Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten lashes out at Green Day: "They're turgid coat hangers"
“How many bands are out there like Green Day now? I look at them, and I just have to laugh," says Johnny Rotten, claiming that punk has become a "caricature of itself" in 2018.
Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon, more famously known by his stage name Johnny Rotten, has hit out at Green Day, questioning the band's punk credibility and calling them an "embarrassment" to the punk ethos.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, the 62-year-old pioneer of punk discussed the state of the genre in the modern landscape and why he decided to move away from it. After the Sex Pistols disbanded in 1978, Johnny Rotten went on to found his own band, Public Image Ltd, which was far more experimental in nature and described in a 2005 NME review as "arguably the first post-rock group." Although never as controversial or commercially successful as the Sex Pistols, the band produced eight albums before they went on hiatus in 1993 and reformed in 2009.
“That’s where punk and me separated,” he explained, talking about his decision to form PIL. “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 discussion of “uniformity” eventually led to Rotten slamming Green Day and other modern punk bands, criticizing them for still sticking to the aesthetics of a bygone era. “It is embarrassing, really,” Rotten remarked. “How many bands are out there like Green Day now? I look at them, and I just have to laugh.”
“They’re coat hangers, you know,” the 62-year-old went on, “a turgid version of something that doesn’t actually belong to them.” He later described the modern genre as a “caricature” of its former self. But punk was not the only genre Rotten attacked. He also stated during the interview that rap has now become “a perfect backdrop to sell a pair of sneakers”.
This is not the first time Rotten has expressed his displeasure with Green Day. In 2012, he told Rolling Stone that he’s “never been a fan” of the group.
“I just don’t understand it. I think its kind of a tinny, two-bob version of something that was far deeper and carried more significance,” he said. “They’re not very significant. They’re a mélange. They’re closer to Billy Idol than myself.”
Meanwhile, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has called the Sex Pistols frontman one of his all-time favorite songwriters and has gone on record in the past to express his fondness for the London-based punk pioneers. But it looks like this love affair is definitely one-sided.
Elsewhere in the interview, Rotten -- who has always been known for his unabashed anti-establishment views -- spoke about the 2016 presidential run. Despite previously describing Donald Trump’s election as “magnificent”, Lydon also admitted that he, in fact, voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“What America did was it voted in a businessman to replace politicians,” he said. “Is business the alternative? I’ve openly said I don’t think so. That’s the ultimate corruption, but that’s how desperate America has become,” he added.