Why Sex Pistols said no to Olympics
Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon says the band refused to perform at this year’s Olympic Games in London because event bosses were more interested in censoring the act than letting them play.
Entertainment chiefs behind the overbudget extravaganza have already been criticised for saying the Games are too important to let acts play live – and for inquiring whether long-dead Who drummer Keith Moon would be available to appear.
Now Lydon tells Billboard: “They came after us, but their approach was wrong. Censorship mattered more than the content of the Pistols.
“If you’re going to be celebrating what is great about Britain, the honesty of the Sex Pistols is one of those things.”
He won’t confirm details of what Olympic bosses wanted to censor, but hints that it was no more than a word or a line from one song.
He says: “If you censor the words of any one song, you’re killing the honesty – and I couldn’t tolerate that. We said we didn’t want nothing to do with them. Such is the world we live in.”
It’s a world which seems even more constrained than the one that spawned the punk revolution, Lydon believes.
“I think the world has become more conservative now than it was back then,” he reflects. “All the things we fought so hard against are slowly creeping back in.
“If you’re going to put a negative on a word you’re denying the human race the very thing we’re most proud of. Our greatest sense of achievement is our language – thought language we can communicate abstract thoughts.
“You cannot limit anyone’s vocabulary.”
Lydon will front PiL on their European tour starting in July. Their first album in 20 years, This is PiL, is released on May 28.