Monday, April 12, 2010

John Lydon: Public Image Limited

John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) says he doesn't like tattoos, but try not to hold that against him. If I'd been calling in on behalf of a golf magazine, he'd probably tell me how much he's offended by the sport. Not because he's disagreeable -- he really isn't -- but because first and foremost, above all else, the OG punk rocker is a provocateur and contrarian.

The Sex Pistols frontman is back on the scene after reviving his post-punk avant-garde music project Public Image Limited (a.k.a. PiL). The band, which was formed in 1978 in the wake of The Pistols dramatic demise, featured a revolving cast of players (including SG's Martin Atkins), with Lydon being the driving force and only constant.

Returning to the stage after a 17-year hiatus, PiL played a series of critically acclaimed shows in the UK in the latter part of 2009. With the music industry in a state of flux, and with very little cash flowing to support any artistic endeavors, Lydon financed the reunion in a true-to-form, eyebrow-raising fashion. The singer who had once called for "Anarchy in the UK" become a spectacularly unlikely spokesman for a brand of British butter called Country Life, appearing in a humorous commercial which sent sales of the saturated fat soaring.

Lydon, who lives in California, is now set to bring the organized chaos that is PiL stateside. The band will be playing Club Nokia in Downtown LA on April 13 prior to a highly anticipated opening-night performance at Coachella and a series of dates across the US.

I called Lydon up at his Los Angeles beachside home to talk a little bollocks about life, butter, music, politics, PiL, the psychology of punk - and his apparent dislike of body ink.

Read my exclusive interview with John Lydon at

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