John Lydon reacts to court defeat over Sex Pistols group deal
Artist News News Companies Legal Media
By Chris Cooke | Posted on Wednesday, September 1, 2021
John Lydon responded to last week’s court ruling that ruled he could not block the use of Sex Pistols music in ‘Pistol,’ a new drama series based on the memoir of his former companion from Steve Jones group. “Disappointed” by the move, Lydon says he fears the impact it might have on the band’s legacy, while adding that he is “powerless” to stop any distortion of truth in “Pistol”.
The grand court breakup between Lydon and his former bandmates centered on whether or not a member of the Sex Pistols could veto a timing deal. If so, Lydon could prevent the band’s music from being used in “Pistol,” which would – presumably – have a fairly negative impact on a program devoted to the Sex Pistols.
Jones, supported by colleague Paul Cook, said an old group deal meant timing deals could be made if the majority of group members agreed. Lydon argued that the tape had always operated on the assumption that unanimous consent was required for such transactions. However, the high court confirmed that the old band agreement was still in effect, depriving Lydon of any veto power.
In the new statement on his website, Lydon gives his side of the story, going through the events leading up to the legal battle and then repeating the arguments he and his team made in court.
“In January of this year,” the statement read, “days before an announcement in the global press, John Lydon was made aware of the proposed use of the Sex Pistols recordings in a six-part television series based on a book written. by Steve Jones. The project had been in the making for years. Despite this, John Lydon was only warned a few hours in advance of what was to be announced ”.
This meant, the statement continued, that his band’s music would be used “to give credibility” to “Pistol,” a series produced by Danny Boyle for US-owned Disney television station FX. “Understandably,” he adds, “John, as the creative force behind the Sex Pistols, wanted to know how he was going to be portrayed… despite the request for script or script details, John still does not know those details” .
Turning to the legal battle, the statement continues: “John Lydon did not request the recent proceedings. He was asked to authorize the use of the works of the Sex Pistols without any consultation or prior involvement in the project. He took a stand on principle for what he considers the integrity of the Sex Pistols legacy and fought for what he believed and continues to believe to be right ”.
“For over 23 years, the Sex Pistols have operated on the basis of unanimous decision-making,” he adds. “The Disney production is the first time that the unanimous approach has been ignored. It is disappointing that a High Court judge has ruled that John Lydon is bound by an undated agreement signed in 1998, which imposes majority rule on the Sex Pistols in place of the unanimous decision process that has been followed for 23 years “.
On the potentially larger impact of the decision, the statement concludes: “Looking ahead, there is great uncertainty as to what the majority rule approach might do to dilute and distort the real story and legacy of the Sex Pistols. Time will tell us. Whatever Disney does, it does it without John’s involvement or creative approval. John is powerless to prevent any distortion of the true story of the Sex Pistols and whatever the outcome will be solely at the will of the majority ”.
Lydon himself says, “I’m the lead singer and songwriter, the leader, the picture, everything, you name it. I put it there. Why is this irrelevant? It is mind boggling to me. It’s so destructive for what the band is and so I’m afraid the whole project is extremely negative ”.
“How can anyone think that this can happen without consulting me, and manage my personal life and my problems about it, without any meaningful contact with me before the project is announced to the world?” He continues. “I don’t think there are even words I can suggest to explain how dishonest this is. Like I said in the lyrics to ‘The Order Of Death’, ‘This is what you want, this is what you get’ ”.
If anyone has any more questions for Lydon on this, his statement also says he’s about to embark on a question-and-answer tour of UK theaters, and you can ask them there- low.