Sex Pistols / Public Image Ltd legend Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) has provided some of the most entertaining interview moments of the last 40 years. As with many rebellious rock stars, interviewers sometimes misinterpret Rotten’s rough-around-the-edges personality as empty-headedness, but Lydon has proven them wrong time after time.

One of Lydon’s most uncomfortable interviews was with Tom Snyder in 1980. Along with PiL bandmate Keith Levene, Johnny batted away many of Synder’s questions, preferring to address PiL as a company rather than a band. The concept didn’t quite stick with Snyder, but the rotten one really gave the host something to wrap his head around when discussing the need for rock and roll to die.

Another Public Image joust occurred on Britain’s Check It Out program. An English punk band called the Angelic Upstarts had publicly called Johnny Rotten a sellout for his work with PiL. Rotten refused to take the bait, dismissing both the “sellout” remark and the interviewer’s persistence. The TV presenter began to get passive aggressive with Johnny, resulting in a walk-out from the singer with his dignity firmly intact.

We’d be remiss to ignore the Sex Pistols’ infamous Grundy interview when the first pre-watershed “fuck” was broadcast on TV thanks to the Pistols. Host Bill Grundy was immediately combative with the punks and their entourage, and when Rotten uttered the word “shit” under his breath while taking the piss out of Grundy’s classical music taste, the host challenged Johnny to say it again. Never one to back down, Rotten checkmated Grundy in an interview which began the downfall of the presenter’s career.

Watch these 10 Times Johnny Rotten Outclassed Interviewers in the Loud List above.

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