John Lydon: Green Day Are Rotten

Sex Pistols frontman lashes out at modern punk, but has praise for the "mentally insane" Lady Gaga.

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John Lydon slammed modern punk this week. Speaking to the LA Times, Lydon said, "Many of the punk bands are cop-outs and imitators and have made it easy for Green Day, who I hate. I really ... I can't stand them."

The aged frontman, who turns 55 next week, also showed distain for the news that Green Day could be taking "American Idiot" to Broadway.

"To me, they're like coat hangers, and haven't earned the right, they haven't earned the wings, to be wearing the mantle of punk."

Judging by his statements, it appears he felt personally responsible for the resulting music culture that followed his band, the Sex Pistols. "I don't think I've done anything good if it ends up with Green Day on Broadway. But I have done something good that Lady Gaga is so quite as mentally insane as she is.

"The lyrics are so good. They really are. And so every now and again, as corrupt as the music industry is, there is one in there that can manipulate it properly. She's one. So applause to her."

There is no doubt that his leading 70s punk group had a huge effect on several genres of music in the long term, but Lydon seems to forget the degree that manager Malcolm McLaren manufactured the Sex Pistols. Perhaps manufactured punk has more going for it than he realises.

Thanks to the LA Times and Rock AAA for the report.

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    SumFX
    He's been saying he hates Green Day for years, this really isnt much of a "news" story.
    CydoniaKnight95
    Honestly, punk music itself is flawed The very moment any punk band can get "out there" they're considered sell-outs But yeah I agree with Lydon, Green Day are not punk They may look punk but they're just another alternative pop band singing about girlfriends Only modern punk band I really like are Rise Against
    AlbertJ
    I dont even consider Green Day punk and they certainly arent emo. But I am getting tired of Lydon whining about everything that has to do with "punk".
    BOYERxBREAKDOWN
    JFRules wrote: Well Green day is more of a emo pop rock type of band.
    You are an idiot. There's nothing emo about them. Sure they wrote some songs about some personal subjects but what band hasn't?
    Blitz93
    pineaple expres wrote: green day=good formula. people buy it. they arent changing anything or being revolutionary. and they recylce songs on every album. american idiot was all about america and jesus. not saying thats bad but a little variety mite help. and 21 century breakdown was all about the 21st century. it makes sense and a lot of people revolve an album around a subject. but evry other song either had the word jesus, america, or 21(st) in it.
    It's called a concept album dude. Both of those albums told a story, and the lyrics from each song hint back to other parts of the story in other songs.
    iwannabesedated
    jay3213 wrote: Johnny Rotten is a sellout too, He did a butter commercial.... And he had a label... Hes not punk, He just thinks he is
    Oh dear god, he did a butter commercial. I'm going to sell my Sex Pistols records right now. Who gives a shit honestly? And plenty of punks had their own label, Jello Biafra has Alternative Tentacles and Brett Gurewitz has Epitaph.
    Lion_Slicer
    WRONG.
    John Lydon: To me, theyre like coat hangers, and havent earned the right, they havent earned the wings, to be wearing the mantle of punk.
    The entire thing behind the rise of punk is that you don't need to earn it. Anyone can do it. It's not something with rigid rules that you have to adhere to. And in fact Green Day were less manufactured (at their start) than the Sex Pistols themselves. And Lady Gaga is not insane, but she definitely has shown she can manipulate the music industry--her carefully cultivated image is 50% Madonna, 50% Marilyn Manson and everyone just buys into how creative and edgy she is. He sounds like a freaking punk kvltist... I'll take Green Day.
    EternalLife18
    seriously can this guy just shut the **** up hes just a lame boring whining old man, he was never punk to start with and he goes around acting as if he owns punk, if anyone has the grounds to talk about punk the way he does it should be iggy pop or joe strummer or someone along those lines not this washed up butter selling has been but whatever
    benjy118
    I don't think he has the right to say what is and isn't Punk these days, not after he started doing adverts for BUTTER.
    AntwanL
    I dont see why everyone craps all over Green Day. They make a lot of great music and thats all that matters. Who cares what "style" they fall into. No one sits and makes rule that put you into punk or emo, or pop punk. To me rock is rock. Just enjoy the music.
    war-on-errorism
    punk is dead to people who don't get it in he first place, and original punk is different from 90's/00's punk, it has evovled from the years of the sex pistols and the ramones
    GREENholiDAY1
    he also once said that punk is not about imagery, then he goes on to say that if green day were really punk they wouldnt dress and look like they do..... what the **** jonny rotten
    tsrlop
    John Lydon has no room saying what is "punk" and what isn't. He's just as much of a "sellout" as any member of Green Day. As far as Lady Gaga goes, she's all shock value. No actually substance.
    six6six6six6
    jay3213 wrote: Johnny Rotten is a sellout too, He did a butter commercial.... And he had a label... Hes not punk, He just thinks he is
    He's certainly more 'punk' than Green Day.
    Hopes&FearsMKE
    He is clearly so jealous of the tremendous success Green Day was able to achieve with the basic punk chord song formula, taking it to new heights which in his time were unimaginable cuz the dumbass was too worried about staying PUNK, whatever that means anymore...but id rather write amazing melodic songs that people love and put on incredible epic live shows like Green Day than worry about what's still PUNK like this bitter old rocker
    guitaristtobe40
    So Johnny Rotten supports Lady Gaga but not Green Day? That doesn't sound very "punk" to me... To be honest; Green Day are continuing The Sex Pistol's legacy, for The Pistols were one of the first bands to make punk commercially successful and Green Day are a very commercially successful band. Punk is meant to go against commercialism; so I don't really see The Pistols OR Green Day as real punks, the real punks in my mind were bands like The Stooges, Dead Kennedys and Black Flag. For they stood their ground and never tried to commercialise themselves.
    fetjuel
    I just don't get why people give Green Day such shit when punk artists like Greg Ginn also branched out and did other forms of music. His jazz stuff is incredible.
    fetjuel
    johnyguitar wrote: Punk was a genre of music that occured in the late 70's and into the very early 80's. Green day did not exist then. Therefore Green day is not PUNK....
    I'd like to point out that Operation Ivy was late 80s, and they were indeed punk. Ska, sure. But still punk. And Green Day started in '87. So..
    fetjuel
    thedevil wrote: Screeching Weasel doesn't ring any bells? And pop-punk isn't a contradiction. I don't think you understand what pop actually is.
    yes it is. its about the deconstructing of pop music. which I agree means that at some point pop and punk meet somewhere, but I was more talking from an artistic stand point. Have YOU ever heard of Todd Rundgren? forgotten genius of pop music.[/quote] Punk is not about deconstruction, it's simply a style (lifestyle and music style). Punk back in its hey-day was about the nihilism, it was about rebellion. They never had any plans to deconstruct or help anything...they were just simply rebelling. It didn't really have anything to do with the music... it had to do with the state of things. The war in Vietnam, the governments, the economies..anything they were unhappy with. Music was the outlet, not the source.
    pineaple expres wrote: fetjuel wrote: pineaple expres wrote: green day=good formula. people buy it. they arent changing anything or being revolutionary. and they recylce songs on every album. american idiot was all about america and jesus. not saying thats bad but a little variety mite help. and 21 century breakdown was all about the 21st century. it makes sense and a lot of people revolve an album around a subject. but evry other song either had the word jesus, america, or 21(st) in it. lady gaga=like posted above marilyn manson meets madonna. johnny rotten=the milk i threw out this morning. You didn't listen to either American Idiot or 21st Century Breakdown, did you? You completely ignored the stories on the albums. Blitz93 wrote: pineaple expres wrote: green day=good formula. people buy it. they arent changing anything or being revolutionary. and they recylce songs on every album. american idiot was all about america and jesus. not saying thats bad but a little variety mite help. and 21 century breakdown was all about the 21st century. it makes sense and a lot of people revolve an album around a subject. but evry other song either had the word jesus, america, or 21(st) in it. It's called a concept album dude. Both of those albums told a story, and the lyrics from each song hint back to other parts of the story in other songs. yes i know wat a concept album is. i listened to both albums through. i know what the point was and the story. what im saying is they recycled. my chem's black parade was a concept album. guess wat they didnt do. recycle.
    How was it recycled? Both albums had very different stories.. 21st Century Breakdown had references to some of the characters in American Idiot.. but that was about it. Nobody downs Quadrophenia because the album mentions Tommy and the mirror, here and there. That's like saying the Empire Strikes Back was recycled from Star Wars simply because they have some of the same central characters.
    Shawn1379
    Gohel wrote: Come on, seriously ? Are you criticizing a man because of a ****in' butter advert ? Do you at least know why he did that commercial ? He needed money, in order to get his old band (PiL, great band btw) back together. Iggy Pop did adverts too, that doesn't make him a sellout.
    It's not that he did a butter advert. It's that he's calling Green Day a bunch of punk-wannabes, AND he did a butter advert. Also, he's apparently taking credit for Lady Gaga. John Lydon Impression: Oh, that band that has made more money than I ever will? Yeah they're not punk. I'm punk! I mean, I did a butter commercial but....still...I also practically created Lady Gaga, too. yep.....You believe me, right? DON'T YOU??!! Just trying to stay somewhat relevant, I suppose. I can't blame him. I just think it's lame that he's got to tear a band down and act like he's responsible for a hugely popular pop artist in order to do so.
    guitarfrenchie
    What the **** is up with the classifying music?? Greenday is good music period. and Johnny and the Sex Pistols are long dead even if they were the essence punk...thirty years ago. Hail punk, rock and metal and death to manufactured music.
    Sassafras.Roots
    First off, for everyone who commented...it's Green Day, not greenday. I just think that for anybody's comments to be taken seriously, they should at least spell the damn band's name correctly. If your spelling it greenday you obviously don't know very much about the band now do you? Second, the band has stated on numerous occasions that they don't give a shit what criticism anybody else has to place upon them. They signed to a major label so more people were able to hear their music, and so they could have more opportunities and a better life for themselves....oh god for ****ing bid right? They don't give a shit what you call them, they have always done the things that they wanted to do and will continue to do what they want. If you have ever seen any sort of interview with Billie Joe Armstrong or been to a Green Day show you would know how much they love music and genuinely love doing what they do. Lastly, these so called "punk extremists" are really great huh? I would love to be stuck underground without means of getting my music out for people to hear, abiding by other people's rules and standards. Some great lifestyle you've got there. Punk is supposed to be about breaking the rules and challenging other people's ideas, something that these punk extremists are NOT doing and something that Green Day HAS been doing as long as they have been making music.
    fetjuel
    The fact that he's been hating on Green Day since Dookie... this isn't news. One. ....TWO! He's obviously behind because the Broadway show was released months ago. Three. Lydon always was, and is an idiot. I love the Sex Pistols.. but even I can admit they were put together for the purpose of "being punk". Four: Patti Smith, The Germs and Circle Jerks rule all punk.
    jetgui22
    sex pistols is a good band but Green Day is better it's better to accept the reality that sex pistols now may be replaced or anything but their name will stay and also their music. And any body can be punk in their own style.
    edclear
    Too all who can't comprehend what Lydon's on about... Why do you think he sang "Use the enemy"? Appearing in a reality tv show or advertising buttar to get some easy money is quite innocent compared with the likes of Green Day licking corporate ass. We all need money and only an idiot would refuse a million from some big business. Better in your pocket than their. Money is about its use and Lydon has used it to fund touring with Public Image - Green Day get sponsored coz they toe the line. Punk Rock is about insight, about attitude, not a style of music, nor a fashion of dress. It's about seeing that society is utterly selfish and uses the word as a smokescreen to hide the dirty deeds of the bullyboys who make sure this game is only won by the very few who can manipluate the rules to suit themselves. It never ceases to amaze me how superficial most people are.
    Pagan_Poetry
    Patti Smith is the true creator of Punk. If there is a king, let it be Iggy Pop. If there is a band, it's The Ramones. As good as The Clash are, it's not very nice to classify them as only punk when they branched out to becoming so many genres. As for The Sex Pistols, I find them overrated and Johnny Rotten is particularly annoying. Yet this statement isn't too far off from the truth. Not about Green Day sucking, because that's opinionated (I don't like the band either but there's far worse). His statement about Lady Gaga is one I agree with though. She released an album that was very mainstream and commercially appealing: Simple song formats about clubbing and drinking and love. Now, her last album had songs that were more serious and well written about her father, scary moments in her life, etc. I know Bad Romance isn't the best sign of this, but if other songs on the album are checked out, you'd be surprised. If any few could help change the way modern music is, she's one of them.
    Shread_6009
    pistols : malcolm mclaren didn't manufacture the sex pistols. the only time he had a considerable say in what a band did was when he managed the new york dolls, and that destroyed their career.
    *cough**cough* Bow Wow Wow *cough**cough* the thing is that green days image has changed from their very early records as a DIY, starving artist punk band, then a bit after dookie they drew more into a larger than life "rock" band. and john lydon did things like the butter commercial to get some cash to do PiL again, since he's been broke since they disbanded pretty much. every time he earned went back into organizing tour dates and getting a band together
    IMDWalrus42
    I love old punk rockers. Rotten's become a parody of himself, and it's hilarious. I just wish he was in on the joke. Eventually the "I hate everything" gimmick has to get old. Besides, Kerplunk kicked the crap out of the Pistols' second album, hahaha
    christopher1126
    Who the F@#k is he? They were the most talentless peices of garbage ever to grace Rock and Roll!!!!! Alice is the Grandaddy of Punk(and metal and Pop and New Wave!!!!!)and he did it with so called attitide but most of all THE MUSIC!!!!! These shitheads could barely play instruments and Green Day is above and beyond the Pisstols. Its all about doing it better!
    jamesbcfc
    Lyndon's such a hypocrite. IM A CELEBRITY GET ME OUT OF HERE I CANT BELIEVE ITS NOT BUTTER (or utterly butterly)
    Hungry_Hameds
    John Lydon is a hypocrite, and a sell out, Greenday are not the band they used to be, sure, but he was so anti establishment that to do a bloody butter advert by the standards he set is utterly two faced.
    Priad-Luabe
    Acacia69 wrote: Priad-Luabe wrote: these days punk is just a pretense for anger in music with no reason And what was it before?
    original punks had reason
    SkepsisMetal
    every now and again, as corrupt as the music industry is, there is one in there that can manipulate it properly.
    Yeah, like Green Day apparently. I just lost a great deal more respect for JL. He used to be funny and entertaining...now he's just an idiot who's forgotten what he was talking about. Reality shows, butter adverts, openly supporting the new royal wedding as if they needed his blessing, and being a "punk purist" which in it's own terms is more of a contradiction than "pop punk" as some other idiot said. Green Day aren't and never were manufactured, just because they were on a major label doesn't mean suddenly they don't do what they want anymore. There comes a point in every person's career where you really do need to stop writing songs about masturbation and rehab, and eating mud etc etc. They're clearly a band with a lot more varied talent than the Sex Pistols and other punk bands, so what's to stop them utilising it? It's just a waste if there's people out there who can put on a better show than a lot of people trying, but they won't do it because some opinionated twats will be going headfirst up their own arses about it. Good on them. Not a fan of 21st myself, but that doesn't mean I lost any respect for them, or stopped listening to them.