“I’ve got no more savings, no more loans, no pensions. I’ve got nothing. … I’m fucked, and I’m scuppered in so many different ways,” the singer told The Telegraph. (While the original story is paywalled, Classic Rock reported on his comments.) “This entire juggernaut of confusion has cost me millions. Such a hideous, nasty onslaught; I never expected Steve [Jones], Paul [Cook] and Glen [Matlock] to be that evil. And we never even sat down and had a conversation about it.”
In August, a judge upheld a 1998 agreement stating that band-licensing decisions would be made on a “majority-rule basis.” Jones and Cook, claiming support from Matlock, began their legal battle after Lydon initially sought to veto use of the group’s music in Pistol.
The program, directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) is based on guitarist Steve Jones’ 2016 memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol. It’s currently scheduled to debut sometime in 2022 on FX, a Disney subsidiary — and Lydon brought up the latter point while commenting on the suit.
“This became Walt Disney money vs. me,” he said. “Who do you think’s gonna win? Money talks and Johnny Rotten takes a walk. It’s a strange, strange world we live in. The Sex Pistols have become the property of Mickey fucking Mouse.”
Lydon continued, “Steve Jones and Paul Cook both said they knew this [legal] action would destroy the band. Then why do it? They really are poison, because they don’t mind selling you a lie.”
The singer has previously criticized both the band and the show, calling Pistol “the most disrespectful shit I’ve ever had to endure.”
“I am the lead singer and songwriter, frontman, image, the lot, you name it,” Lydon later wrote in a message on his website. “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.”
Jones and Cook then responded with their own statement. “While John’s contribution is rightly acknowledged, his claims to be the only band member of consequence are hard to take,” they wrote. “Steve, Paul and Glen 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.”
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