Johnny Rotten

Greatly Appreciated

John Lydon  (born 31 January 1956), also known by his former stage name Johnny Rotten, is an English singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the lead singer of punk rock band the Sex Pistols from 1975 until 1978, and again for various revivals during the 1990’s and 2000’s.  He is the lead singer of the post-punk band Public Image Ltd (PiL), which he founded and fronted from 1978 until 1993, and again since 2009.  (More from Wikipedia)
Sex Pistols disintegrated just two weeks into their first American tour.  Less than a week after their San Antonio date, Johnny Rotten left the Pistols and started a new band called Public Image Limited (often shortened to PiL); he also reverted to his real name John Lydon.   
(September 2011)
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Punk rockers often pick out wacko names; frontman Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys, drummer Rat Scabies of the Damned, and of course Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious of Sex Pistols are examples.  Usually it is just one or two bandmembers who do that, but all of the Ugly did:  Mike Nightmare (singer), Raymi Gutter (guitar), Sam Ugly (bass), and Tony Torcher (drums), plus soundman Johnny Garbagecan.  
The band started out with the name Rotten and changed it to the Ugly when they heard about Johnny Rotten.  
 (November 2011)
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Tensions in the band led to their break-up by mid-1979, before they were able to release a proper album.  Avengers, released in 1983 is a tough find these days; but Penelope Houston has it available as a CD-R on her website, and I managed to find a copy in an Atlanta-area record store this year.  John Dougan writes in the Allmusic review:  “Although it was released in 1983, this collection represents just about everything San Francisco’s late, great Avengers recorded from 1977-1978.  By contemporary standards, it’s by-the-book punk thrash:  Greg Ingraham’s guitar spews up hairball after hairball of distortion, while Penelope Houston snarls in her best impression of Johnny Rotten.  However, contemporary standards diminish what great music this was and what a great band they were.  Dozens of bands came in their wake, but few could recapture the excitement and ferocity of their sound.  Houston, who re-emerged years later as a folk-rocker, is in full fury on these 14 tracks, especially the youth culture solidarity anthem ‘We Are the One’ and the tale of desperation ‘Thin White Line’.  A few spins of this and you’ll hear how the Avengers influenced everyone from Black Flag to X.  Yes, they were that good.  A forgotten classic.” 
(March 2017)
Last edited: March 22, 2021