Former lead singer Johnny Rotten — whose real name is John Lydon — is defending a lawsuit from Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook regarding his refusal to give permission for the band’s hits, such as “God Save the Queen,” to be used in Boyle’s show.
The show is based on Jones’s memoir, “Lonely Boy: Tales From A Sex Pistol.”
During the first day of the trial on Thursday, it emerged that Lydon had previously refused permission for “God Save the Queen” to be used on Netflix show “The Crown,” according to reports, much to his former bandmates’ fury.
The current legal wrangle revolves around a 1988 contract that says licenses for the music can be granted by agreement from the majority of the band. Lydon is arguing the contract has never been adhered to and any request for licenses are therefore subject to members’ individual vetoes.
According to The Telegraph, Lydon’s lawyer said in court he fears the lawsuit is an attempt to wrest control of the band’s music and legacy away from him by Jones, Cook and their manager, Anita Camarata. Camarata is an executive producer on the FX series.
Earlier this year, Lydon told The Sunday Times he was taking legal advice over the show, saying a script had been written without his consent. He also said he had no say in the casting. Anson Boon (“1917”) is set to play Lydon in the show.
“Sorry, you think you can do this, like walk all over me — it isn’t going to happen. Not without a huge, enormous f***ing fight,” Lydon told the newspaper. “I’m Johnny, you know, and when you interfere with my business you’re going to get the bitter end of my business as a result. It’s a disgrace. I fronted this band. I’m the man that wrote the words. I supplied the image and direction, and I think the questions hang on their actions here. If they needed to be this secret squirrel about it then they must have something to hide.”
The hearing continues today.