The punk rocker, real name John Lydon, is locked in a legal battle over the use of the band’s songs in a TV drama. Former drummer Paul Cook and guitarist Steve Jones are suing their ex-frontman and want to use the music in a six-part series directed by Danny Boyle and due on air next year.
Pistol, produced by Disney, is based on Jones’s 2016 memoir Lonely Boy: Tales From A Sex Pistol. He and Cook say a band member agreement [BMA] from 1998 means licensing decisions are made on a “majority basis”.
But Lydon, who disapproves of the drama, insists the BMA has never been applied and all such decisions since 1998 have been unanimous.
In a statement, he said: “There is no point in me being here if I can be out-voted by the vested interests of all in one management camp. That is like a trap or prison and my fear is that they’re demanding that I agree to sign over the rights to a drama documentary. That smacks of slave labour.”
Lydon, 65, added: “I don’t understand how Steve and Paul think they have the right to insist I do something that I so morally heart and soul disagree with.”
The Sex Pistols were formed in 1975 and split in 1978 but have since performed regularly, most recently in 2008. The fourth band member, Sid Vicious, died in 1979 aged 22.
The hearing continues.