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When the Sex Pistols unleashed 'God Save The Queen' on the British public back in 1976, people were outraged. At a time when musicians were still singing about peace and love, the Pistols, led by Johnny Rotten - a.k.a. John Lydon - stood up for violence and anarchy. They made music sound like treason, and John, with his anti-Monarchist stance, was a lightning rod in the storm. He was attacked in the street, and wherever the Pistols played, there were fights, arrests and national scandal.
But John, the most-reviled man in Britain, actually grew up a shy, quiet boy in North London.
When he was seven, he contracted meningitis and was in a coma for a year. Missing that much school put him behind and other kids bullied him. The experience, he says, was the first step toward his becoming an anti-establishment icon. But like many groundbreakers, The Pistols quickly imploded, amid broken bottles and blood, on a disastrous American tour. John moved quickly to bury the myth of the band. He formed Public Image Limited - the world's first post-punk group - and a huge influence on bands like Massive Attack.
Today, John's still full of vitriol. He's got things to say about American punk, record companies and, of course, those London riots. He also makes a cameo in a new film called 'Sons of Norway', which played at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. It's about a young boy who suffers a tragedy, then channels the rage and alienation he feels into punk rock. And who'd know more about that, than John?