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John Lydon is a “total dick”, former bandmate confirms in court

By | Published on Monday 19 July 2021

John Lydon

Former Sex Pistol Steve Jones confirmed on Friday that he, Paul Cook and their manager previously considered enforcing a 1988 band agreement when John Lydon blocked the use of their track ‘God Save The Queen’ on the Netflix series ‘The Crown’. But on that occasion there simply wasn’t time. Now, though, he hopes the court will help with that enforcement.

Jones and his former bandmates Cook and Lydon are currently in the High Court in a dispute over another sync deal. Lydon is blocking the use of his former band’s music in a new Danny Boyle directed series called ‘Pistol’, which is based Jones’s memoir ‘Lonely Boy: Tales Of A Sex Pistol’.

However, Jones and Cook argue that according to their 1988 band agreement a sync licence can be issued if a majority of the band are on board. And Lydon is the only hold-out on licensing music to ‘Pistol’. For his part, Lydon has likened the 1988 agreement to “slave labour” and insists he has a veto.

Jones gave testimony to the court on Friday from his home in California. It had previously been revealed that Lydon also scuppered a 2018 sync deal that would have seen ‘God Save The Queen’ appear in an episode of ‘The Crown’.

According to Evening Standard, Jones said: “I was a big fan of the show and excited that our music was going to feature in it, so I was very upset when I found out that John’s manager had blocked it”.

Lydon, it seems, objected to “historical inaccuracies” in the episode of ‘The Crown’ where the band’s song would have featured, which was set amidst the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977 when the then controversial Sex Pistols track was released.

Jones said that while he, Cook and their manager considered forcing through the sync deal with the producers of ‘The Crown’ by relying on the 1988 agreement, by the time those discussions were underway the opportunity to do that deal had passed.

Elsewhere during Friday’s testimony, Lydon’s legal rep Mark Cunningham discussed the tensions that exist between Lydon and his former bandmates, including Jones. Citing extracts from ‘Lonely Boy’, the barrister noted how Jones had called his client an “annoying little brat with the great bone structure who’s always asking for more” and a “total dick”.

Asked if he disliked “the annoying little brat”, Jones said “I guess so, yes”. Asked if he considered Lydon to be “a total dick”, Jones added, simply, “yes”. However, Jones observed, “I think there’s a lot of bands who resent each other”.

Confirming he’d not spoken to Lydon since 2008, Jones told the court: “I just want him to get on board with [‘Pistol’] and have some faith. This is not about slagging anyone off in this TV series at all. If there was a TV show that Danny Boyle wanted [Lydon] to do, none of us would have a problem”.

The case continues.