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The wit and wisdom of John Lydon

  • Look who's back! Punk legend John Lydon graces the cover of the new issue, talking about the return of PiL, and generally offending as many people as humanly possible.

    Photo:

    Added: 23 Apr 2012

  • What better time, then, to revisit some of the great man's most memorable rants and outbursts?

    Photo: Ed Miles/NME

    Added: 24 Apr 2012

  • On life: “I enjoy every moment of being alive, and I know it can be taken off me at any second. I want to die with a clean slate, so I don’t do the dirty on anyone, I don’t cheat on anyone, I’ve never stolen from anyone, I don’t hurt people, I don’t believe in violence. I don’t need to. My words are my bullets.” (NME, 2011)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On the music industry: “I don’t feel I’m part of the music industry. I think I’ve always been against that, I always will be. I do things first and foremost for myself, and by being that way, I make it easier for a lot of new and up-and-coming outfits, that’s without a doubt.” (Night Flight, 1984)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On his honesty: “Every single thing I’ve ever done is honest. I don’t know any other way, and I’m certainly not trying to be anybody else. I don’t sound, sing, walk, talk, or look like anything else. I don’t need to. My mum and dad raised me quite improperly, with the basic philosophy of, ‘Be yourself, son’, and I have been. (Sky News, 2010)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On the World Cup: “Hilarious fiasco. A load of big-heads getting out of their prams and making a big load of fuss about nothing. All that egotism. All them superstars, and they’ve all done what? Created nothing but mocked a game.” (Absolute Radio, 2010)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 23 Feb 2011

  • On the Sex Pistols hype: “The Pistols began to be corrupted by believing their own press, and that wasn’t good. It had to stop.” (Night Flight, 1984)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On today's young bands: “Most young bands are a bit lemon – like weak. They all try and act tough but there’s no content. It’s all down to the songs, have the songs meanings for real people or not? Mine do. If yours don’t, fuck you.” (Showbiz 411, 2008)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On why he dislikes rock’n’roll: “These days it’s a disease, it’s a plague. It’s been going on for too long. It’s history. It’s vile. It’s not achieving anything, they play rock’n’roll at airports. That’s about as advanced as it can possibly get. It is too much like a structure, a church, a farce.” (Tomorrow, 1980)

    Photo: Andy Willsher/NME

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On inspiration: “For inspiration, I find the human being and the human species a permanent source of enjoyment. I believe in life. I’m pro-life and I’m pro-choice, both at the same time.” (Red Eye, 2010)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On record companies today: “Do record companies serve any purpose any longer? Not really. They never did. They’d take you out to lunch, they’d pamper you, and then take you out clubbing later, which was all well and fine, but then the bill would be presented to you at the end of the year. So you found yourself in a constant stage of debt." (BBC News, 2010)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On the idea of ‘selling out’: “I doubt if [Iggy/Liam] could do it as well. I watched Iggy, someone said, ‘You can’t get insurance if you’re in the entertainment business!’ So that’s wrong. Everyone can get a bit of butter.” (NME, 2011)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On the future of rock: “I really couldn’t care less what other bands do. It’s of no importance to me. I only care about what I do and what this band does. All the rest of them can go to hell.” (YLE, 1987)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On Lady Gaga: “Lady Gaga is fantastic. Love it. The humour in it, and the more absurd the imagery… Of course it uses sex, but in a really witty, clever way. And the songwriting is bang up there. They’re well-crafted, they’re smart, and they leave plenty of room for wit and wisdom.” (Absolute Radio, 2010)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On his personality: “I'm not evil, I'm not nasty, I'm not spiteful, I'm not jealous. I just like people to get me right. Any act of violence that comes from me is in direct retaliation. I'm Gandhi up to a point.” (SPIN, 2007)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On growing up in London: “That's the way [London] is, a violent town. Gangs in the summer strolling the streets. It's very easy for a gang to pick on one person, smash his head in. Big laugh for them. It's so easy for them to say 'What a wanker, look at him run away, what a turd!'” (Capital Radio, Tommy Vance Show, 1977)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On the internet: “It's full of liars. There doesn't seem to be any way to answer to people lying about you. Mostly it's vicious rumor, gossip and innuendo. I think that's a downscaling of humanity, and we're suffering because of it. It's a terrible thing to see your whole life altered before your very eyes on this stupid, ridiculous, electronic screen.” (WIRED.com, 2007)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On Pistols versus PiL: "I've always said, over the years, that my body and mind is the Sex Pistols, but my heart and soul is PiL. I still believe that…We completely understand each other, on rehearsal and on stage, to an amazing degree. When we perform, it creates some wonderful virtuosity moments.” (The Independent, 2010)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On how people see him: "I don't give a shit what you think. I know what I think and that's what counts." (1977)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On hygiene: “Over the years, I have changed my habits. I’ve progressed to using soap occasionally.” (BBC1’s One Show, 2009)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On drugs: “If you wanna be a raging drug addict, go forth young man, I'm not stopping you, but I'm not paying for it. Right! Get the poncing off the system attitude removed, and then realise what freedom is. Freedom isn't to do what you want at somebody else's expense." (The Guardian, 2002)

    Photo: Emilie Bailey/NME

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On the state of London: “There’s nowhere to go in London. The problem now is a lot worse than when we started. If anything, we made it worse. We’re responsible for destroying London.” (ITV, 1976)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On gothic rock: “I don’t like the stuff because it seems to glorify slow death and mediocrity and all that kind of stuff. We’re all going to die – this is a fact. But the point is, we should enjoy what little time we have on planet Earth. Enjoy your life while you’ve got it.” (MTV’s 120 Minutes, 1987)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011

  • On pop stars preaching about drugs: “Drugs are the tosspots, everybody knows that. People that mess about with them are – good riddance bad rubbish. Let them die slowly and painfully, they deserve it.” (The Word, 1991)

    Photo: PA

    Added: 20 Sep 2011