Sex Pistols’ John Lydon Brands Green Day ‘Punk Imitators’

By Live4ever - Posted on 01 Feb 2011 at 6:54am

Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon has attacked current bands who carry the ‘punk’ label, saying they have done little to earn the tag his own band once championed.

Speaking to the LA Times, Lydon singled out Green Day as an example of today’s ‘punk’ bands, insisting they bare little resemblance to the true spirit of punk which burned for a short time at the end of the Seventies.

“Many of the punk bands are cop-outs and imitators and have made it easy for the likes of Green Peace – Green Day, who I hate. I really, I can’t stand them,” he said.

Later, Lydon also suggested ‘punk’ is something which should represent more than a genre of music, referencing the trouble with authorities and large sections of the British public the Sex Pistols encountered in their own hey-day.

“To me, they’re like coat hangers, and haven’t earned the right, they haven’t earned the wings, to be wearing the mantle of punk,” he claimed. “They haven’t had to go through the violence, and the hate, and the animosity that us chaps way back when had to put up with. “We had to fight for every single footstep.”

John Lydon’s innovative biography ‘Mr. Rotten’s Scrapbook‘ is up for the Best Book prize at the forthcoming NME Awards.

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  1. Laura

    This from a man who makes a living advertising butter…did I miss the memo that said that working for the dairy business is the epitome of punk? 

    • Ingrid

      Agree! And: “They haven’t had to go through the violence, and the hate, and the animosity that us chaps way back when had to put up with. “We had to fight for every single footstep.” And Green Day didn’t? Sorry, but he really don’t know what he’s talking about…

      • Janie

        YOU have decided that Punk means not advertising butter. John Lydon is trying to say that Punk was about being an individual, doing what people least expected, and you can’t say you ever expected he’d do the Country Life butter advert. What have bands like Green Day achieved in the long run? They have created nothing new apart from a sub-genre bastardisation of ‘Punk’ they can use to sell records – NOT intelligent ideas. The controversy God Save the Queen caused in comparison to American Idiot is incomparable. Green Day are a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things. *Gets off soapbox*.

  2. Rusty Trombone

    Oh for fuck’s sake, give it a rest you twat Lydon!!! I guess you “earn your punk wings” by having only one album then becoming a washed-up has-been. Green Day toured in a converted book mobile for like 2yrs, living off what they could make off of selling t-shirts they printed themselves. They ate what they could scrounge from gigs and stole beer and what ever else they could get their hands on to survive. They played tiny gigs sometimes in abandoned houses w/ leaky roofs and no electricity. They did it just for the opportunity to play for a few kids. Lydon doesn’t know shit about Green Day or where they’ve come from. He doesn’t know shit about where their going either because he’s never had what they have and never will, and that my friends is why he makes butter commercials while Green Day makes their fans cream.

  3. I agree TOTALLY. Once you’ve been through HELL you’ve earned the right to do ANYTHING you please…and that includes selling butter for beer money. You’ve got an innate sense of justice and wisdom that keep’s you from screwing up anyway.

  4. Alex

    who gives a shit we’re all sell outs, punk or otherwise. The minute you make an album you have been commercialized the very thing punk is against. So as far as I’m concerned the Pistols and Green Day both sold out! And every other band that made an album! 

  5. Bob

    Please. Sex pistols were put together by a sleaze manager to make money acting out of control and making fools of themselves. They are a sideshow not a band. They didn’t even do anything everything was decided for them behind the scenes by sleazeballs. At least green day were once an underground band who toured and put out records themselves or a very small label. At least they came up like a real band and weren’t dressed up and thrown into the spotlight over night. Whatever bad or good music green day ever makes they have my respect fof working for what they have and paying dues. This wash up does not. And by the way sex pist(ls will never be the godfathers of punk or even a blip on the 77 radar. Why? Because the ramones exist. The clash, the jam, stiff little fingers, stooges, dead boys. Get in the back of the line johnny boy. It is a long one.

  6. Grant

    I think Mr. Lydon’s fame has turned him into a bit of a music snob. Think he’s even bothered listening to Dookie? Insomniac? Any of their 90s stuff? Truth is, not many people fully get Green Day. There’s a reason they change their style so much: they don’t give a shit. They write what they want, sing what they want, and couldn’t care less about what judgmental snobs think. Isn’t that what punk is really about? Not giving a fuck and rocking your heart out whatever way pleases you? He seems to forget this.


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