Johnny on the go Interview: Sex Pistols front man doesn't want to fade out like the Eagles.

August 06, 1996|By J. D. Considine

How does Johnny Rotten feel about the Sex Pistols reunion tour? We caught up with him by phone recently, and here's what he had to say:

How is it on the road?

It's a form of madness, touring.

Is it enjoyable madness?

The actual gigs are, but the rest of it is a nightmare. I like being onstage, but I can't stand the waiting beforehand, because I get extremely nervous.


Well, I always want to do the best I can, and I don't like feeling that I could be letting people down. Because I do believe in giving value for money. You get very tired with all the traveling, so you have to force it out.

I'm not one of those people, I can't walk onto stage blind drunk and be an idiot. I don't suffer from that self-love and ego that very many of these "rock stars" seem to excel in.

In the press conference when you announced this tour, when someone asked what your motivation for reuniting was, you answered, 'Your money.'

Well, I think that was obviously flippant.

Well, yes. But is the tour turning out to be a success in that respect?

Well, I would hope so. But quite frankly, you don't know until the end. These things cost as much as you get. And we're trying to keep it down to small-sized venues.

I mean, it's not like stadium rock here, and I wouldn't want it to that way, either. But that's how you'd make money, if you wanted to make money. You'd just go into the very large arenas.

But that's too awful and too boring. There's no intimacy, and there's no point. The people that really want to see you would be deprived of that.

Yeah. Most of the people who went to see the Eagles just saw little figures on a screen.

Yeah, and I think that that's outrageous. Particularly seeing how bland that band are. They're one of those awful groups that insists on the live performance being almost as note-perfect as the record.

It's awful! It's classical music, then, isn't it? There's no spontaneity or fun in that. Those are the old men of rock.

Considering what a great exit line you had at the end of the first go-round; have you given any thought to what you'll say this time?

No, no. I felt very cheated at the way it all fizzled into mediocrity, and that stuck with me for a long, long time.

Now I can end it properly, on my own terms. I don't like loose ends on things.

What about the notion of the punk legacy? Should people look at the Sex Pistols as the standard-bearers of punk?

No. The Sex Pistols stand up for themselves. Always has, always will. We're not waving any great big flag and asking you all to stand behind.

Pub Date: 8/06/96

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