Lydon celebrates life and nature and regrets dental health issues as he accepts being misunderstood is part of his job

John Lydon

Public image liability: John Lydon

Sex Pistols and Public Image Limited frontman John Lydon thinks he’s been misunderstood from time to time during his career. In fact, he’s counting on it.

And he vows there’s much more to come from him as he regards himself as “50 years young.”

Lydon tells the Sheffield Star: “I hope I’ve been misunderstood. I think that happens with anyone in the public eye – you leave yourself open every time you communicate with the media.

“You become the victim of their attitudes and aspirations towards you, and that can be negative. A lot of journalists aren’t qualified in the psychology department. Particularly music journalists. You have to deal with a lot of spite.

“But that’s life. That’s the road I chose – and for all those pitfalls I’m doing alright.”

Lydon has taken flak from some fans for appearing in a TV commercial for butter, but he repeats his previous statements that he did it so he could pay for a PiL tour. And he says he’s never been paid what he was due from the record industry.

“I’ve been arguing with the company for 18 years and all they kept doing was getting me in greater debt,” he says. “It’s the same with the Sex Pistols: we’d go out on tour but all we were really doing was covering a debt.

“Is that bad management of business on their part – or is it shrewd business?”

Despite the financial pitfalls Lydon is determined never to waiver from his belief in doing what he feels is right. “I’m proud of the songs I write, the content, the point and the purpose,” he says. “Ultimately I want the world to be a better place.

“It took me many a year to realise that me and nature are on the same path. I love the pulse of life in every living thing; I could just stare at an insect all day long.”

If his position disappoints those who think of him as a punk legend, they’ll have to deal with that themselves, Lydon feels.

He says: “A legend to me would be Churchill or Nelson – I don’t know if I fit in that company. And I don’t view it like that because my life is far from over.

“I’m only 50 years young. You’ve just seen some early skirmishes from me; I want to life as long as possible. Heaven is on Earth. Hence the passive resistance philosophy I learned from Ghandi.”

He reveals he’s been suffering severe dental health problems in recent times, and he’s currently speaking with a slight speech impediment.

“I have very few real teeth left,” he reports. “I have to keep having them done and they keep getting infections. I’m just recovering from a double abscess – I’ve had eight stitches in the front of my mouth so I’m talking a little strange.”

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