SPEX Magazine, December, 1983 (Germany)
Transcribed (and additional info) by Karsten Roekens
© 1983 Spex
Famous XAO SEFFCHEQUE met the even more famous John Lydon - and got along great. Photos by BERNHARD SCHAUB
Seffcheque: ''How do you like the German beer?''
Lydon: ''Quite acceptable!'' (orders red wine and a brandy)
Seffcheque: ''What is your first impression of Germany?''
Lydon: ''I expected lots of hippies and breadheads with long hairs. To my surprise people look just like in England or anywhere else, they were pogoing like back in '77 and knew all the songs, they even sang along.''
Seffcheque: ''They don't sing along in England or the States?''
Lydon: ''No, it's only the Japanese and the Germans…''
Seffcheque: ''You are doing 'Anarchy In The U.K.' again. I enjoyed it, because it is a fantastic song, but the question remains: did you need to do it?''
Lydon: ''I don't need to do anything, that's not the point, we played it only in Tokyo and Germany. It was a gift, for fun, from me to the audience, not to any audience!''
Seffcheque: ''You once said to the 'NME' if you ever did Sex Pistols songs again, it would be a sign of your decline and demise.''
Lydon: ''Oh stuff it, whatever I told the 'NME' or whatever the 'NME' made out of it, I'm free to say this today and do that tomorrow. Besides, time is ripe again for things which may have been right out of order two or three years ago, and I have worked and I have fought and I have sung long enough for the possibility to do what I want, without having to care about all that fucking publicity.''
Seffcheque: ''It's a long long way to Tipperary?''
Lydon: ''Exactly! I really can't be fucking bothered what all these shitty papers write about me, about PIL or about my career, as long as I can use it.''
Seffcheque: ''I use the 'NME'?''
Lydon: ''You got it. Hey Larry, this guy is the first journalist who caught the double meaning. Fantastic, you are well informed…''
Seffcheque: ''Three years ago me and some friends faked a John Lydon interview for a magazine, and nobody noticed at first…''
Lydon: ''Haha, good! But your cigarettes are good, too!'' (smokes my last 'Panama')
Seffcheque: ''Other journalists are less well informed?''
Lydon: ''Ooh, today it was rubbish…''
Seffcheque: ''You left Alan Bangs after the third question. Why?''
Lydon: ''He asked all the standard question I can't tolerate anymore. Any intelligent human being has to stop that - or give him one!''
Seffcheque: ''I notice you are with a load of unknown musicians now, who don't look too flash. Where do they come from, and why them?''
Lydon: ''They are all from American hotel bands, they are not spoilt yet and we can play together without having to forget the music over pseudo-ideological questions or competition or problems with clothes. I don't tell them how to look, they can dress as they like as long as the whole is effective.''
Seffcheque: ''But you give the overall musical direction?''
Lydon: ''Of course I do, they know it wouldn't work without me, but within the scope of our musical repertoire they are free to, let's say, play funk for instance.''
Seffcheque: ''Like in 'Solitaire'?''
Lydon: ''Yes, why not, pardon, I'm not Hitler!''
Seffcheque: ''Why did you part company with Keith Levene and Jeannette Lee?''
Lydon: ''Hmmm, Jeannette just didn't do anything but to pose and talk big in front of the press. And Keith is OK actually. But he's got problems!''
Seffcheque: ''What problems?''
Lydon: ''Well, problems with his arms and ankles, with pointed objects, you understand?''
Seffcheque: ''Yes I do, but that doesn't mean to say you can't work with him anymore. If I remember correctly there have always been lots of people who did good work despite such problems, or even because of such problems.''
Lydon: ''That's true, but let me tell you: on the long run it's too difficult and impossible to work with a junkie. I'm not a teenager anymore to be able to cope with everything. Keith got into trouble because of it way back in The Clash.''
Seffcheque: ''By the way, what do you think of The Clash?''
Lydon: ''The first album was good, but 'Sandinista!' is a joke, I bought it and gave it away to a friend to humour him. If they want to get into politics they can start in England right away, there's enough shit to sing against, in Nicaragua they don't understand English anyway. Maybe Strummer should have a close listen to his first LP again…''
Seffcheque: ''And Paul Weller…?''
Lydon: ''Okay, he's got style, but I think he's running out of steam. As far as I know his newer stuff it's becoming too elaborate, he's hanging around this silly London scene too much, it messes people up.''
Seffcheque: ''Didn't McLaren mess you up too?''
Lydon: ''Oh, this little wanker, when I left the Pistols he told me I'd be ruined in no time, and he wasn't right at all, it's rather him that's ruined after his African rip off. And he deserves it because he's a soulless schemer, a calculator that has to be kicked away because there's a better model on the market. If you need old Yes organists to get something done'' [Trevor Horn - ed.] ''you're finished anyway.''
Seffcheque: ''Is your excursion into the movies ('Copkiller') finished too?''
Lydon: ''Not necessarily. It was exhausting like hell, but it was also real fun, and it was something new. Did you watch it?''
Seffcheque: ''Very good, apart from some minor details, your German voice actor for
Lydon: ''Shit, yes, it's disgusting, I wanted to learn a little German to do it myself, but the film company wouldn't have it, plus time was running out because PIL had to start recording.''
Seffcheque: ''For a new album?''
Lydon: ''Yes, it's basically finished, it turned out very very good, quite basic.''
Seffcheque: ''You are a lot slimmer again than in the movie…''
Lydon: ''Thank God, it's this fantastic Italian food, pasta for starters, a few weeks over there, bang! 20 pounds put on!''
Seffcheque: ''What's your waist size now?''
Lydon: ''I'm back to a 26, I will have to look after my guzzling next time I'm in Italy, and on tour too.''
Seffcheque: ''You're playing in Düsseldorf on December 1st?''
Lydon: ''Do I? Hey Larry, is that correct?'' (Larry the manager says yes) ''OK, then I'll play there. Will you be there too?''
Seffcheque: ''Of course I will!''
Lydon: ''Good, see you!''
Picture Credits: (Top to Bottom)
© Bernhard Schaub