John Lydon

“Stand up and be counted”

Words: Ann Donahue
Photo (left): Paul Heartfield

The punk icon John Lydon tells us how he’s still fighting the “shitstem.”

Calling John Lydon by his birth name still seems too prim and proper, especially as the 59-year-old ex-Sex Pistol—now touring the U.S. with his band PiL to promote their 10th studio album—continues to rage against the machine.

THE RED BULLETIN: The new album, What the World Needs Now…, was released on your own label. Is that thrilling?

JOHN LYDON: It’s taken decades, but I’m officially unrelated to the “shitstem.” Isn’t that the most wonderful phrase? I’m not alone … we’re all working to eliminate the shitstem.

How can others battle the shitstem?

Stand up. Be counted. But don’t attach yourself to a lie or a trendy belief. Research everything. And then, when you’re ready to commit, go ahead, laddie, because I’ll be there backing you.

The song “Double Trouble” from their new album What the World Needs Now…

© PiL Official | Public Image Ltd // YouTube

As punk’s elder statesman, do you have any life advice?

We’re lucky to have a life. I love being alive. My peers are all dying around me—I suppose they’ve never got to grips with the life they’ve got. If I can make music for 100 years, that’s success. OK, I’ll settle for 70 years. Don’t want to be greedy.

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12 2015 The Red Bulletin

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