Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Money-Go-Round

Sex Pistols : I'm Not Your Stepping Stone

On February 7, 1979, five days after Sid Vicious was died of a heroin overdose, hearings began in London on John Lydon's lawsuit against Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren and the Sex Pistols management company, Glitterbest, which McLaren controlled. Lydon wanted to keep McLaren from using his nickname Johnny Rotten and he wanted to protect his future musical career rather than be associated with a movie suggesting his former band was a con job.

What it came down to, of course, was money. The judge in the case would eventually disclose that the Sex Pistols had earned £880,000 up to December 1978, but that £343,000 has been spent on the upcoming film The Great Rock n Roll Swindle. Only £30,000 remained, which would be put in the hands of a third party, along with the movie, to be split among band members. 

McLaren told Melody Maker he believed Virgin's Richard Branson was behind the suit and that it would bankrupt him. 

"I don't mind being sold down the river, but I'm not gonna drown in it too. It's like wiping your face in your own shit. That facts are that without me that group wouldn't've existed, and I feel that if I couldn't spend that money on the projects that I thought were right, then they should've thrown me out years ago. "

As the trial progressed, and it became clear that McLaren was spending their money pet projects like the film, Paul Cook and Steve Jones switched sides joining Lydon. Round one to Lydon. 

As Lydon wrote in his memoir 

"I didn't want to walk off with all the loot or anything. I made sure that when it came to a settlement, we surviving members  would get equals shares of the spoils. Even though I was harbouring a really serious resentment for the way Steve and Paul had behaved against me, I didn't want blood money or dirty money, as I would view it. I just wanted what was mine, what Malcolm tried to take away from me. "

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