John Lydon, who won infamy decades ago singing the Sex Pistols’ anti-monarchy smash hit “God Save The Queen” as Johnny Rotten, is now shaming his former bandmates for disrespecting the deceased monarch in some way he has yet to make clear.
As Deadline reports, the Venice resident’s former bandmates are mystified as to why Lydon followed his Instagram tribute to the recently deceased Queen Elizabeth II by tweeting that he “wishes to distance himself from any Sex Pistols activity which aims to cash in on Queen Elizabeth II’s death. The musicians in the band and their management have approved a number of requests against John’s wishes on the basis of the majority court-ruling agreement.”
John Lydon wishes to distance himself from any Sex Pistols activity which aims to cash in on Queen Elizabeth II's death. The musicians in the band and their management have approved a number of requests against John's wishes on the basis of the majority court-ruling agreement. pic.twitter.com/LfD4wrOzjw
— John Lydon Official (@lydonofficial) September 15, 2022
The statement ends on a note of disapproval about an apparent lack of decorum: “The timing for endorsing any Sex Pistols requests for commercial gain in connection with ‘God Save The Queen’ in particular is tasteless and disrespectful to the Queen and her family at this moment in time.”
To which the remaining Sex Pistols said, Wha?
“We cannot understand what he would be referring to,” drummer Paul Cook and guitarist Steve Jones told Deadline through a spokesperson. “Other than a couple requests for use of imagery or audio in news reports on The Queen and her impact on culture, there’s nothing new relating to ‘God Save The Queen’ being promoted or released in any way.”
Potential theories include that Lydon was speaking preemptively about a potential act of disrespect or that, having awakened from a months-long nap, he was referring back to May, when a new, archival-footage-rich video of “God Save the Queen” dropped on the band’s official Youtube channel, just before Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, commemorating 70 years of reign by a queen whose Silver Jubilee the Sex Pistols had disrupted in 1977, performing the BBC-banned hit from a rented boat on the Thames.
That video was released in advance of Danny Boyle’s Hulu TV series “Pistols,” whose use of the band’s music Lydon called “the most disrespectful shit I’ve ever had to endure,” and launched a failed legal battle to stop it. But his latest round of scolding is, per his former bandmates, “baffling,” since, they say “there’s really nothing planned to release or promote at all at this time.”
Guitarist Steve Jones did recently post a piece of vintage Sex Pistols artwork—QE2 with safety pin through face—with the lyric caption “God Save the Queen/She Ain’t No Human Being.” And founding Pistol bassist Glen Matlock quipped “God save the king, hope he’s not a silly old thing.” While Lydon, in the decades since the Pistols’ sensational assault on the pop charts, has often expressed fondness for Queen Elizabeth II, who, as an aging British citizen, he sees separately from the monarchy she represents.
In May, Lydon told Piers Morgan that Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen” is “anti-royalist, but it’s not anti-human. I’ve got to tell the world this: Everyone presumes that I’m against the royal family as human beings, I’m not.”
He does, however, hold out little hope for a triumphant reign by King Charles III. “I think it’s possibly the end of the monarchy because Prince Charles is not going to be able to handle it,” he told Morgan. “This is the man who plays Pink Floyd to his cabbages.”
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