John Lydon attacks ‘destructive’ court decision on Sex Pistols series

John Lydon attacks ‘destructive’ court decision on Sex Pistols series
Punk singer lost case against his former bandmates who have consented to let director use Sex Pistols music in his new drama

John Lydon has issued a response to his former Sex Pistols bandmates after losing a court case to them over the use of their music.

The singer was sued by guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook after he attempted to block the use of the band’s music in Danny Boyle’s forthcoming drama, Pistol.

On 23 August, the court ruled against Lydon and confirmed that a contract signed by the band in 1988 meant only a majority vote was needed to license music rights.

A statement posted to the singer’s website said: “For more than 23 years the Sex Pistols have operated on the basis of unanimous decision making. The Disney production is the first time that the unanimous approach has been ignored.

“It is disappointing that a High Court judge has decided that John Lydon is bound by an undated agreement signed in 1998, which imposes on the Sex Pistols a majority rule arrangement in place of the unanimous decision making process that has been followed for 23 years.”

The statement added: “Looking forward, there is great uncertainty about what the majority rule approach might do to water down and distort the true history and legacy of the Sex Pistols. Time will tell.”

It concluded with a comment from Lydon himself: “I am the lead singer and songwriter, front man, image, the lot, you name it. 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.

“How can anyone think that this can proceed without consulting me and deal with my personal life in this, and my issues in this, without any meaningful contact with me before the project is announced to the world. I don’t think there are even words that I can put forward to explain quite how disingenuous this is.”

The punk frontman, who was also a member of the band, Public Image Ltd, finished by quoting lyrics from one of that band’s songs, “The Order of Death”: “This is what you want, this is what you get.”

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Lounge act: Steve Jones, Johnny Rotten, Glen Matlock and Paul Cook

A joint statement issued to The Independent from Jones and Cook after the court decision said: “We welcome the courts ruling in this case. It brings clarity to our decision making and upholds the band members’ agreement on collective decision making.

“It has not been a pleasant experience, but we believe it was necessary to allow us to move forward and hopefully work together in the future with better relations.”

Pistol, which is based on Jones’s memoir Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol, began filming in March, with a release date TBC.