God bless John Lydon. Punk rock's original Mouth That Roared has never been shy about voicing his opinion, and this week the erstwhile Sex Pistol did his best to dominate what was supposed to be a panel discussion launching a new docuseries, simply titled Punk.
The event, moderated by Rolling Stone journalist Kory Grow, took place in Hollywood on March 4 and included series producer John Varvatos and musicians Henry Rollins, Duff McKagan, Marky Ramone, and Donita Sparks.
True to form, Lydon took shots at just about everyone, telling Rollins that he had found Black Flag's music "boring" and pretending to mistake L7 singer-guitarist Sparks for Iggy Pop.
He really got into it with Ramone, though, at one point calling the drummer a "Johnny-come-lately" and dismissing his opinion as irrelevant owing to the fact that he wasn't one of the four original Ramones. This was probably just Lydon being disingenuous. He surely knew full well that, before his stint with the Ramones, Ramone (who went by his birth name of Marc Bell at the time) was the drummer for Richard Hell's band the Voidoids. Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren is said to have styled the band after Hell's signature look, complete with spiked hair and clothing held together with safety pins.
Ramone attempted to point out as much, but it must have been rather challenging with Lydon bellowing "I'M NOT LISTENING ANYMORE" in the background. And when Ramone suggested that the Sex Pistols' true star was the late Sid Vicious—the musically challenged bassist died of a heroin overdose in 1979—Lydon really went to town.
"He was the star for arsehole fake idiots like you," he said. "Enjoy your drugs."
The other panelists did have rare moments in which they were allowed to speak. Of particular interest to local readers were Duff McKagan's memories of the early Pacific Northwest punk-rock scene. The Guns 'N Roses bassist played in a number of Seattle punk bands in his teen years, including a stint as the drummer of the Fastbacks. He singled out a certain legendary Vancouver act for praise.
"This West Coast thing started to develop," McKagan said. "Like in my hometown of Seattle, there was the Mentors and the Lewd, and D.O.A. were this band that started to tour, and they would come down.... There were only like 50 of us, but they became, like, our KISS. They were everything. They had this list of clubs to go tour, and they'd pass this list on."
The Punk docuseries airs on the U.S.-based EPIX network starting March 11. That means that, sadly, it won't be available in Canada—at least until someone bootlegs it and uploads it to one of those illegal streaming sites, which should also happen on March 11. But you didn't hear that from us.