Express & Star

Musician, artist and provocateur John Lydon still has a lot to say for himself

John Lydon is not a man who appreciates being censored.

John Lydon has a lot to say for himself

The legendary frontman and lyricist of the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd has caused his fair share of political earthquakes during a unique and extraordinary career.

From the mischievous glint which still twinkles brightly in his eyes, you sense he’s relished every single moment. And still does.

The man they call Johnny Rotten has been dubbed many things, from a revolutionary, an icon, a provocateur to an immortal, and became a poster boy for the cultural revolution which transformed music for good.

And he’s not finished yet. This year he’s heading back on the road for a fresh leg of his acclaimed spoken word show, I Could Be Wrong, I Could Be Right, which comes to Walsall Arena in Bloxwich on Saturday, May 25.

He promises to ‘tell it how it is’ during the audience Q&A sessions, when he promises that absolutely nothing will be off limits. This is John Lydon, live and untamed.

He said: “I think too many people tell me what I think, and not enough ask me.

“I always find it’s far more fun just telling the truth than being a miserable bleedin’ philosopher.

“This is a format which suits me down to the ground to be honest, because if there’s one thing you can guarantee, it’s that I’m never gonna run out of words.

“I’ve basically spent my whole life being censored. So this is me, honest and unscripted.

"It’s my thoughts, in my lingo, right or wrong, straight from the horse’s mouth.”

A lot of incredibly turbulent water has passed under the bridge since the last leg of Lydon’s spoken word tour.

He’s lost two of the most important people in his life; his beloved wife of more than 40 years, Nora, and his long-time tour manager Johnny ‘Rambo’ Stevens - and also had a crack at Eurovision.

Lydon cared full-time for his wife in her later years as she battled Alzheimer’s disease.

He said: “I just can’t get over the loss of Nora; I don’t think I ever will.

“It’s hard at night, and I don’t want to throw myself into creating more music right now which would just be a series of ‘woe is me’ misery songs. That’s not the right thing to do.”

He said the reason he threw his hat into the Eurovision ring last year in a failed bid to represent Ireland was entirely down to Nora.

The poignant and personal song, Hawaii, was inspired by one of the couple’s favourite holidays and was in his words ‘as close to accurately portraying the situation’ as he could get.

He said: “I’m very glad I was able to perform the song on Irish TV so I could show it to Nora before she died.

"It might not have been chosen, but it did put a big smile on her face, and she was very proud of me.

“But I’ll never sing that song again, because it’s just too heartbreaking. I just can’t go there; it was so deeply personal.”

Lydon says his head was ‘full of cotton wool’ when his wife died, but happy memories from their 40-plus years together are starting to come back now.