Lydon knew about the sexual abuse allegations against the late BBC host Jimmy Savile long before they were disclosed. In an interview from 1978, he even suggested that it had become common knowledge that the Top of the Pops presenter was a child molester. “I was speaking dangerously out of hand,” he writes, “way before all of this became public knowledge.”
(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone
He’s got an improbable comparison for Steve Jones’ guitar style: “Neil Young on Zuma, where the song is just teetering on the edge of total collapse and that’s a most dynamic point.”
Lydon claims Mick Jagger quietly helped assemble Sid Vicious’s defense team after Nancy Spungen was killed. The Stones singer didn’t come across so well in Lydon’s previous book, which ripped Jagger for claiming the Sex Pistols couldn’t play: “The Stones were one of the most notoriously inept bands in music, and here was this old coke hag pointing fingers,” he wrote. Now, however, Lydon has been expressing his admiration for Jagger’s apparent intervention on Sid’s behalf.
As for Nancy’s death, he fingers the mob, claiming Sid might have owed them drug money: “Nancy was killed, and that poor foolish boy was left holding the knife. . .To me there’s no mystery in it at all. You owe money, that’s what you’re gonna get.”
The Great Rock & Roll Swindle
Lydon says Harvey Keitel had no idea who he was when they starred together in the 1983 Italian thriller Copkiller (also known as “Corrupt” and “Order of Death”). It was Lydon’s only starring role in a movie, coming after he’d unsuccessfully auditioned for the part of Jimmy in the film version of the Who’s Quadrophenia. As it turned out, the Quadrophenia auditions paid off in an unlikely way when the film canisters he received inspired Public Image’s Metal Box concept.
The Great Rock & Roll Mix Up
Lydon gets his jazz masters confused. While recording Album with producer Bill Laswell in the mid-Eighties, Public Image Ltd. had become a studio band featuring Cream drummer Ginger Baker and metal virtuoso Steve Vai. An all-star guest list included Ryuichi Sakamoto and jazz drummer Tony Williams. For years Lydon reported that another drop-in visitor was Miles Davis, “but I recently heard it may have been Ornette Coleman.” Oops.