Johnny Rotten ‘total d**k’, Sex Pistols’ former guitarist says

Steve Jones and the band’s former drummer Paul Cook are suing the Sex Pistols’ former lead singer.

Johnny Rotten ‘total d**k’, Sex Pistols’ former guitarist says Getty Images

Former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones has told the High Court he thinks Johnny Rotten is “a total d**k” in a bitter dispute over the use of the punk band’s songs in an upcoming television series.

Jones and the band’s former drummer Paul Cook are suing the Sex Pistols’ former lead singer, real name John Lydon, to allow their songs to be used in Pistol, which is directed by Danny Boyle and is due to air next year.

The six-part series, which is being made by Disney, is based on a 2016 memoir by Jones called Lonely Boy: Tales From A Sex Pistol.

Jones and Cook argue that, under the terms of a band agreement made in 1998, decisions regarding licensing requests could be determined on a “majority rules basis”.

But Lydon, who has previously told The Sunday Times he thinks the series is the “most disrespectful s**t I’ve ever had to endure”, argues the licences cannot be granted without his consent.

Giving evidence from California on Friday afternoon, Jones was read extracts of his book in which he described Lydon as “the annoying little brat with the great bone structure who’s always asking for more”.

Mark Cunningham QC, representing Lydon, put it to Jones that the passage was “evidence of your resenting the prominence of Mr Lydon”.

Jones replied: “I think there’s a lot of bands who resent each other.”

Cunningham asked: “Do you dislike Mr Rotten (Lydon), the annoying little brat?”

Jones said: “I guess so, yes.”

Cunningham then referred to another passage of Jones’ book in which he described Lydon as a “total d**k”, before saying that “every now and then he does something you have to commend him for”.

The barrister asked Mr Jones: “Your view of him is that he is a total d**k, correct?”

He replied: “Yes.”

The Sex Pistols were formed in 1975 and disbanded in 1978, but have performed live shows together a number of times since then, most recently in 2008.

Jones said in the course of his evidence on Friday that he had not spoken to Lydon since 2008.

He also told the court: “I just want him to get on board with this [the TV show] and have some faith.

“This is not about slagging anyone off in this TV series at all.”

Jones also accepted that he was one of the executive producers of Pistol, but added: “I ain’t doing a lot.”

Edmund Cullen QC, representing Jones and Cook, has previously told the court that his client’s claim is against Lydon alone.

He said in written submissions that original band member Glen Matlock, who was replaced by Sid Vicious in 1977, and the representatives of the estate of Sid Vicious, who died in February 1979, support their position.

The trial, which is being heard remotely by Sir Anthony Mann, is due to continue next week.