LK: Oh, good idea!

Steve: Oh, I'm not gonna sell this. This is-

JL: That can go up there with all those other false guitars they have.

Steve: No no no. This is a genuine Johnny article I'm gonna keep forever.

LK: And it's on your web site, too.

Steve: Oh, yeah. There's pictures of it.

JL: All right. Well, whatever pleases you.

LK: He's-

Steve: There's pictures of it.

LK: Steve, thanks a lot.

Steve: Keep up the good work, John.

LK: Ok-

JL: All right. And I promise I won't be running out of flem anytime soon!

Steve: (laughing) Keep it spittin'!

LK: Bye, Steve.

Steve: Bye bye.

LK: There goes Steve off to improve his John Lydon web site. Next up it's Cara in Columbus, Ohio. Go ahead, Cara.

Cara: Hi, Johnny. How are ya'?

JL: All right.

Cara: I also have a web page to ya', but I won't go there. Since you didn't seem to like the ones you saw before.

LK: (laughs)

JL: (laughs)

Cara: So, basically what I wanted to know - I'm a graphic designer - and I'd like to know, like, how much of the artwork you've done, like, for your albums and stuff in the past. And, like, if you designed the-

JL: I did all of it.

Cara: You did all- (laughs) Did you design the PiL logo?

JL: Yeah.

Cara: (laughs)

LK: Why are you laughing, Cara?

Cara: (laughs) I don't know, I just-

LK: Do you think it's not true?

Cara: No. I don't know, actually.

JL: Well, I've only got one thing to say to you, dear...

Cara: (laughs)

JL: Don't know nothing!

Cara: (laughs) I'm sorry.

JL: And I'm well known for doing my own artwork. I always have. Because I just don't trust other people to package my songs.

Cara: Yeah.

JL: It's just a matter of common sense to me. And it cuts down on cost.

Cara: Yeah, I agree.

JL: And plus, it's like - to me, it's like, the you know - the 13th song on a 12 song package.

LK: Cara?

Cara: I-

LK: Yes, Cara, go ahead.

Cara: Oh. I know you did the stuff on "Psycho's Path". And I was just wondering, like, what program did you use for that? If you-

JL: (laughs)

LK: Uh oh! Here comes the big endorsement!

Cara: Uh, oh.

JL: It's a big secret! But what that comes from was an original water color painting that I did of me. I drew me, and I made me look very pretty and very handsome.

Cara: Yeah, it's a very nice picture.

JL: I got rid of all the wrinkles and spots. And then I put it in the computer and I just messed around with it. I think it was called Adobe.

LK: And it's now the cover of "Psycho's Path." Yeah. Hey, Cara- thanks for the call.

Cara: Thank you.

LK: Ok, bye.

Cara: Bye.

LK: Next up - Aaron in Hamilton. Go ahead, Aaron.

Aaron: Yeah, Johnny?

JL: Yep.

Aaron: I was just wondering - I've been a big fan of your music for a long time. But, I've also been a big fan of electronic music.

JL: Yeah.

Aaron: And I was just wondering since, like, your music is - was known for being, like, on the forefront of something new and it's a different type of music, then how come it - was it that, like, the choice of your bands to do the techno stuff, was like - there's such commercial bands when there's such, like, good good good-

JL: Hold on! Hold on! What techno stuff?

Aaron: -like, underground techno going on.

JL: Excuse me?

Aaron: Yeah.

JL: What are you talking about?

Aaron: Well, I'm just saying that those bands are mostly known by people I know who are into electronic music-

JL: What does that have to do with me?

Aaron: -who are copying styles of the originators. Like people from Detroit, like Kevin Saunderson-

JL: Hold on! Hold on! Get to your point! What is any of this to do with me?

Aaron: Oh, I'm just asking if you, like, would want to, in the future maybe work with some people like that? Who were more, like, the originators like you were.

JL: I work with whoever's available. It's as simple as that. I don't have any prejudices. I can quite easily go from country and western to electronica in a heartbeat.

Aaron: Right.

JL: I don't see these styles as being very different or dissimilar at all. I don't see the difference really, between The Orb and punk. It's all done the same way.

Aaron: Right, right. I was-

JL: All music is. And PiL was always being computer-minded right from day one. The fact is that I use computers in a very different way. And I use equipment - electronic equipment - very differently in that I don't want them to sound like machines going, "blickety-blick."

Aaron: Right.

JL: I want them to simulate natural sound.

Aaron: Ok.

JL: And that, I think, is the difference between me and all that horrible techno imitator stuff. I think that's what you're getting at. There is an awful pile of that out there.

Aaron: Yeah.

JL: And it's all kind of - you know what I don't like about it, is that it's formatted itself.

Aaron: Right. Into like 8-bar.

JL: Yeah. And, you know, it's like: one idea; four hundred versions. And they're all waiting for the next idea, but they're all scared to make that step themselves.

LK: Mmm. Good point.

JL: And I think that that's - that was the downfall of punk too. Because a lot of the bands were always waiting to see what the Pistols would do next. So that they could jump on that bandwagon.

LK: Aaron, thank you very much.

JL: And I find that, you know - I find that very annoying. But like punk, you know, some good things come out of it. Some good things will come out of electronica. I've no doubt some good things come out of grunge. Or any music style.

LK: And, we can now move onto-

JL: Just don't take all of it on board.

LK: ...or maybe!

JL: You know, you have to have the common sense to realize what is quality work, and what is purely imitator.

LK: Ok, Andy in Detroit. If you dare... go ahead!

Andy: Hi, John. In your book you say you're left-handed-

LK: In the autobiography?

Andy: Yeah.

JL: Yeah.

Andy: But, I saw you on MTV, you were holding a guitar like a right-handed person. Do you play like a right-

JL: I was holding what?

Andy: A guitar. And you strummed it-

JL: Oh. No, I have to play guitar right-handed. And that came about because around the time of "God Save the Queen," I was attacked by some, uh, Royalist fans shall we say? And they stuck a knife in my left hand.

Andy: So you can't play at all with your left hand? Or...

JL: No. I've lost the control of the two middle fingers.

LK: So you can't write with your left hand either.

JL: I can write with it, of course.

Andy: All right. Thanks for answering the question, John.

JL: You know, you don't need five fingers to write a letter.

LK: Just depends which ones, I guess.

JL: You can hold a pen with two.

Andy: Are you gonna be coming to Detroit soon?

JL: At some point, yes.

Andy: All right. Thanks.

JL: I'm- yeah, I'm due out on tour in five weeks time. And it starts in Memphis and it works it's way all 'round, goes up through Canada and then back down to Atlanta. I can't tell you exact dates.

LK: But, uh...

JL: But, I will be there sometime soon.

LK: Check your local listings. And, thanks to Andy in Detroit.

JL: And by the way, it will be listed under "Cocktail Jazz with Johnny".

LK: That's right. Because you have no musical prejudices. That's the way we like it. We will take some more calls and some more e-mails in just a second. I'm just wondering, John, how you think what you're selling people has changed over the years in terms of your persona.

JL: What I'm selling people? (laughs) Is that what you said?

LK: Well, selling people - I'm thinking specifically of a quote from Kim Gordon from "Sonic Youth". And she said, "When people pay the thirty dollars at a concert, what they're really paying for is to see someone on stage who believes in themselves."

JL: I think that's true. That's a very, very smart statement. Too few bands have that respect. I have no respect for people that turn up on stage drugged up or drunk. They're either hiding an inadequacy in themselves or they really just don't care. Either way, it's ripping you off. You won't get me that way.

LK: When people come to see you, what do you think they're paying to see?

JL: At least you won't get me that way anymore! (laugh) Cause I have done it in the past, but... Promise!

LK: But what do you think people are paying to see when they come to see you, John?

JL: Well hopefully it won't cost you thirty dollars. You just get a genuine original. And that's it. You know, you can like it or you can lump it. But whatever I'm doing is to the best of my ability. And sorry if you don't like it. But there it is! If you think you can do better, then by all means show me.

LK: And you're still looking for a keyboard player.

JL: Because quite frankly, you know, there should be more people out there being original. And stop following the masses, or popular trends or tastes.

LK: Do you want to go back to the phones now? Are ya' up for it?

JL: Yaah'.

LK: Ok. Blake in Toronto with John Lydon, go ahead.

Blake: Hi, John. I had a compliment and then a question for you. I really enjoyed the diversity of the vocals on your new album.

JL: Mm-hmm.

Blake: I thought that was your best work, so far, vocally speaking.

JL: It's the one I've spent the most time on. And, you know, that's because it's my own studio.

Blake: It definitely shows.

JL: You know, because in the past we were always on tight budgets and the vocals were the last things done.

Blake: Sure.

JL: And they'd have to be rushed to meet deadlines. And I think that was a kind of a bit of a letdown.

Blake: Yeah.

JL: But this time out, because I can work at my own pace-

Blake: Sure.

JL: -I spent more effort.

Blake: Now my question is: In your book you say that on the American tour - the final Sex Pistols leg of the American tour - you say you were writing songs like "Religion"- songs for the first PiL album.

JL: Yeah.

Blake: And that the Sex Pistols just - the other ones had no interest.

JL: None at all.

Blake: My question is: If they had accepted them - how do you think they would have tuned out differently if the Pistols had continued on and recorded them?

JL: They wouldn't have. They outrightly rejected the - well the musical formats that I wanted to mess with. I wanted the Pistols to change.

Blake: They had no interest in the kind of reggae accents of the first album.

JL: They had no interest in change. They just wanted things to be in that verse/chorus format. And that was of no interest to me.

Blake: Is that one of the main reasons, besides the whole Malcolm circus, that you finally decided to break away from them?

JL: Well the rest of it had a great deal to do with it. I mean, you know, that's just the way it is. But in terms of creativity, there was zero effort on the others' part.

Blake: Ok. Thanks a lot, John. Take care.

JL: And Sid was the only one that showed any interest in that. But unfortunately Sid wasn't very competent.

Blake: (laughs) Ok. Good luck, John.

LK: Blake, thanks.

JL: So more power to Sid. At least he knew a good thing when he heard it. (laughs)

LK: (laughs) John, there was an article about you and your new album in Billboard Magazine recently. And you're quoted - you're talking about the Sex Pistols reunion tour - this just made me think of it - saying that it ended up being very much like the original tour, um, with all of you hating each other at the end.

JL: Yeah.

LK: Not even anybody saying good-bye.

JL: Yeah.

LK: This is-

JL: It kind of upsets me. Because I, you know, I would have thought twenty years on, it shouldn't have gone back to the old animosities. But it's very difficult because Paul and Steve, in particular, seemed to me to be too set in their ways.

LK: And what do you mean by that?

JL: That they just want to do their rock and roll bit and, you know, all of that boredom that I can't tolerate. They like that hangin' around the Hard Rock scene and, you know-

LK: Taking their shirts off and drinking beer and all that stuff?

JL: Well, actually - well, if only.

LK: (laughs)

JL: Cause they're all tea-totallers.

LK: Oh, really?

JL: It really was like going on a tour bus with a gang of Monks.

LK: (laughs) And who would you have been in the gang?

JL: You know, when you go to the refrigerator after a gig, the first thing you want is a beer to unwind. And when it's full of nothing but mineral water, that's a bit upsetting.

LK: (laughs) We go now to Eric in Fort Langley for John Lydon. Go ahead Eric.

Eric: Hi. I'm just finding it funny here that people are phoning up and talking to John like, you know, like it's still 1977 and they have any respect for him or believe anything that he says or that he has any, you know, integrity whatsoever. When, if John is gonna be remembered for anything, it's as the biggest hypocrite in the history of rock and roll.

JL: (laughs)

LK: Oooh!

JL: Ha! It's about time a journalist came on the phone! (laughs)

LK: Are you a journalist, Eric?

Eric: Not a journalist, John. But, I just -

LK: Civilian?

Eric: I didn't catch on to you 10 minutes ago, ok. You know, I - I've been-

JL: Now you listen to me, Sunshine. You are the problem.

Eric: Oh, fuck you, John!

LK: Oh!

Eric: Ok, go ahead and talk.

LK: Oh, watch that language right there!

JL: You listen to me! This person wants everything to stay exactly the same as it was from day one. Now that shows no respect for me whatsoever. As an originator, I have to constantly change. It's my nature. If you don't understand that about me, you don't understand anything. And therefore have no right to talk.

LK: Especially to you, is that right?

JL: Well he can yap away all he likes. But he should know what he's talking about. It's kind of foolish of him.

LK: Let's try-

JL: And what - and another thing that's really humorous about these kind of people is why they get so damn upset about it. It's like I'm bursting their bubbles or their perception. But their perceptions are based on false realities. I can't account for why these people exist, but they're certainly a waste of time and space.

LK: And that would be the uncensored opinion of John Lydon, live on RealTime on CBC stereo. We-

JL: Oh, yes.

LK: We go to a man named Crazy Jack in Hamilton. Go ahead, Crazy Jack.

Jack: Hi, how you doin'?

JL: Hello.

Jack: Hey, listen. I was just wondering - I know it's time, you know, you move on. You're doing really good. I like your stuff. Just out of curiosity, is there ever gonna be another Sex Pistol album come out? Or, what are your plans with the boys?

JL: No. After that tour I flogged off all my royalties and everything. Because I didn't want that to ever occur to me to happen ever again.

Jack: Well, let me tell you - you guys had the last laugh. You know what I'm saying?

JL: In a way, yeah. Because finally after twenty years, I actually got paid for being in the Sex Pistols.

LK: (laughs)

Jack: Yeah, you should've-

JL: But it's something that many people don't seem to understand. That while we were a band, we would never really like to tour all that much.

Jack: Mm-hmm.

JL: We might have had a lot of press coverage. But it certainly didn't relate financially. And then there was lawsuits and lawyers came in, court cases, money gone missing. And then that was followed by all these, like, third rate journalists putting out their books and their spin on things. Everybody earning money on the Sex Pistols except the actual Sex Pistols.

Jack: That's right.

JL: So in a way, that tour was a justifiable reality.

Jack: You're damn right it was. And it's - I only wish that I - I'm sorry that I never ever did catch you guys back in the, you know, in the past there.

JL: Well you didn't - yeah - but you didn't need to, because we came back the second time. But the second time is it.

Jack: You came back the second time and you came back stronger. It was the best show I ever saw.

JL: I think so. Cause in a weird way the songs were as valid last year as they were twenty years ago. I think that showed a lot. Particularly with the audience-

Jack: Mm-hmm.

JL: -who understood that.

Jack: Yeah. I talked to you earlier tonight. I was the one that threw the apple at you and made the bootleg tape.

LK: Oh, that guy! He got on a second time!

JL: (laughs)

Jack: Sure.

LK: Ooooh! That's a good Lydon fan!

Jack: Hey - that's my personal celebrity. You know what I mean?

JL: Yeah.

LK: Hey, Jack. Thanks for calling.

Jack: Listen, did you want a copy of that tape?

LK: Oh, the bootleg tape!

JL: Oh, not particularly. (laughs)

Jack: It's a great copy! Ok. Take care. Keep on rockin', man.

JL: You know, everybody makes bootlegs. And to be honest, I don't care.

LK: What, if they make bootlegs and make money of it, you don't care?

JL: Well why would I waste my time trying to pursue it?

LK: Well it's more people taking more of your money.

JL: Yeah but it's, you know, it's five dollars here or there - whatever.

LK: Right.

JL: It ain't big league. It ain't like ripping me off, like, say the way many of these large labels do.

LK: Mm-hmm. Well, I would have to say before I let you go - and you are going back to rehearsing. Your band is going on tour to promote your new album "Psycho's Path".

JL: Mm-hmm.

LK: One of my favorite lines of yours over the years has been, "Anger is an energy." Which is a very powerful line. But I'm just wondering if you've had any insights into what that means over the years. I.e. anger is an energy - but at what cost?

JL: Well at no cost at all. And it's a lot better and healthier for you than resorting to just hate. Which is the easy option, isn't it?

LK: The way that most people express their anger.

JL: Yes.

LK: Or they-

JL: They resort to hate and violence. Which achieves exactly nothing. If you study history in any way at all - and I know history is always rewritten by the winners in every war - but what you've learned from it is that all those wars, hate and violence really solve nothing. They never, ever end the problem that they set out to stop. Anger is a much, much more healthier mode of operation. And I think it's something that Ghandi used too. Passive resistance is a kind of anger.

LK: How do you figure that?

JL: (laughs) Logically of course!

LK: Passive resistance is a kind of anger. It's not exactly directed at the enemy though.

JL: But they've won nothing. You've given them nothing.

LK: Mm, ok.

JL: And that's winning. If somebody hates you, it's their waste of space, their waste of energy. Not yours. You don't react to it.

LK: And you don't-

JL: May make you angry. Mm...

LK: Then they win.

JL: But you're also smarter than that.

LK: Ah ha. Ok, now I got it. So the band is going on tour when, John?

JL: In about five weeks time, I hope.

LK: U.S. and Canada. The album "Psycho's Path" is in stores. And what should people do with it, John?

JL: Buy it. (laughs)

LK: (laughs) Ooh, I set you up for that one!

JL: Play it. Play it and listen to it.

LK: Thank you very, very much for taking this time on a Saturday night and out of band rehearsal. And we look forward to seeing you on tour soon. Thank you very much, John.

JL: All right. Cheers. It's been a laugh!

LK: Ok.

JL: All right?

LK: Bye now.

(plays "Take Me")

return to main interview page