John Lydon looks back on the demise of Sid Vicious

"I missed how I could have helped him"

John Lydon has looked back on how the demise of late Sex Pistols bandmate Sid Vicious, and how he inspired Public Image Ltd‘s track ‘Low Life’.

Lydon was speaking in the latest issue of Uncut, to mark the upcoming 40th anniversary of Public Image’s debut album ‘First Issue’ and the breakthrough of post-punk in 1978.

Speaking about the song ‘Low Life’, Lydon opened up about how the track was inspired by Sid Vicious – who was on bail for the murder of girlfriend Nancy Spungen at the time he wrote it.


Sex Pistols at the band’s last 1978 public appearance at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, California

“I missed Sid,” said Lydon. “I missed how I could have helped him, steered him away, but he sought it out. We dragged him into the band but he wasn’t prepared for the onslaught.

“Heroin was a natural safety blanket; it takes away those feelings of doubt. For me, self-doubt is one of my biggest motivators. It’s where I thrive. I can’t deal with compliments but I can handle an insult. It armours my artillery.”

Meanwhile, Public Image Ltd recently announced details of a 40th anniversary tour, as well as a documentary and box set.

Public Image Ltd tour dates and tickets


The band’s upcoming tour dates are below. Visit here for tickets and more information.

Wed 30th May  Bristol, England                                  O2 Academy
Fri 1st June             Bournemouth, England                        O2 Academy
 Sat 2nd June        London, England                                 Camden Rocks Festival
Mon 4th June          Coventry, England                           The Copper Rooms
Wed 6th June    Norwich, England                                   The Waterfront
Tue 12th June        Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England        O2 Academy
Wed 13th June        Glasgow, Scotland                           O2 ABC
 Fri 15th June         Sheffield, England                                 O2 Academy
Sat 16th June          Manchester, England                           O2 Ritz
Mon 18th June       Hull, England                                    ASYLUM, Hull University
Thu 21st June       Cardiff, Wales                                          The Tramshed
Sat 23rd June        Exeter, England                                    Lemon Grove
 Sun 24th June       Wrexham, England                              William Aston Hall
Tue 26th June         Reading, England                                 Sub 89
Wed 27th June      Frome, Somerset, England                Cheese & Grain
Fri 29th June         Nottingham, England                           Rock City
Sat 30th June         Southampton, England                       Engine Rooms
Sun 5th Aug         Blackpool, England                            Rebellion Festival
Sun 19th Aug        Hardwick, England                                 Hardwick Live Festival
Sat 25th Aug         Bangor, Northern Ireland                 Bangor Marina
Tue 28th Aug Inverness, Scotland                           The Ironworks
Wed 29th Aug        Aberdeen, Scotland                              The Assembly
Fri 31st Aug          Dundee, Scotland                                The Church