Anarchy in the British court? Singer Johnny Rotten pursued by ex-Sex Pistols

Anarchy in the British court? Singer Johnny Rotten pursued by ex-Sex Pistols

LONDON – Two former members of the Sex Pistols are suing singer Johnny Rotten for the right to use the band’s songs in an upcoming TV series about lawless punk icons.

Guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook want the songs to appear in “Pistol,” a television series based on Jones’ memoir. Rotten, real name John Lydon, has called the series “disrespectful” and refuses to grant permission to use the songs.

Jones and Cook’s attorney Edmund Cullen told a London High Court judge on Thursday that the former members of the group had a “fragile and conflicted” relationship.

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He said that under the terms of a band agreement reached in 1998, decisions about license applications could be determined on a “majority rule basis.” Lydon, however, maintains that licenses to use music cannot be granted without his consent.

Cullen said the band’s original bassist Glen Matlock and the succession of Matlock replacement Sid Vicious supported Cook and Jones’ position. Vicious died in 1979, at the age of 21.

Lydon’s attorney, Mark Cunningham, said in written submissions that Jones’ memoir portrayed the band’s singer “in a hostile and unflattering light”, describing him at one point as “the boring little kid with the big one. bone structure that always asks for more “.

Sid Vicious, Paul Cook, Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones playing the role of the Sex Pistols.Redferns / via Getty Images

The case is expected to continue next week.

Formed in London in 1975, the Sex Pistols energized and scandalized the British music scene with songs including “God Save the Queen” and “Anarchy in the UK”. They split in 1978 after an album was released, but the surviving members have reformed for several concerts since.

“Pistol” is due to air next year and is directed by Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning director of “Trainspotting” and “Slumdog Millionaire”.