The classic band John Lydon called “silly, rich, fat kids”

John lydon

It’s rare for John Lydon to post something that seems to be criticising someone for longer than a week. Johnny Rotten, the frontman of the infamous Sex Pistols, is not one to hold back when speaking his mind.

Lydon never holds back when voicing his opinions, and his one-liner takedowns of other artists are particularly harsh. Whatever your feelings towards him, Johnny Rotten brings a certain level of drama to the music business. He’s always there to provide a hilariously harsh critique or another unforgettable moment.

He seemed like he was meant for this. Following his time spent hanging out with the crowd outside Malcolm McLaren’s shop, s*x, and Vivienne Westwood, Lydon was discovered by McLaren when he noticed Lydon’s handmade “I hate Pink Floyd” T-shirt. It featured the members with their eyes removed. By now, McLaren was grooming Steve Jones, Paul Cook, and Glen Matlock to be the UK’s version of the New York Dolls. And the Sex Pistols were already in the works. With his innate rebelliousness, John Lydon seemed to be the final piece in the puzzle.

Since day one, Lydon has exhibited keen judgement. Because he thought Glen Matlock was too white-collar, he got him fired from the band. In his autobiography, he claimed that he was “always going on about nice things like The Beatles“. Following the band’s dissolution in 1978, Lydon focused on Public Image Ltd., his own band, while also casting a critical eye on the rest of the music industry.

As a band, getting mocked by John Lydon is almost a ritual. Given that the Sex Pistols essentially invented the UK punk scene in its early years in the 1970s, many would contend that he has earned the right to do so. There’s no doubting that the genre as we know it today, not to mention the pop, punk and post-punk subgenres, would not exist without Lydon and his antics. Lydon has, however, consistently singled out one band for criticism. Green Day, calling them nothing more than “silly, rich fat kids.”

The conflict started back in 1996. During the Sex Pistols’ Filthy Lucre Tour, Green Day achieved breakthrough success in their own right. Lydon attacked Green Day head-on, saying that all they did was take advantage of them. When MTV asked him what his group could offer 16-year-old Alfie, a new punk fan, that Green Day couldn’t, Lydon replied with a straightforward “A big willie.”

Lydon continued in criticising Green Day, stating that their fan base had only witnessed “imitators”. He went on, “And you settled for that, and you think that’s what it’s all about, Alfie? That’s not the case, though”. It is somewhat more. One thing that none of those swanky third-rate outfits have is content.

To further stoke the fire, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day made an effort to strike back by claiming ownership of the entire comeback tour. He stated in an interview with SPIN that “it’s funny because the Sex Pistols would not have done their major reunion tour if it weren’t for Green Day. But Green Day might not have existed if it wasn’t for the Sex Pistols. Everybody to their own”.

But if John Lydon is one thing, it’s that he never lets anything go. During Green Day’s American Idiot era, he returned for a second go, capitalizing on the band’s heightened popularity. “It’s hokey little silly sods like Green Day that come in and think by sucking up to that system that you’re somehow, ‘beating the system’ “. Lydon stated this during an appearance on bandmate Steve Jones’ radio show. You are not. You now belong there.

In classic John Lydon fashion, he ended the interview by saying, “We made it easy for them to come in and nick our things off us. Which is alright. It’s nice, but they’re silly, rich fat kids”.

John lydon on Green Day:


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