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Tuesday, 30 April, 2002, 07:57 GMT 08:57 UK
Lydon plans jubilee party to remember
Jphn Lydon
John Lydon: Not one to give up easily
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By Peter Bowes
BBC News, in Los Angeles

The Sex Pistols are going ahead with a jubilee year gig to mark the 25th anniversary of their notorious anti-royal album, God Save the Queen.

The punk band is also releasing a re-mixed version of the song is to be released next month.

Previously planned to coincide with the weekend of the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations in June, the all-day concert will now take place on 27 July at the Crystal Palace National Sports Stadium.

According to frontman John Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten, organising the reunion concert has been a nightmare.

The singer, who now lives in Los Angeles, says he has been frustrated by the attitude of British licensing authorities.

I found it kind of acceptable to understand bannings from Margaret Thatcher's mob - but this so-called Tony Blair socialism is the biggest hypocrisy of the lot

John Lydon

"We finally seem to have got through all the usual rigmarole and red tape and red herrings that they usually throw at you - banning you left right and centre and telling you that you cannot do this," he explains.

Lydon had wanted the concert to be an all-night affair but he says the plan was foiled by late night drinking restrictions.

"I wanted to turn it into a real good rave," he says.

"There's no sense of fun in the country - you cannot physically run an all-night party."

But, ever suspicious, he adds: "Well maybe some can - but this some can't."


Lydon, who has recently been involved in internet-based projects and has done some serious acting, remains as politically fired-up as ever.

Now living a stone's throw from Venice Beach in California, he explains that his disillusionment with Britain has taken on new proportions.

God Save The Queen cover
God Save The Queen was banned first time around

"I found it kind of acceptable to understand bannings from Margaret Thatcher's mob - but this so-called Tony Blair socialism is the biggest hypocrisy of the lot," he says with characteristic bluntness.

In 1977 the band famously released God Save the Queen to coincide with the Queen's Silver Jubilee.

The track was banned by the BBC and caused a national outcry.

It got to number two although conspiracy theorists believe there was a cover-up to prevent the embarrassment of having the Sex Pistols topping the charts during the celebrations.

Lydon says he is bemused by speculation that the single may achieve that honour second time around.

"I'm hardly impressed by the chart system," he explains. "So number one or 100,000 is meaningless to me and I don't do things to compete."


While reluctant to acknowledge it, Lydon does seem genuinely excited about the July concert in the UK.

He sees it as a chance to shake-up what he describes as the "dullest place on earth".

"I can't let a year like this go by and nothing happen in that country," he says.

There are no explosions or gimmicks - just a really good rock solid beat - which is what I think people deserve

John Lydon on the remixed God Save The Queen

"What's wrong with the British now, are they ashamed of being British?

"That sense of inadequacy and second place and third rating is not acceptable to people like me.

"I''m going to go back and throw what I think would be a jolly good happy concert."

The event will feature at least four other bands. Lydon says they are "spoilt for choice" in selecting groups to share the stage, although they are not in a position to name names just yet.

The re-release of God Save the Queen will be accompanied by a CD-rom including never-before-seen footage of the band.

The footage was shot for the original videos to tracks like God Save the Queen, Pretty Vacant and Anarchy in the UK.


In addition, there will be a boxed set containing the entire Sex Pistols catalogue.

God Save the Queen has been remixed by dance music producer Neil Barnes, formerly of Leftfield.

"He's done a stunning, blinding piece of work," says Lydon. "We really knew what we wanted - a happy record with a serious content.

"There are no explosions or gimmicks - just a really good rock solid beat - which is what I think people deserve."

Lydon is admittedly arrogant. He says the attention he is receiving over the re-release and upcoming gig is "hilarious" but he adds that it is "deserved".

He adds: "Why be humble - what the hell's in it for you with that nonsense? Why play downtrodden? Sorry, but I live by my wits and my efforts in life - not accolades."

See also:

16 Aug 00 | Americas
The 'Rotten' side of US politics
08 Apr 00 | Tom Brook
Sex Pistols' furious return
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