Johnny Rotten is being sued by two former members of The Sex Pistols for permission to use their songs in a television series that will be about anarchic punk rock icons.
Paul Cook, guitarist Steve Jones, and Paul Cook, drummer, want the songs to be included in “Pistol”, a TV series that is based on Jones’ memoir. Rotten, real name John Lydon, has called the series “disrespectful” but is refusing permission to include the songs.
Edmund Cullen, a lawyer representing Jones and Cook, stated to a judge at London’s High Court that the former bandmates had a “brittle, fractious” relationship.
Cullen claimed that licensing requests can be decided on a “majority rule basis” under a 1998 band agreement. Lydon however contends that music licenses cannot be granted without Lydon’s consent.
Cullen stated that both Glen Matlock (original bassist) and Sid Vicious’s estate supported Cook and Jones’ position. Vicious, who was 21 years old, died in 1979.
Lydon’s lawyer Mark Cunningham stated in written arguments that Jones’s memoir portrays the singer “in an hostile and unflattering way.” He described Johnny Rotten at one point as “the irritating little brat with great bone structure who’s always looking for more.”
The court case will continue through next week.
The Sex Pistols were formed in London in 1975. They energized and scandalized the British musical scene with songs like “God Save the Queen” or “Anarchy In the U.K.” Although the band disbanded in 1978, the remaining members have been reunited for many concerts.
Next year, “Pistol,” a TV series, will be broadcast. It is being directed by Danny Boyle (Academy Award-winning Director of “Trainspotting”, and “Slumdog Millionaire”)