Sex Pistols members Steve Jones and Paul Cook have responded to comments made by former bandmate John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) following a ruling by a London court that permitted a “majority rules” decision-making among the group.
Last month, a judge upheld an agreement signed in 1998 stating that the majority of the band could overrule any individual member’s veto. Lydon, who had refused to allow the use of the band’s music in an upcoming biopic called Pistol, had conversely claimed the Sex Pistols had always operated unanimously. In a statement posted to his website last week, Lydon referred to himself as the “creative force” behind the band.
“I am the lead singer and songwriter, frontman, image, the lot, you name it,” the statement noted. “I put it there. How is that not relevant? It is dumbfounding to me. It is so destructive to what the band is, and so I fear that the whole project might be extremely negative. … I don’t think there are even words that I can put forward to explain quite how disingenuous this is. As I said in the lyrics of “The Order of Death,” this is what you want, this is what you get.”
Jones and Cook have now released their own statement in response: “While John’s contribution is rightly acknowledged, his claims to be the only band member of consequence are hard to take. Steve, Paul and Glen [Matlock] started the band, and it was completed when John joined. All songs on the band’s seminal Never Mind the Bollocks album were written by Paul Cook, Steve Jones, Glen Matlock and [Johnny] Rotten except ‘Holidays in the Sun’ and ‘Bodies,’ which were penned by Cook, Jones, Rotten and [Sid] Vicious. In addition, Pistol is based on Steve Jones’ book Lonely Boy.”
The statement also noted that, contrary to Lydon’s implication that the TV show had been sprung on him, the singer had been informed of the Pistol series and offered meetings with the show’s executives. “The majority-rule agreement existed as a result — so no outside party could dictate the use of the band’s music,” the statement reads. “And to have a mechanism in place if one member was unfairly blocking the decision making process — which is what happened in this instance.”
Lydon has already commented on the new statement. “When they say I was informed, they don’t certify a date. … Two-faced hypocrites,” he said on Good Morning Britain. “How are you gonna do a documentary on punk without, hate to be pretentious about this, without Mr. Rotten?”