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John Lydon Feels a ‘Bit Responsible’ for Sid Vicious’ Death

Sex Pistols
Keystone Features / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Out on the publicity trail to promote his new autobiography ‘Anger Is an Energy: My Life Uncensored,’ former Sex Pistols singer John Lydon has unburdened himself of lingering guilt he’s long felt regarding the 1979 death of the band’s bassist, Sid Vicious.

The Gloucestershire Echo (via NME) was on hand for Lydon’s Oct. 11 speaking engagement at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, where he opened up about the Sex Pistols’ early years, admitting that “Sid could not play an instrument, and I could not sing” and recalling writing the group’s signature punk anthem ‘God Save the Queen’ “in one go while cooking Heinz Baked Beans on toast.”

Not all the memories are rosy, however. Reflecting on the downward spiral that preceded Vicious’ grim death, Lydon told attendees, “He didn’t stand a chance. His mother was a heroin addict. I feel bad that I brought him into the band, he couldn’t cope at all. I feel a bit responsible for his death. There you are, I have confessed my demons.”

Going on to share the emotional fallout of his childhood bout with spinal meningitis — which put him in a months-long coma that he says has left him with a lifelong fear of sleeping — the famously brash frontman insisted that “There is a really good fella inside my head who helps me sort things out” and expressed hope that his best work still lays ahead. “I have not written my perfect song yet — I will keep striving as life is about learning,” promised Lydon. “Words are my bullets.”

Next: Top 10 Sex Pistols Songs

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