After years of anarchy in the UK, punk legend John Lydon has swapped his Sex Pistols motto “God Save the Queen” for “God save the Clean” – admitting doing housework while caring for his late wife inspired his new album.
The outspoken singer– known by alter ego Johnny Rotten – championed a hellraising revolution in the 1970s thanks to the Pistols’ rebellious stance against the Royals and the establishment.
But former punk John, 67, confessed that becoming a carer and doing daily chores, such as vacuuming, dishwashing and laundry for late wife Nora Forster during her battle with Alzheimer’s, helped him get back on the road with his band Public Image Ltd.
“Being a 24/7 carer for Nora I was hoovering sometimes and I would think of a song. I used to sing it out loud and Nora used to find this highly entertaining,” says John.
“So a lot of these tracks were put together musically in my head by dishwashers, laundry machines, carpet cleaners, all of this. You can find a rhythm in anything mechanical.”
PiL kick off their UK and European tour this week in support of new album End of World.
John says the time caring for his beloved Nora – who died nearly four months ago aged 80 after a two-year fight against dementia – got him through the darkest of days.
“Doing the housework kept her thinking that I was relating to other subjects and not wallowing in self pity,” says John. “My baby was an independent sort of person and would not take kindly to being molly coddled. That would really annoy her.
“Of course it was tough as it was a bag of rocks in your head bashing you about. It was like skinheads running from one part of your head to the other. But my feeling is ‘Get over it’. I had to.
“There are many, many people out there in worse situations than me. I had 45 wonderful years with Nora and that is about as much as you can expect on planet Earth. We will meet again.”
John met Nora at designer Vivienne Westwood’s shop Sex in 1975. He penned tribute song Hawaii earlier this year in a unsuccessful bid to be Ireland’s Eurovision Song Contest entry.
Despite rumours, John says he will never reunite with his one-time Sex Pistols bandmates following their legal fallout over a recent TV mini series Pistol, which the band chose to make without him.
Of the legal clash, John says: “I don’t give a damn what they think anymore after allowing their mockumentary to be released. It is like, ‘Shame on you’. They are lucky I have been so kind hearted. I don’t feel no pity for them, rage of hatred. I don’t feel anything for them. There is no door (for a reunion). It is a brick wall and it ain’t coming down any time soon.”
- Public Image Ltd start a UK tour at the Leadmill, Sheffield next Friday. Their album End of World is out now.