This one-time ‘enfant terrible’ of punk refuses to go quietly
Public Image Ltd comes to Vancouver
November 16, 2015
This article was originally published in the November 2015 issue of Vancouver magazine.
Surely no one expected John Lydon to age gracefully. The Public Image Ltd (PiL) front man has steadfastly resisted conforming to expectations, even when the determination to do whatever he feels like has taken him close to self-parody. (Notoriously, in 2009 he bought his way out of all his music contracts with money made from appearing on TV reality shows and ads for a popular British butter.) But if most pop music is the definition of smoke and mirrors, Lydon remains—warts and all—painfully honest. Talking to LA Weekly about PiL’s latest album, What the World Needs Now, Lydon said, “With this album, we couldn’t give a tuppence-fuck for anybody’s expectations … And we had the greatest fun time doing it, which is an absolute achievement.”
In his prior incarnation as Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten, Lydon was described by rock historian Greil Marcus as “perhaps the only truly terrifying singer rock ’n’ roll has ever known.” And it’s that mix of fury and braggadocio—the itch you can’t quite scratch—that keeps Lydon firmly in the game.
Public Image Ltd, Nov. 22
Vogue Theatre, 918 Granville Street, 604-688-1975