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John, Clint, & New Orleans Jazz

John Lydon Public Image Limited (PiL)

John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, is one of my personal heroes. That’s why it’s so hard for me to accept that he actually said this.

There’s only one conceivable response. Obviously someone needs to record a traditional New Orleans-style jazz tribute to the Sex Pistols and/or Public Image Limited. Something with plenty of banjo, maybe featuring Don Vappie or Carl Le Blanc. I’ve heard the Pistols covered in just about every style from disco to polka but I’ve not heard that. Not yet. But I want to. It would be the proverbial hoot.

I can’t even imagine what it would sound like. I can imagine the Hot 8 or the Soul Rebels covering “Holidays in the Sun,” and I think that would be awesome. In fact I personally would give an eyetooth to hear such a thing. But those funky brassbands, while quintessentially New Orleans, do not represent the old-timey sound Mr. Rotten so callously decries. To pull that off we’d need an act like the New Orleans Jazz Vipers or the Hot Club of New Orleans or even Preservation Hall. Can you imagine what it would sound like? I can’t. But I want to hear it.

Who could pull off such a feat? Who bridges the gap between the disparate musical milieus of punk rock and traditional jazz? Surely there’s someone in New Orleans who fits that bill.

Whenever I have raised this question (it’s been on my mind for a good little while now) one answer invariably returns.

JF100424_DSB_Lagniagge_New Orleans Bingo! Show_Clint Maegden

Obvious, ain’t it?

In case you don’t know, Clint Maedgen is the bandleader of the amazing New Orleans Bingo! Show, which might best be described as “punk cabaret.” Moreover, he also plays with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, which has been one of the primary exponents of the traditional jazz style for half a century now.

Clint is surely our only hope, but he’s so damn busy, and I don’t know him personally. Fortunately at the Chef Menteur show this weekend I met some people who are better connected. We are going to press this case. If you can help, please do. I don’t have any grand scheme, though I can imagine any number being hatched.

Maybe something interesting will come of it.

If so, just remember — you heard it here first.

If not, forget I said anything.

Photo credits:
John Lydon Public Image Limited (PiL) / Shell Smith / CC BY-SA 2.0
JF100424_DSB_Lagniagge_New Orleans Bingo! Show_Clint Maegden / Derek Bridges / CC BY 2.0

Published inMusic & AudioNew Orleans


  1. Thanks for linking back to my profile of Clint — who I totally agree would do a fantastic NOLA-fied Johnny Rotten, maybe with a big, bad trumpet solo from Mark Braud to prove that traditional jazz isn’t clumsy?

    Clint might now be the hardest working man in show business but given some of Preservation Hall’s recent unexpected collaborations like with Tom Waits and My Morning Jacket, you should at least make your pitch.
    Maybe ping him on Facebook
    or go see Bingo this week at Le Chat Noir!/The.New.Orleans.Bingo.Show?

    Did you happen to read this Sex Pistols anecdote on Wikipedia? It seems relevant here:
    In August 1975, Rhodes spotted nineteen-year-old Kings Road habitué John Lydon wearing a Pink Floyd T-shirt with the words I Hate handwritten above the band’s name and holes scratched through the eyes.
    Reports vary at this point: the same day, or soon after, either Rhodes or McLaren asked Lydon to come to a nearby pub in the evening to meet Jones and Cook.According to Jones, “He came in with green hair. I thought he had a really interesting face. I liked his look. He had his ‘I Hate Pink Floyd’ T-shirt on, and it was held together with safety pins. John had something special, but when he started talking he was a real asshole—but smart.”

  2. I can imagine this, yes. Although I’m pretty sure it’s the sort of thing that works best when left in the realm of the imagination. Conceptual art, maybe?

    During the height of the Iraq war, I had a dream wherein I saw a band comprised of Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Rice perform all of Nevermind the Bullocks straight through. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that sounds better as a concept than in the execution of that concept.

  3. Oh also last Sunday I was at Checkpoint’s during an open mic episode where I heard a one man acoustical version of “I Wanna Be Sedated” That definitely should have been left in the conceptual realm.

  4. David David

    A century later, New Orleans’ jazz still captures the imagination, and all one has to do to understand that is listen to the music in the air.

    In ten years, the only people who will know who the fuck the Sex Pistols are will be 50 or older.

  5. Peris Peris

    Lydon is still the bombastic provocateur, and I’ll always love him for speaking truth to ’70s music, but just in case, how about PHJB does Dark Side Of The Moon? That’ll learn him!

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