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As part of a screening event for Epix’s forthcoming docuseries Punk, a host of genre icons got together this week for a panel discussion. Unexpectedly, some serious punk rock angst was captured onstage rather than on-screen, with Sex Pistols‘ John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) getting quite the rise out of the Ramones‘ Marky Ramone.
Clips of the Monday (March 4) conversation — which also featured Henry Rollins, Guns N’ Roses‘ Duff McKagan, L7‘s Donita Sparks and Punk producer John Varvatos — shared by Rolling Stone show the two aged punks getting into it following questions and discussion of formative acts in the genre’s legacy.
The publication points out that at first, things became testy between Lydon and Rollins. “Henry, we ain’t never met before, have we?” the Sex Pistols singer offered. “You’ve said silly things but excellently good things, too.”
Rollins countered, “And you called Black Flag a bunch of suburban rich kids and we wanted to tear your ears off.”
Lydon agreed, responding, “Yes, I did, but I didn’t like the fucking music. It was boring.”
It was soon Marky Ramone’s turn to get involved, with Lydon looking to speak after the drummer reflected on the Ramones’ role in punk’s genesis. Lydon snapped that Marky was “not even an original Ramone,” leading the drummer to reply, “But I did the Blank Generation album with Richard Hell, and you took his image. All you guys took Richard Hell’s image. That’s all you did.”
The back-and-forth between the two soon escalated, as transcribed by Rolling Stone:
“And you’re still covering your fucking ears,” Lydon said, grimacing that he’d gotten a rise out of the drummer.
“And Sid Vicious was the star,” Ramone said, prompting Lydon to smile and stick his tongue out. “That’s right, he was,” Lydon replied. “He was the star for asshole fake idiots like you. Enjoy your drugs and fuckin’ have a happy death.”Volume 90%Lydon then continued his attack on the drummer. “Punk music for me was positive, proof positive, that we could change our lifes by music, meaning what we said, attack the political systems,” he said. “This daft cunt is into fucking drugs.”
“You talk the talk, but you didn’t do the walk, just like the MC5,” Ramone said. Lydon then stood up and danced around, “Hello, Johnny Rotten never did the walk?” Then as Ramone continued, Lydon looked at him and said, “Look at you, you look like a heavy-metal fucking reject.”
“Sit the fuck down,” Ramone said.
“This is fucking punk rock right here,” L7’s Sparks then offered. “Unpolished, unrehearsed, off the fucking rails.”