Sunday, November 13, 2011

Holidays in the (California) sun, with John Lydon

John Lydon (L.A. Times photo by Myung Chun)

The L.A. Times interviews the one-time leader of the Sex Pistols and finds him ... melting in the California sun, apparently. "Well, somebody has to replace the hippies," the former Mr. Rotten snarls. That's one way of saying the January weather has to be better in L.A. than London.

And how does Lydon spend his days? "I don't get out much, so I'm thinking, 'What can I go buy? ... Usually it's plumbing equipment that's on my mind. There's always something to repair." Sounds like it's no holiday in the sun, for sure.

The great rock-and-roll swindler himself is turning 55, and has a new book -- at $750 a pop, the price of Mr. Rotten's Scrapbook includes a Lydon original doodle -- of art and musings. "It's mistakes, warts and all, but free-form, as I truly remember a thing," he says. "I tell it as it is."

Which must take a lot of unexpected musing: since 2006, Randall Roberts in the L.A. Times article reports, Lydon was a regular on the British reality show I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! followed by three one-off wildlife documentaries for the Discovery channel: John Lydon's Megabugs (about insects), John Lydon Goes Ape and John Lydon's Shark Attack, in which the original UK punk swam with great whites off the coast of South Africa.

There's more, of course, here. Pistols fans and the morbidly curious are duly warned. The late Malcolm McLaren is daily looking more like a Renaissance man by comparison.

(Johnny & Sid with Cheryl Doreen the Rodeo Queen, Atlanta 1978)

From a report of the Pistols first U.S. show, at The Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, January 5, 1978:

The Pistols spend a quiet day-and-a-half prior to their debut, granting a few interviews (most notably to Time and Newsweek) while hordes of British journalists scurry around the hotel lobby starting, spreading and squelching various rumors ... Channel 2 in Atlanta (WSB) reports the group as 1) having green hair, 2) vomiting and committing sexual acts on one another as part of their show, and 3) heading for Houston after the Atlanta date ...
Alex Cooley's Great Southeast Music Hall is packed to the gills minutes after the doors open at 7:00 p.m..Among those in attendance are 5 television crews, approximately 50 members of the press (including such notables as John Rockwell, Bob Christgau, Wayne Robins, Kit Rachlis, Tony Schwartz and Roger Wolmuth), several police officers and vice squads from both Atlanta and Memphis.
... A local band called Cruisomatic opens, primarily doing cover versions of early rock and punk standards (to our ears, they are louder than the Pistols will be later, which is not very loud, contrary to what the Atlanta papers said the next day)..The rain is coming down pretty hard by the time the Pistols go on at about 10:15 p.m.; Rotten asks, "Where's My Beer?"
... "You can all stop staring at us now," Rotten says after opening with "God Save the Queen," "We're ugly and we know it... See what kind of fine upstanding youth England is chucking out these days?"..About 60% of the audience is standing and doing an Americanized version of the Pogo throughout, 20% of the audience is nasty, yelling yelling and throwing things at the band, and 20% of the crowd clearly does not know what on earth is going on.

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