Musings —03.27.2017 01:36 PM—
Many of you have sent me a story in which the Sex Pistols frontman expresses enthusiasm for Trump, Brexit and the racist UKIP. To wit:
In an interview today with ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Johnny Rotten said he supported Brexit and described Donald Trump as a “possible friend” while dismissing accusations that the president is racist. The Sex Pistols frontman told hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid that Trump was a “complicated fellow.” “One journalist once said to me, ‘Is he the political Sex Pistol?’ In a way,” he said.
“What I dislike is the left wing media in America are trying to smear the bloke as a racist, and that’s completely not true,” he added. “There are many, many problems with him as a human being but he’s not that, and there just might be a chance something good will come out of this situation because it terrifies politicians. This is a joy to behold for me.”
When Morgan pointed out that Trump’s anti-establishment streak mirrored the Sex Pistols’ approach to music, Rotten replied: “Dare I say, [Trump could be] a possible friend.”
Rotten also described former UKIP leader Nigel Farage and his Brexit movement as “fantastic.”
“The working class have spoken and I’m one of them and I’m with them,” he said.
Does this shock me as much it has clearly shocked some of you? No, not me.
I’ve interviewed Rotten many times, and have long held the view that he is – truly – an asshole. And he’s always been pretty right-wing, too.
Read this, from my book Fury’s Hour:
It is twenty-five years since an emaciated, feral Johnny Rotten snarled that he was the anti-Christ on the Sex Pistols’ astonishing ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ …It seems almost impossible that Johnny Rotten and John Lydon are the same person.
To say that Johnny Rotten, former anti-Christ, has become John Lydon, utter hypocrite, would not go over well with his adoring audience this day. But a hypocrite he is, without much doubt. He sneers at the United States of America, calling it “the new Russia.” But he lives there, and has for many years.
He repeatedly pronounces that he is above politics, and insists that we need to “break down these barriers that we keep fucking putting between us” – and then he appears to mock black people, suggesting that their music comes from “the jungle.” (On that single occasion, the audience goes silent.)
And, later, at a Sex Pistols show in Toronto, as I looked on from the side of the stage:
I note that Rotten is looking down, squinting. On the ground, between his microphone stand and a bank of monitors is a three-ring binder, filled with laminated pages – presumably to protect them from such phlegm assaults. The binder contains Sex Pistols lyrics.
Binder or no binder, by the time the band gets around to ‘God Save the Queen,’ Johnny is forgetting the words a lot. He looks intently at Matlock, perhaps for inspiration. If Matlock notices, he gives no indication. He keeps playing bass, bouncing back and forth to Rotten’s right. A steaming geyser of human saliva is now cascading down on the stage and Johnny Rotten. The place is slick with it.
Looking suddenly weary, Rotten carefully places his microphone stand near Cook’s drum kit. Offstage, he is regarded with concern by his money manager Einbund, and Rambo, the bodyguard. Rotten then addresses the crowd, some of whom are lunging at him to better place the next wad of gob. Rotten is snarling: “Canada, I hope you enjoy your fucking socialism because it is fucking you up the arse!” He then stalks off the stage, shortly followed by Jones, Matlock and Cook. Einbund scurries after him; so does Rambo, who scoops up the binder of lyrics along the way. No one is quite sure what socialism has to do with anything, but one thing is clear: Johnny Rotten is livid.
Backstage (where I have been smuggled in by a friend), Rotten is handed a towel to wipe off the sweat and saliva. His money manager and bodyguard flit around him, nodding sympathetically as he rails about the crowd. The rest of the Sex Pistols regard him with unconcern, or not at all.
Sorry to go on at such length, but I wanted to document that Johnny Rotten has always been a crypto-racist (cf. his remark about blacks), and he has always been a conservative (cf. calling Canada “socialist”).
Bottom line: great band, great album. But Rotten was, is, and always will be an asshole.