Steve Jones + Paul Cook Dispute Claim That Johnny Rotten Was Not Informed of Sex Pistols TV Series
The court case may be over, but the squabble between Sex Pistols members over the usage of the band's music in the upcoming FX TV series Pistol continues to play out in the court of public opinion. After singer Johnny Rotten issued a statement via his website recently sharing his side of the conflict, guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook have refuted the vocalists claims that he was not aware of the show until just prior to legal action being taken.
To refresh, in his recently published statement on his website, Rotten (aka John Lydon) claimed that he was given just a few hours notice that the music was going to be used and when he asked for details about how he would be portrayed and how the music would be used, he was met with legal action. He also reiterated that he had zero involvement with the upcoming series and did not grant his approval.
Jones and Cook were recently granted the right to push forward with the licensing of the music for Pistol after a court hearing while citing a 1998 band agreement that "majority rule" would be used in decisions concerning licensing requests.
After Rotten's recent statement, Jones and Cook issued one of their own. As shared by Blabbermouth, it starts, "Despite John Lydon's comments on his website, we reiterate that he was informed of the Pistol TV series, offered meetings with the director and to be involved in the show months before principal photography began. He refused these offers and we were saddened he would not engage and at least have a conversation with the director Danny Boyle and co-showrunner Craig Pearce."
They continue: "And while John's contribution is rightly acknowledged, his claims to be the only band member of consequence are hard to take. Steve, Paul and Glen started the band and it was completed when John joined. All songs on the band's seminal Never Mind the Bollocks album were written by Paul Cook, Steve Jones, Glen Matlock and Rotten except 'Holidays in the Sun' and 'Bodies' which were penned by Cook, Jones, Rotten and Vicious. In addition, Pistol is based on Steve Jones' book Lonely Boy."
The pair point out that the "majority rules" document used to help determine the outcome of the court case was initially formed as a result of Rotten's past sale of music rights in the '90s.
"John Lydon sold his rights to control the use of these songs in the 1990s in return for money. The majority rule agreement existed as a result — so no outside party could dictate the use of the band's music," they reveal. "And to have a mechanism in place if one member was unfairly blocking the decision making process — which is what happened in this instance."
"The rest of the band and many others involved in the punk scene of the time are all involved in the Pistol TV series. Danny Boyle, has worked with the Pistols previously and is a highly respected, Oscar winning filmmaker. He understands the band and experienced the time that made them," they conclude.
Meanwhile, Rotten voiced his thoughts yet again during a Tuesday (Sept. 7) appearance on Good Morning Britain. "They kept the whole operation a secret behind my back… and then slung a nasty little email to us on January 4 of this year saying they demanded my permission [to use the music]. The obvious question for me is permission for what? And bam, there it is," stated the singer. "A few days later spread out all over the Internet about what a lovely documentary this is going to be on punk, using pictures of me and my wife Nora. They know she's ill, this is not nice of them to do that." He later added: "I didn't actually deny permission, I merely asked a question."
The singer went on to describe Jones and Cook as "filthy liars," when asked about their claims that he was offered a chance to be involved months prior to the legal action. "When they say I was informed, they don't certify a date… Two-faced hypocrites," he said. "How are you gonna do a documentary on punk without, hate to be pretentious about this, without Mr. Rotten?"