Former Sex Pistol Lydon tells Chinese fans to ‘be perverse’ in warm-up to Beijing, Shanghai shows


Former Sex Pistols front man John Lydon told his Chinese fans to “be perverse” Monday ahead of highly-anticipated concerts in China with his band Public Image Ltd.

Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten from his days as lead singer of the British punk band in the 1970s, said he would take time out from his gigs in Beijing and Shanghai this weekend to talk to Chinese fans.

“I always do. This is a very important part of Public Image. It’s the conversations with people and how they felt the experience affected them,” he said in a short video message posted on PiL’s official website.

“Be perverse if the fancy takes ya!” he added, in a message for “PiL fans in China”.

China’s expanding alternative music scene is eagerly awaiting the arrival of Lydon, who in the past has been forthright in addressing political subjects.

Foreign acts invited to perform in the country are usually more mainstream, and potentially less likely to upset authorities by touching on sensitive issues while on stage.

The PiL shows follow a concert by British punk-funk act Gang of Four last week which drew dissident artist Ai Weiwei and rock star Cui Jian, who appeared at the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 before the army cleared the area in a bloody clampdown.

Gang of Four’s name was derived from the infamous political faction, whose members included Mao Zedong’s wife Jiang Qing, that seized control of the Communist Party’s power organs during the 1966-1976 Great Cultural Revolution and ruthlessly persecuted millions.

British singer Elton John dedicated a show in Beijing last November to Ai, much to the irritation of domestic media who said at the time it could lead to bans on other Western performers.