Anger Is an Energy: My Life Uncensored (Paperback)
"It’s pretty cool that John Lydon’s (second) autobiography is called Anger Is An Energy. First off, the book spills a whole lot of ink on the fascinating Public Image Limited, the wildly contrarian combine Lydon assembled after The Sex Pistols expired. The title, Anger Is An Energy, comes from “Rise,” which is likely PiL’s best-known song. Secondly, John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) has virtually bottomless reserves of crankiness, which makes this book a whole lot of fun. Constitutionally incapable of letting even the most well concealed instance of hypocrisy go unnoticed, our pugnacious hero throws shots from beginning to end. It’s stunning and refreshing. Over the course of the hefty volume, Lydon retires some old anecdotes (Richard Branson asked him to join DEVO) and unearths some odd nuggets (Malcolm McLaren wanted Charles Manson to produce The Sex Pistols’ proposed second record from his cell.) Johnny expounds on his love of esoteric reggae, displays unexpected affection for Duran Duran, Alvin Stardust and Status Quo, and fires deserved bile in the direction of Jimmy Savile.This book would make a great companion piece to Viv Albertine’s fantastic Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys!"
— From Guest Recommendations
From the legendary frontman of the Sex Pistols, comes the complete, unvarnished story of his life in his own words.
John Lydon is an icon—one of the most recognizable and influential cultural figures of the last forty years. As Johnny Rotten, he was the lead singer of the Sex Pistols-the world’s most notorious band. The Pistols shot to fame in the mid-1970s with songs such as “Anarchy in the UK” and “God Save the Queen.” So incendiary was their impact at the time that in their native England, the Houses of Parliament questioned whether they violated the Traitors and Treasons Act, a crime that carries the death penalty to this day. The Pistols would inspire the formation of numerous other groundbreaking groups and Lydon would become the unlikely champion of a generation clamoring for change.
Following on the heels of the Pistols, Lydon formed Public Image Ltd (PiL), expressing an equally urgent impulse in his character: the constant need to reinvent himself, to keep moving. From their beginnings in 1978 PiL set the groundbreaking template for a band that continues to challenge and thrive to this day, while also recording one of the eighties most powerful anthems, “Rise.” Lydon also found time for making innovative dance records with the likes of Afrika Bambaataa and Leftfield. By the nineties he’d broadened his reach into other media while always maintaining his trademark invective and wit, most memorably hosting Rotten TV on VH1.
John Lydon remains a captivating and dynamic figure to this day—both as a musician, and, thanks to his outspoken, controversial, and from-the-hip opinions, as a cultural commentator. In Anger is an Energy, he looks back on a life full of incident, from his beginnings as a sickly child of immigrant Irish parents growing up in post-war London to his present status as a vibrant, alternative hero.
The book includes 70 black-and-white and color photos, many which are rare or never-before-seen.
“Lydon is an unabashed grammatical scofflaw who can deploy an earthy colloquialism with the best of them. Anger Is an Energy is packed with this brand of vivid storytelling.”
“Establishes that there’s much more to the person than the public persona.”
“A hilarious and at times touching account.”
“Vintage Johnny Rotten.”
“A dishy chronicle.”
“Lydon is at his best when writing about his family - his parents were working-class Irish immigrants - and . . . quite moving in his account of Vicious.”
“Features plenty of morbidly fascinating tidbits from one of England’s least likely national treasures.”
“One of the most important figures in punk history.”
“A companion to Lydon’s 1994 memoir, Rotten. His life is rich enough to warrant another . . . and he’s a gifted enough writer to make it a fun read.”
“It is clear that, though fond of zingers and political put-downs, Lydon is also a serious and thoughtful artist, bookish and unafraid of hard work, and thus serving as a model citizen in a more ideal republic than ours . . . A lucid, literate pleasure.”
“Coarse, plain-speaking and mischievous, pitched somewhere between Dennis the Menace and Diogenes the Cynic.”
“Ridiculously entertaining . . . His tales of a near-Dickensian life in Sixties working-class London suggest how an inchoate rebel found his purpose in punk.”
“Fascinating . . . both elegant and blunt.”
“Fills in the gaps that his previous autobiography, ROTTEN left wide open, notably his pre-Sex Pistols days, while also going over old ground with a fully-toothed rake . . . fascinating.”
“John Joseph Lydon’s new autobiography isn’t just about his incarnation as Johnny Rotten, but his upbringing, youth and, later, Public Image Limited and further intrigues. His passion and his intellect remain an inspiration.”
“A ripe, breathless romp through an extraordinary life . . . But this is a serious book too, about how poverty and illness can create pain that can be turned into something positive, presenting a man keen to fill out the nihilistic cartoon that has persisted in pop culture.”
“An accurate reflection of the man it seeks to portray: unique, uncompromising, and . . . fascinating.”
“The book is most fascinating about his childhood. I was gripped.”
“Rollicking [and] rambunctious.”
“Both thoughtful and irascible . . . Throughout, Lydon’s skills as a storyteller are in evidence. [He] brings a humour to his recollections and is at pains not to take himself, or the music business, too seriously.”
“A great autobiography, if you enjoyed Rotten, then you’ll enjoy this too . . . Lydon is always engaging, challenging and entertaining.”