Maybe a show about the founders of punk was never going to be without controversy.
John Lydon, leader of the Sex Pistols, better known as Johnny Rotten, tried to stop the rest of the band from using the band’s music in the new series Pistol – but the court dismissed it.
Guitarist Steve Jones told Sky News he wished the frontman had chosen to be involved.
“He’s an integral part of the Sex Pistols,” he said. “But, you know, it’s about my book, and it’s just a shame he’s not interested in being involved.
“He probably thinks we’re harassing him on it – not at all, [it’s] on the contrary, we’re just showing how awesome he was.”
The drama – which is based on Jones’ memoir – is directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle. It tells the story of a group that refuses to adhere to the norms set by society in the 1970s.
Fifty years later, their ability to solve important problems still resonates – which does not escape the filmmaker.
“One of their most powerful and disturbing songs, which dominates episode three, is Bodies, which is partly about abortion,” Boyle said.
“The song was made in ’76 or ’77, and Roe vs. Wade was 73 I think, and is now under attack in America.
“So you realize that the anger with which they approach their material, it’s permanent, it has lasting power.”
“Too Real for Fame”
While the actors playing the lead roles were born long after the Sex Pistols broke up, the legacy of the iconic band – which released just one album in their two-and-a-half-year career – is not lost to them.
“They were genuine, they were real, and they were real or too real for the industry,” said Maisie Williams, who plays the model known as Jordan, who attended many of the band’s early gigs.
“Too real for the fame and the level they’ve reached I guess.
“And these days I think it’s a lot harder to find that kind of authenticity and even if we do, maybe we don’t trust it, and we can’t believe it’s real.”
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Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who plays Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, says he’s not sure artists like them exist in the modern music scene.
“They were so from that era, that moment, and I think that’s why it came and went so quickly because you can only destroy something once,” he said.
Their musical career may have been fleeting, but with this show telling the band’s story to a new generation, the Sex Pistols – and indeed the punk spirit – lives on.
The gun was released on Disney+.
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