Former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon is set to play in Tel Aviv, Israel with the recently reunited Public Image Ltd. (PiL). This is coming after big names like Elvis Costello, the Pixies, and Gil Scott-Heron have boycotted the country due to Israel’s actions on the Gaza flotilla, and its overall government policies. Lydon told BBC 6 in an interview, “I mean, I’m anti-government—I have been all my life no matter where I go—and I shall be making that loud and clearly proud once I’m in Israel.” But really, how effective could he be?
I sort of see what Lydon is doing, and I get where he’s coming from, but I do think he’s overestimating his influence, or rather, his current influence.
Lydon’s image as a counter-culture hero has been tarnished by a number of things, from allegedly racially-driven attacks on Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke to Johnny Rotten appearing in a butter commercial. Despite that, he does still seem to be talking like it’s still 1977 and he’s proclaiming anarchy in the UK.
“We’ve received a lot of hatemail, as it happens—[that] going to Israel is some kind of political faux pas. I say, ‘Don’t be so ignorant—it’s John speaking here and I’m going there to cause trouble and I will do it musically’,” he said.
I don’t even know if PiL is capable of starting trouble, but it looks as if Lydon is going to give it his best.