Johnny Rotten Goes Before TV’s Judge Judy in 1997 … and Wins!

In the clip above, ex-Sex Pis­tols leader John Lydon (aka “John­ny Rot­ten”) goes before TV’s Judge Judy in a 1997 episode of the day­time show. How and why this came about I can­not begin to imag­ine. The case is straight­for­ward enough. Robert Williams, for­mer drum­mer of Lydon’s post-Pis­tols band Pub­lic Image Lim­it­ed, brought suit against the punk icon for breach of con­tract and assault and bat­tery. Judy obvi­ous­ly doesn’t care much for Williams and calls him a “nud­nik.” She seems to like Lydon, though, despite hav­ing to shush his snide out­bursts numer­ous times. It’s also clear she has absolute­ly no idea who he is. “I don’t know from this band,” she says, “This last band I heard was Lawrence Welk… Jim­my Dorsey… Tom­my Dorsey… I don’t know. Those are bands!”

Judy ulti­mate­ly calls out Williams for expect­ing so much order amidst the chaos of the music busi­ness, and she dis­miss­es his suit. And as for John­ny Rotten’s odd fif­teen min­utes on day­time tele­vi­sion? “Per­haps this was the moment Lydon’s ambi­tion as a TV pre­sen­ter was born,” mus­es Dan­ger­ous Minds. Who knows? It’s a long way from the famous Bill Grundy inter­view, yet per­haps not so far from his tele­vised con­fronta­tions of the fol­low­ing few decades. But con­sid­er as evi­dence a much ear­li­er Lydon appear­ance on a 1979 TV court show, “Juke Box Jury” (above), where Lydon and a pan­el of celebri­ties pass ver­dicts on the cur­rent pop hits: “It ain’t the Don­na Sum­mers I know. I hate it. It was awful!”

via WFMU

Relat­ed Con­tent:

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

Nev­er Mind the Bol­locks, Here’s … John Lydon in a But­ter Com­mer­cial?

John­ny Rotten’s Cor­dial Let­ter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Next to the Sex Pis­tols, You’re ‘a Piss Stain’

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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