John Lydon:
KROQ, California, 6th November, 1990 (radio)

© 1986 KROQ

Jed the Fish

JF: 106.7, K-rock, KROQ.

JL: "The crock of!"

JF: (laughing) The crock of! Why don't you pull up a mic and stay a while there.

JL: This one here?

JF: Any mic will do.

JL: Hello? Can you hear me now?

JF: Yeah, we can hear you loud and clear and great.

JL: Well, welcome to L.A., Mr. Rotten! Thank you very much!

JF: Well actually, you live here in Beverly Hills isn't it?

JL: No, I stay here from time to time. And nothing to do with Beverly Hills and nothing to do with the Marina, either!

JF: You've got a new record out, and we're really glad to be playing it. Of course, it has a new song. Called, uh...

JL: You're not glad to be playing it! You just have to 'cause someone's twisting your arm! You don't fool me!

JF: No I'm glad to be playing it. Actually, uh, a really neat guy produced it. We were talking about him a few minutes ago.

JL: Tony Berg, yeah. He did the new one on this "Greatest Hits", yeah.

JF: Yeah, "what's it all about - they scream and then they shout".

JL: Don't ask me. I don't know.

JF: Yes. He knows the lyrics to his own record. Are you guys gonna be playing live? Do you have a band?

JL: Yes, of course I do! It's called Public Image Limited! God, you are ill-informed!

JF: (laughing) But you haven't played in about half a year or something like that.

JL: Yeah. So?

JF: So you need to play again. You've got a huge following. You know, you could have sold a lot more tickets than just a couple of shows at the Universal Amphitheater.

JL: Probably. But there's no point in pushing it. I've never been in this for the big dollars. I'm in it because I like it. And I do what I want to do. When I'm good and ready!

JF: No kidding!

JL: And not a second before!

JF: Let's see...what about a whole 'nother record. How come you just went in and recorded one song? Is that all you thought of?

JL: It wasn't my idea to a "greatest hits", it was the record company's. Originally, they only wanted 8 songs it. I put it up to 13, and then we added a new one which was floating around. Just for good measure - to give people value for money.

JF: Did you play that in the shows last summer?

JL: No.

JF: Actually, it was about a year ago wasn't it?

JL: Yeah. So you're going to have to wait till next year to hear that live! And a whole bunch of new stuff which will be recorded in January, February, March - that way. And, I think in England. I couldn't tell you who the producer is at the moment, because me and my record company are squabbling!

JF: You and Virgin?

JL: Yes, folks! I do love to drag my dirty laundry out in public!

JF: You and your good buddy Danny?

JL: Who's Danny? I know no Danny. Except that "Heaps" of thing that used to be the ex-manager. Now he's ex-human.

JF: You're talking about Malcolm aren't you?

JL: Oh no. That's the "rave from the grave"! You'd really have to stir my memory for that old sod!

JF: (laughing) Is there anyone in the music industry you DO like?

JL: Isn't that funny?

JF: Yeah, well, I see you've answered all my questions. Thanks a lot for stopping by here.

JL: Yeah, up yours too, you sod! I'm not going anywhere until you've played a lot more, and I've been even more interesting than I am right now!

JF: (laughing) OK! What are your top 5 idiotic questions to answer, besides this one?

JL: (sigh) Oh, favorite color. That kind of rubbish,

JF: Oh, gosh! I'd love to answer that! I would love to be a pop-star.

JL: Ok, it's "electric blue".

JF: What is the most annoying thing...

JL: You at the moment. Next!

JF: Oh, man that was easy! That was like the total set-up. I expected a little bit more! But anyway...

JL: Well, you got what you wanted!

JF: So many people romance the so called "Punk Era" - what do you call it by the way?

JL: I never gave it a title. I don't understand titles. I don't like categories. It should all just be music. With personalities floating all over the top of it!

JF: The problem is, us geeks in the music business need to compare things to other things.

JL: Well, that's a foolishness, isn't it? You either know what you like, or you don't. If you need to be told what is currently "en vogue" or out of "vogue" well then that's your problem then. And you should check out your brain. Or replace it.

JF: But anyway, everybody sort of romanticized it. What's the biggest misnomer about what was going on in music in the mid-70's? What's the biggest misconception that people have about that, do you think?

JL: I don't know. I don't know what most people are led to believe. Hopefully they really don't care about the past. It's hard enough to deal with the present and the prospect of a future. Really, looking back on things doesn't really resolve very much for human being at all. Not if you're not gonna learn by your mistakes. Most people don't. Do they, George Bush?

JF: Did you learn by mistakes?

JL: Yeah, of course.

JF: Could you point one out?

JL: Dusty Street! (laughing) Sorry, Dusty, had to get your name in there somewhere! Love ya, love ya! Kissy, kissy! Don't think.

JF: (laughing) I love her. I miss her.

JL: What do you miss most about her? The oversized knickers? The "chest capacity"?

JF: Her laugh. She doesn't seem to really care what anybody thinks about her.

JL: She's a "brilcherp" (sic). That's all you need to know.

JF: What was the biggest misconception you had when you were getting into the music business?

JL: That it would be easy. And that it would be good fun. 'Cause it certainly isn't. It's very, very difficult. And to keep any kind of sense of integrity about what you're doing is very, very hard. But not impossible. That's why I don't really know very many people, I suppose, in this business - because they're all - they go for the easy way out. They become corrupt, because it is so easy to be sucked in by that nonsense. To just make the kind of record your label wants you to make. To just go with the flow. Well, I'm not like that am I?

JF: Heavens, no.

JL: I'm the biggest title barrier in the universe!

JF: John Lydon on 106.7 K-rock, KROQ.

JL: Musical universe!

(commercial break)

JL: ... I'll throw a bottle at ya.

JF: Ok. Give me a good stereo one here. Ok? Summon it for me.

JL: Whatcha want?

JF: We got you panned in stereo, with the two microphones.

JL: You ready?

JF: Yeah, ok.

JL: (hacking up spit - in stereo from left to right - then spitting) (laughing)

JF: (laughing) That's pretty hideous! John Lydon of PiL on 106.7 K-rock, KROQ. Thanks for uh...

JL: It would have been if I did it! But it was you.

JF: No! That was you!

JL: It was you! You cannot fool me!

JF: We're sitting here talking about old farts and he's sitting there spitting! I mean, sorry we don't have a spittoon here for you!

JL: Oh no, no, no. I'm sorry, I can give you enough old farts if you want! (Makes fart noises with his mouth)

JF: Old wet ones?

JL: Yes, well, the wet one's can wait. That's for late night viewing.

JF: Ok, so uh...we were talking about venues you'd like to play...

JL: And I warn you - I am combustible! Be careful! Keep a distance! Don't strike a match!

JF: (laughing) You said you liked Universal Amphitheater. Where else do you like?

JL: Oh, I like Universal because the stage is so good. And you can see the whole audience and they can see you. It might be a bit to clean for a lot of people. But then, you know, get wise. That's what we should all have - that sense of cleanliness. But I love Perkin's because of the grottiness, too.

JF: Perkin's Palace?

JL: Yeah. Perkin's is the best place I think I've ever played in this town.

JF: Gary, the same guy who owns the Coachhouse and his people...

JL: Are we talking Tobar here?

JF: No, no, no. I forgot his last name, but he runs the Coachhouse down in San Juan Capistrano. He now owns that. So, there are going to be shows booked at Perkin's.

JL: Well, yippee!

JF: So you can play there!

JL: Well, then I shall definitely be looking into that. You have told me something new - amazingly!

JF: What do you think of this right here? I'm holding up "12 Days on the Road - The Sex Pistols". I'm not even going to say who wrote it.

JL: Don't even bother. It's the worst book ever made. For anybody that even might be mildly interested in the past, if you want to quickly look at this book, just go into a bookstore and look at the photographs and the piss-poor quality. And from there on in, I think you'll know that this is not something you want. And the writing is really childish. The whole thing is - well, looks like it was done by a twelve year old.

JF: The writing on it does!

JL: An autistic twelve year old!

JF: So why did you chose not to participate in this? That's obviously why...

JL: You can see why!

JF: They obviously trashed you.

JL: I was well aware of the journalist that put this together - what he was up to. Well, exactly, as you say. This is why he trashed me in the, uh, is it the what do you call it? The "listography" in the back where it says what we've all done since. Read it out. It really is worth reading! (laughing) It's such a put down!

JF: "Johnny Rotten" - here you read it - "Johnny Rotten was" - you'll get a bigger kick out this than...

JL: Oh God! Well there's an awful lot of it! No, you read it! You're the journalist.

JF: Ok, I'll read the first half and you read the - no. Anyway, uh, let's see..."For Public Image Limited's first American performs at the Ritz '81, the group refused to emerge from behind a screen and caused a riot." Is that true?

JL: No. It isn't.

JF: That isn't true. Ok, let's keep going. "He is married."

JL: Yeah.

JF: That's true. To the mother of Arry-Up, member of The Slits?

JL: Yeah.

JF: Ok.

JL: That is my step-daughter.

JF: "And he has had his teeth fixed." Is that true?

JL: Some of them.

JF: (laughing) "...You don't recognize the importance of the Pistols anymore"?

JL: I'm not working with a full set, here! I'd like the listeners to be aware of that. My choppers are not particularly healthy.

JF: Oh, I see.

JL: And I've just had a wisdom pulled. So you be nice, 'cause I'm in pain!

JF: Was that actually ok? Because I've talk to a lot of people. We had a couple of disc-jockeys here who had their wisdom teeth pulled a couple of days ago.

JL: All right, well here's my recommendation...

JF: They said it wasn't bad at all.

JL: No, it ain't. And don't get knocked out! Don't trust a dentist.

JF: (laughing) Don't get knocked out?!

JL: No. I'm sure they're all perverts. I didn't even take the Novocain. I just said, "go for it." 'Cause it couldn't have been worse than anything English dentists get up to. And they just pulled it and it was fine.

JF: You didn't get knocked out?

JL: Nope. You bleed a lot. And that's a bit awful. And it tastes a bit salty for a couple of days. But, it's perfectly fine.

JF: You remind of that guy in the original "Little Shop of Horrors" that Jack Nicholson played, reading "Pain" magazine. Did you ever see that movie?

JL: Oh! While we're on the subject of pain - if Steve Jones is listening, he's just had a kidney stone removed. (laughing) You must be really suffering!

JF: Yeah, that is funny!

(starts Rules and Regulations)

JF: This is 106.7 K-rock, KROQ. Hope you won't be disappointed.

JL: You might be.

JF: John Lydon in the studio - pushing around a little match and cutting a little terd in half. Thank you.

(Rules and Regulations)

JF: Rules and Regulations on 106.7 K-rock, KROQ fm, Pasadena-Los Angeles. I haven't heard that in a long time - Rules and Regulations, successfully succeeded. In the studio is John Lydon. And I was noticing that the "9" album...

JL: But you may call me Rotten.

JF: Ok, people still call you that? Doesn't that piss you off?

JL: Not at all. It's a name I had to fight a court case to win. 'Cause, uh, who, what's his name...McLaren I think - pretended it was his property.

JF: Oh, I see.

JL: It's my nickname. And it's a name I like. It's one I deserve. I am thoroughly rotten!

JF: Stephen Hague produced the "9" album and...

JL: Bits of it, yeah.

JF: How did you end up with him? You just liked his work on the Pet Shop Boys so much?

JL: No, not at all. In fact, I think at the time he needed serious help! So, I just put that little hand out for him.

JF: Oh, you're so precious!

JL: I know. I'm wonderful!

JF: So, you like the Pet Shop Boys a lot, do you?

JL: No, not at all. Did you see them last night on the "Asshole Show"? Sorry - "Arsenio Show"?

JF: No?

JL: Boo! Hiss! Terrible! What a joke! (laughing)

JF: No, I didn't see them. Tell me about it.

JL: Well, they looked pretty damn insipid as far as I was concerned. Really, really quite rancid.

JF: How was the music?

JL: Quite dull. Quite awful. It's just old disco, isn't it? With some pseudo nonsense wrapped over the top. Really bad, bad vocals. Very uninteresting.

JF: What do you think of MC Hammer?

JL: I loved the original backing tracks. Next.

JF: What do you think of Madonna?

JL: Not a lot. My wife loves her! She thinks she's great. But, I don't see it myself.

JF: Don't see it, don't hear it?

JL: It's too manufactured for my taste. It's too much conveyor belt music, you know. It gives people what they think they want.

JF: What about rap music? Is rap music an oxymoron?

JL: I'm very, very bored with rap now. I've heard far too much of it. And, if anything, it's dissipating it's energy. It used to be a very fine thing quite some time ago.

JF: Like about ten years ago?

JL: Yeah. With things like "The Message" and songs like that which were really very, very important and actually cared about people. The only thing in rap I've ever heard recently is "Colors".

JF: Oh, you like that? What is that Ice-T?

JL: Ice-T. Which I thought really was quite frightening. It was very, very good.

JF: It worked with the movie, too.

JL: It works excellent with the movie. And that's a fine piece of intelligent lyric. That's what I like. I can't bear all this "Yo! Sucker MC" stuff. It's too cliched and that's up for the amateurs really.

JF: Have you ever talked to Ice-T?

JL: No.

JF: He sort of admits - he's one of the few people that admits that rap is a big macho game. And you have to just go around tooting your own horn so much in order to compete in that.

JL: That sounds pretty futile, doesn't it?

JF: Yeah. He says that he really doesn't like competing...

JL: Well, he can admit that because I think he's absolutely beyond that himself. His lyrics are really, really good. I don't think he's really wrote a bum set of lyrics yet. See, him I like.

JF: That's quite a compliment. Ok, you worked with Afrika Bambaataa and Arthur Baker wasn't it - on Time Zone?

JL: No, that was Laswell.

JF: Oh, Bill Laswell?

JL: Yeah. That's how I got in touch with Laswell to "album" album. From the Bambaataa project.

JF: Are you gonna do anything like that again? Because everyone loves Time Zone.

JL: Probably, yeah.

JF: Was that just a one-off deal?

JL: No. Every now and again, I do all kinda of weird things. I recently just did, with Tony Berg, I did a backing vocals for an Edie Brickell song. (laughing)

JF: Right. So that's gonna be on the new album.

JL: Johnny went country! Or a "cunt trying"!

JF: (laughing) Thank you very much for coming to K-rock this afternoon.

JL: Yippee.

JF: We liked having you here.

JL: Play more PiL. Teach these folks!

JF: How would you know. You don't even listen to this station.

JL: Because you've become practically unlistenable. You only play really, in large amounts, The Cure or Depeche Mode. And that's just not very interesting. Or The Bloody Soupdragons - that's your latest scam, isn't it?! All that kind of wimpy English stuff! Sod off, you know?! There's a lot of real men out there who really need the airplay! Lay off all the imitation disco. Either play straight disco, or straight heavy rap or straight rock. And none of these phony boys.

JF: Well, if it's so horrible, how come your music fits in so well?

JL: Because they imitate us so badly that people like you are underwhelmed!

JF: Are underwhelmed. Well, actually I think it fits in pretty well. And I'm gonna play it right now just to prove it to you, as a matter of fact.

JL: Which are you going to play?

JF: We'll play some Cure afterwards.

JL: Oh well, bollocks to you then! Get me out of here before I punch holes in his head!

JF: We're gonna play Don't Ask Me from the album "PiL - The Greatest Hits, So Far".

JL: And don't ask me what this sod's going to play after I leave. (laughing)

(starts Don't Ask Me)

JF: Ok. Can I ask you what these lyrics are about? These ultra-intelligent Ice-T'ish lyrics here?

JL: Oh, you are a cynical fool, aren't you? If you wanna play games, I'll play games with you! It's about subjects that probably a twat like you wouldn't even be aware of. It's called saving the planet so that decadent young chaps like me can die of our own personal misery. Rather than the pollution put on us by bigger personalities. That's all you need to know!

JF: You can't even vote!

JL: Not for you, that's for sure! Sod off! 'Cause I am! Bye bye!

JF: Wait a minute! Wait a minute! What should I play after this?

JL: Gene Loves Jezebel!

JF: You could deal with Gene Loves Jezebel?

JL: Oh yeah. Any day!


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