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Quietus Exclusive: John Lydon Wants To Re-record Dark Side Of The Moon
"No meanness involved, just sense and sensibility" John Doran , February 17th, 2010 10:38

During a recent interview between Quietus editor John Doran and John Lydon for the current issue of our sister paper The Stool Pigeon, the grandfather of punk rock let slip exclusively to us that he wanted to record a new version of Dark Side Of The Moon with prog hippies Pink Floyd.

In the bizarre conversation he also revealed that he had come very close to performing the title track live onstage with the stadium rock band in his hometown of LA in 2008.

As esteemed scribe and friend of the Quietus Simon Reynolds once pointed out, in order for Johnny Rotten to customise a T-shirt to say “I hate Pink Floyd”, he had to own said piece of merchandise in the first place. So Doran wasn’t that surprised, when he asked if the T-shirt was Lydon's own, to get the reply: “Yeah”. He was, however, mildly surprised by what followed . . .

If it was your T-shirt, at what point did you ‘realise the error of your ways’?

John Lydon: “I’ve no idea where I got it from, it being green, which was an oddity . . . not my colour. It might have been something I nicked off a stall.”

Are there any exceptions in Pink Floyd’s back catalogue?

JL: Listen, you’d have to be daft as a brush to say you didn’t like Pink Floyd. They’ve done great stuff. They’ve done rubbish too. Dark Side of the Moon I love. But I go right back to when they were with Syd Barrett. But I grew up with all kinds of music.

Saucerful of Secrets?

JL: What I didn’t like about them was the pretentiousness. There was an aura of ‘Oh, we’re so great there’s no room for anybody else.’ But you know, I’ve met members of the band and I get on alright with them because they’re not like that at all. There was kind of a misreading and a misrepresentation in the press and they’re not holier than thou. In fact they are just like thee and thou. [laughs]

They may be like thee John, but I’m just trying to figure out in what way Roger Waters is like me and I’m hitting a blank.

JL: All I know is that his wife was one of my younger brothers’ art school teachers. At Tollington Park School, Finsbury Park. Dave Gilmour I’ve met a few times and I just think he’s an alright bloke. Two years ago when they came to LA, they asked me would I come on and do a bit of Dark Side Of The Moon with them and the idea thrilled me no end. Well no, it would have been very, very neat but it stunk a little in my head of 'What am I doing here?' I came so close to doing it . . . it felt like I was trying to set myself up as some kind of pretentious person. I’m very wary of the jam session end of things. I just don’t want to do it. But I wanted to do it. But just not when 20,000 people were there. I’d have gone to a studio and played around with it there. But not for the bigger picture. Privately. I’d love to go into the studio and do something with the album with them.

Something similar happened in London just before the PiL tour started, with Alice Cooper. I think it was the night before at the Hammersmith Odeon. He wanted me to come out and do ‘School’s Out’ with him. A very sweet gesture but it’s 'AHHHHHH!' y'know? As a young concert-going person I was never enamoured with celebrities who would walk out and feature in certain songs and then walk off. It struck me as being like Come Dancing. A little pony. And a little old. What old people do. There was another reason too with Alice Cooper as well. The support band was some group that Paul Cook was playing in. [laughs] It would have been a bit too much. But here we go, that’s how I think about things. No meanness involved, just sense and sensibility. I use that term because Malcolm once said it was his favourite book [laughs] Figures, eh?

David Gavan’s full John Lydon interview is published here next week. See The Stool Pigeon website for a full list of stockists

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