John Lydon turns 64 on January 31. To pay tribute, we’re republishing Ann Bardach’s interview with the punk legend from the November, 1980 edition of High Times.
Johnny Lydon almost single-handedly defined the “punk ” in punk rock. Not the textbook version coined by Marsh and Bangs in Creem over a decade ago to describe a certain late-’60s recording sound that has once again become fashionable, but the nightmare visions of brain-damaged apocalypse kids bent on demolishing everything and everyone in their path. He was the vile and repulsive Johnny Rotten, lead vocalist of England’s most cursed and celebrated Sex Pistols. Rotten was too good a name for the astounding character he created in this guise, as he built one of the most sensational images in rock history. His antistardom, right down to the green teeth he cherished as a symbol of his foulness, became his calling card as he cursed out every rock band, TV commentator, record-company employee and virtually every…
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