John Lydon is one of music’s great iconoclasts — an unfiltered, no-nonsense frontman willing to say what’s on his mind. Now his life as an artist and rabble-rouser is being explored in intimate detail in The Public Image is Rotten, a new documentary from director Tabbert Fiiller.
The film is specifically focused on Lydon’s years fronting the band Public Image Ltd, as he struggles to keep the group alive despite internal strife and stylistic changes. In this exclusive first look at the doc, Lydon, true to form, talks about the origins of PiL by detailing the messy end of his previous band, the legendary Sex Pistols.
“There’s not much fun to being in a band like that,” says Lydon, over archival footage of the Pistols’ final gig. “We were completely thrown into the deep end right from the start. The sheer drudgery of having to deal with a management that really wasn’t comprehending much at all. You know, it was more into the sensationalism aspect of the thing.”
Later, Lydon delves into the legal fight over the name Johnny Rotten and we see archival interview footage where Lydon talks about not playing into “the press bullsh-t.”
You can expect more of that when The Public Image is Rotten hits theaters on Friday, Sept. 14.