Posted: Oct 25, 2003 3:58 am
October 22, 2003, Wednesday, BC cycle
SECTION: Entertainment News
LENGTH: 367 words
HEADLINE: Johnny Rotten disturbs release of punk rock box set
BYLINE: By DAVID BAUDER, Associated Press Writer
DATELINE: NEW YORK
You've got to admit there's some poetic justice to it: a company feuding with Johnny Rotten over the release of a vintage punk rock box set.
Rhino Records is releasing a four-CD, 100-song punk retrospective on Oct. 28, titled "No Thanks!: The '70s Punk Rebellion."
But that wasn't its original name.
The company wanted to call the box, "Ever Get the Feeling You've Been Cheated?" For music trivia buffs, those were the words spoken into the microphone by Johnny Rotten as the Sex Pistols left the stage after their final concert before breaking up in 1978.
Then Rotten, born John Lydon, found out about Rhino's plans when he was interviewed this summer by a reporter from The Washington Post.
"It's a (expletive) insult to be using my quote to back up product that I have nothing to do with," he told the Post. "To my mind, that's fraudulent marketing, plain and simple. I don't care how much homage they pay to me in the liner notes. They want to use me from a distance and I find that just unacceptable."
Lydon conveyed the same message to Rhino, said Marc Salata, product manager of the box set.
Rhino was already disappointed because the Sex Pistols wouldn't license any of their songs for the project. The box includes the Clash, Ramones, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, the Jam and Patti Smith - with the Pistols a major hole.
The title, "No Thanks!," has dual meanings, Salata explained. At the time, the punk bands were saying, "no thanks" to the popular music of the day. And although many of the musicians are revered today, they received relatively little public support at the time.
Left unspoken is a "no thanks" to the Sex Pistols.
Rhino has launched an ad campaign that lists all the bands appearing on their box, and "bands that just said, 'no thanks:' the Sex Pistols.
"Here are 100 tracks to tell 99 percent of the story," Rhino says. "For the rest, dust off your copy of 'Never Mind the Bollocks,"' the first Sex Pistols album.
Even Salata admits that Lydon showed a certain punk rock spirit in telling Rhino to get lost.
"We didn't want to pick a fight with John Lydon," he said. "But it doesn't seem too difficult to pick a fight with John Lydon."