Enlarge John Lydon by Σπάρτακος, via Wikipedia.

Johnny Rotten: “Anarchy Is a Terrible Idea”


I think it’s safe to say that the Sex Pistols were the band who really cemented ‘anarchy’ as the chief concept and symbolism behind punk rock. With their song “Anarchy In the UK,” and their chorus chant of, “I want to be anarchy,” the band announced to the world that in our buttoned-down society, chaos was not only healthy, it was sometimes necessary. Now, John Lydon, better known as Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten, has made it clear that he thinks anarchy is, in fact, a bad scene.

In a new article he wrote for The Times, Lydon — who’s been an outspoken opponent of the new Sex Pistol’s TV show Pistol, and has basically toiled at downplaying the punk-rock ethos that made him famous — took his time to talk about how he’s not actually against the British royal family (we have to admit, in “God Save The Queen,” he literally says, “God save the Queen — we mean it, man! We love our queen!” So maybe he was being serious all along).

He then goes on to talk about the concept of anarchy, and guess what, he’s not into it — or at least how it’s being portrayed now.

“Anarchy is a terrible idea. Let’s get that clear. I’m not an anarchist…And I’m amazed that there are websites out there – .org anarchist sites – funded fully by the corporate hand and yet ranting on about being outside the shitstorm. It’s preposterous. And they’re doing it in designer Dr Martens, clever little rucksacks and nicely manufactured balaclavas.”

The first punk band to call themselves ‘Clever Little Rucksacks’ gets a salute from us at MetalSucks, by the way.

Anyway, look, are we surprised? Old punk dude grows up, builds a life, becomes increasingly angry at the thing that made him famous, and then decides that a system based on chaos isn’t for him? Not really.

And this isn’t to make Lydon out to be some kind of sell-out — I have a chaos-star tattooed on my shoulder that I got when I was 14, and I’m not going to start tossing Molotov cocktails any time soon. Mostly I’m concerned about the leak in my roof.

Anyway, check out the full interview at The Times and reconsider that big red ‘A’ you were playing to get inked on your chest. Or don’t, and get it, and just have fun being young!

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