John Lydon was at the forefront of punk in the 70s, but doesn’t have a lot of time for the likes of Green Day
Punk has always been all about standing up to the establishment, but how are you supposed to interpret that when you have been through and out the other side?
Johnny Rotten found it much easier to take aim when he was coming through with the Sex Pistols, but now he has found different targets, namely other interpretations of punk as a genre.
His latest target is Green Day, and when we say ‘latest’ we mean ‘he’s been on about them for years’, but there’s now a new interview where he takes another dig.
“I look at them, and I just have to laugh. They’re coat hangers, you know. A turgid version of something that doesn’t actually belong to them.”
Green Day’s breakthrough album Dookie, their third overall, was released in 1994 – making it closer to Sex Pistols debut Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols than it is to the present day.
However, Lydon’s qualms are with more than just attachments to certain periods in history, and regardless of Green Day’s more political material he argues “Punk wanted to maintain the cliché and the uniformity that it didn’t deserve. And I wanted to do new and different things, which is, to my mind, what punk is all about: Do it yourself, which means be true to yourself.”
The comments about Green Day are consistent with an interview Lydon did with Rolling Stone several years ago, during which he confessed to having “never been a fan of them”.
“I just don’t understand it. I think it’s kind of a tinny, two-bob version of something that was far deeper and carried more significance,” he said.
“And, uh, that for me, as a band, they’re not very significant. They’re a mélange. They’re closer to Billy Idol than myself.”