Sex Pistols Frontman Johnny Rotten Weighs In On Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Madonna & Katy Perry

Opin­ions may be like that oth­er thing every­one has, but nobody’s got opin­ions like John Lydon, a.k.a. John­ny Rot­ten of the Sex Pis­tols and Pub­lic Image Lim­it­ed. The punk tastemak­er nev­er holds back, and that’s why he’s so much fun in inter­views. Take the clip above, from an appear­ance on the UK’s Absolute Radio. Lydon offers his take on a few artists, some con­tem­po­rary, some aging pop stars. With no evi­dence of irony, he calls Lady Gaga “fan­tas­tic… wit­ty, clever,” and says her song­writ­ing is “bang up there.” Each to his own, I guess. Of Paul McCart­ney (who Lydon calls “McCarthy”), he says the for­mer Bea­t­le recent­ly sang “like an old don­key.” He opines that “Blondie” (does he mean Deb­bie Har­ry? Or are we back to Gaga?) “real­ly is a dob­bin,” and Madon­na is “kind of humor­less.”

It’s all off-the-cuff good fun, noth­ing for­mal, unlike the review above, where Lydon employs his con­sid­er­able crit­i­cal acu­men in a seri­ous review of a very seri­ous film: Katy Perry’s Part of Me. Although “not gen­er­al­ly a film crit­ic,” Lydon lets his gift for sar­cas­tic under­state­ment loose on a few clips from the movie. His review most­ly focus­es on Perry’s image, which seems appro­pri­ate. He’s pleased she shaves her armpits, but not with her var­i­ous dye jobs. He reach­es out to Per­ry in a very heart­felt way after see­ing her father, who is, he says, a “nut­ter.” And oh, there’s so much more, but you should watch it for your­self.

Pub­lic com­men­tary is not some­thing Lydon has only tak­en up in his old age, though he has made a sec­ond career of it late­ly. Last year, Dan­ger­ous Minds dug up a record­ing of a 20-year-old John­ny Rot­ten spin­ning his records for Cap­i­tal Radio in 1977 (below). He plays some Bowie (but he’s not a fan), Can, Cap­tain Beef­heart, John Cale, and plen­ty of dub reg­gae, intro­duc­ing each track with his char­ac­ter­is­tic wit. Appar­ent­ly, Sex Pis­tols man­ag­er Mal­colm McLaren didn’t want him to do it and hat­ed the inter­view and record selec­tions, but John­ny Rot­ten has nev­er been one to do what he’s told. Good for him—it’s an excel­lent lis­ten. You can find a full tran­script and track­list of the ses­sion here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

“Joe Strummer’s Lon­don Call­ing”: All Eight Episodes of Strummer’s UK Radio Show Free Online

2009 Kate Bush Doc­u­men­tary Dubs Her “Queen of British Pop”

Mal­colm McLaren: The Quest for Authen­tic Cre­ativ­i­ty

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Fol­low him @jdmagness

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (1)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.