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John Lydon arrives at High Court amid battle with fellow Sex Pistols

Johnny Rotten headed to court today (Picture: PA)

John Lydon has arrived at the High Court ahead of the latest hearing amid the battle over the Sex Pistols’ music.

The former frontman is in a bitter dispute with his former bandmates over the use of the punk band’s songs in upcoming Danny Boyle television series Pistol.

Today the trial will hear live evidence from Steve Jones’ manager Anita Camarata in person at the Rolls Building in London on Monday, with Lydon – AKA Jonny Rotten – seen heading into the hearing earlier this morning.

The God Save The Queen rocker was seen wearing a white button-up shirt and a blazer, while also donning a blue surgical mask he later pulled up onto his face.

Jones and the band’s former drummer Paul Cook are suing the Sex Pistols’ former lead singer to allow their songs to be used in Pistol, which is due to air next year.

The six-part series, which is being made by Disney, is based on a 2016 memoir by Jones called Lonely Boy: Tales From A Sex Pistol and stars Game Of Thrones’ Maisie Williams.

John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, arriving at the Rolls Building at the Hight Court, London.

He donned a face mask as he made his way to the High Court (Picture: PA)

Jones and Cook argue that, under the terms of a band agreement made in 1998, decisions regarding licensing requests could be determined on a ‘majority rules basis’.

But Lydon, who has previously told The Sunday Times he thinks the series is the ‘most disrespectful s*** I’ve ever had to endure’, argues the licences cannot be granted without his consent.

Giving evidence from California on Friday afternoon, Jones was read extracts of his book in which he described Lydon as ‘the annoying little brat with the great bone structure who’s always asking for more’.

Mark Cunningham QC, representing Lydon, put it to Jones that the passage was ‘evidence of your resenting the prominence of Mr Lydon’.

Jones replied: ‘I think there’s a lot of bands who resent each other.’

Cunningham asked: ‘Do you dislike Mr Rotten (Lydon), the annoying little brat?’ to which Jones said: ‘I guess so, yes.’

 Sex Pistols, from left to right; Steve Jones John Lydon, Glen Matlock and Paul Cook.

Steve Jones, John Lydon, Glen Matlock and Paul Cook in 2002 (Picture: PA)

Cunningham then referred to another passage of Jones’ book in which he described Lydon as a ‘total d**k’, before saying that ‘every now and then he does something you have to commend him for’.

The barrister then asked Jones: ‘Your view of him is that he is a total d**k, correct?’ to which he replied: ‘Yes.’

The Sex Pistols were formed in 1975 and disbanded in 1978, but have performed live shows together a number of times since then, most recently in 2008.

Jones said in the course of his evidence on Friday that he had not spoken to Lydon since 2008, as he also told the court: ‘I just want him to get on board with this (the TV show) and have some faith.

‘This is not about slagging anyone off in this TV series at all.’

Jones also accepted that he was one of the executive producers of Pistol, but added: ‘I ain’t doing a lot.’

The band’s former guitarist also told the court: ‘If the shoe was on the other foot, we wouldn’t be in this position right now.

‘If there was a TV show that Danny Boyle wanted (Mr Lydon) to do, none of us would have a problem.’

He added: ‘Mr Lydon is not interested in this TV show, he wants to stop it.’

In his witness statement, Jones said Lydon’s manager ‘blocked’ a 2018 request from the makers of the Netflix TV show The Crown to use the Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen in an episode of the series.

Jones said: ‘I was a big fan of the show and excited that our music was going to feature in it, so I was very upset when I found out that John’s manager had blocked it.’

Lydon is said to have objected to the request to use the song over ‘historical inaccuracies in the episode in question’, which dealt with the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

Jones also said he, Cook and his manager discussed using the band’s ‘majority rules’ agreement to ‘force through’ the song being used in The Crown, but by then ‘the opportunity had gone’.

Cunningham suggested to Jones that, after that incident, ‘it was obvious to you that you had to get John (Lydon) sorted out in relation to Pistol – didn’t you see that?’

Jones replied: ‘No’ before Cunningham also suggested that the existence of TV show was ‘concealed’ from Lydon, which Jones denied.

Edmund Cullen QC, representing Jones and Cook, has previously told the court that his client’s claim is against Lydon alone.

He said in written submissions that original band member Glen Matlock, who was replaced by Sid Vicious in 1977, and the representatives of the estate of Sid Vicious, who died in February 1979, support their position.


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