Pop Quiz: John Lydon

Aidin Vaziri | After a triumphant reunion tour with Public Image Ltd., John Lydon has turned his attention to literature. This month sees the limited-edition release of “Mr. Rotten’s Scrapbook,” a pricey autobiography made up of original illustrations, hand-scrawled anecdotes and several unseen photographs covering his days as the front man of the Sex Pistols and beyond (each copy also comes with a live PIL vinyl picture disc and personalized note). Calling from his Los Angeles home, Lydon, 54, said he was prompted to put the book together after his father’s death and his brother’s struggle with cancer. “It got to the point where I had to look at myself,” he says. The book is available on his website.


John Lydon
Q: So are these drawings that you just kept in a big box over the years?
A: No, I did them especially for this. When I write, my brain moves faster than my hands so I’m always trying to picture things. So I thought, “Why not put them in a book just as they are, with spelling mistakes all over the place?”
Q: The $600 price tag seems a bit steep. Did it really require that much effort?
A: A hell of a lot. It was a lot of digging up. There were several days where we had to work around the clock, chemical free.
Q: It beats making a Broadway musical of your life.
A: Hello, Green Day. Those guys are nothing but coat hangers for punk jackets. That’s what happens when you don’t know where you’re going in life.
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