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Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  1,010 Ratings  ·  147 Reviews
John Lydon has secured prime position as one of the most recognizable icons in the annals of music history. As Johnny Rotten, he was the lead singer of the Sex Pistols - the world's most notorious band, who shot to fame in the mid-1970s with singles such as 'Anarchy in the UK' and 'God Save the Queen'. So revolutionary was his influence, he was even discussed in the Houses ...more
Hardcover, 519 pages
Published October 9th 2014 by Simon and Schuster (first published October 1st 2014)
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Community Reviews

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Nigeyb
Jan 23, 2015 Nigeyb rated it liked it
I like music biographies. I like John Lydon. I really enjoyed John's first autobiography "Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs". I like PiL. I like the Sex Pistols. I like punk rock. I like autobiographies. What could possibly go wrong?

The introductory publisher's note should probably have set the alarm bells ringing. Ostensibly apologising for typos and words which may not exist because this is John "in his own words" but, having read the thing, I suspect it was as much an apology about the lac
...more
Randolph Carter
Mar 30, 2015 Randolph Carter rated it really liked it
Intelligent without being intellectual and always entertaining. And what about that whine? Lydon via Andrew Perry more or less chronologically recounts his life from a wee lad to the present time. A born raconteur, Lydon relates the saga of his life in the Sex Pistols and beyond and everything in-between. Full of laughs there are also decidedly more serious and tender moments than you would expect and Johnny comes off as a fairly serious person, not one for sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll but he ...more
Singing Foolsvideo
Nov 21, 2014 Singing Foolsvideo rated it it was amazing
Don't listen to anyone who tells you this book is anything but worth reading.  As usual, John Lydon delivers the truth and, like it or not, if you can't handle what he's written here, you are still waiting for a bus that's not coming.  Anyone who grew up in Lydon's cohort, especially the dirt poor, downtrodden, and disenfranchised, will appreciate the candour and honesty in his look back on a life jammed with experience.  Those who were more comfortable with the Joe Strummer brand of pseudo-prol ...more
Nick Cato
May 16, 2015 Nick Cato rated it really liked it
I haven't read Lydon's previous biography (which I understand is mainly about the Pistols) but this one spends about 150 pages on that era than the rest on PIL and his various TV experiences. Insightful stuff with perhaps a rant or two that go on for a bit too long, but to me even that was entertaining. I especially liked all the info surrounding the making of PIL's 1986 release, "Album," and how he appreciates and is friends with many people you'd never think he would be. These 500+ pages fly b ...more
Andrew
Jan 07, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it
Shelves: music, biog-autobiog
The second autobiography by John Lydon though this one plus far more expansive than the first.
The first was ultimately a book about the Pistols a almost 'setting the record stranger's tome in regard to the early punk years ,this book does go over that ground but in more concise form and expands further by embracing the post pistols years from PIL to TV work and beyond.
As such I enjoyed this book far more...much as I appreciate the Pistols musically I was more in tune with PIL and as such I enjoy
...more
Marisol García
Está bien. Él es encantador, y el libro tiene el humor, el comidillo y el desahogo que uno esperaría (con dos blancos de ira recurrentes: Malcom McLaren y Vivienne Westwood; y algunos otros inesperados, como Herb Alpert). Hay párrafos graciosos y algunos datos reveladores (el vínculo entre Mick Jagger y Sid Vicious, por ejemplo). Pero no vale creer que ésta sea la autobiografía definitiva de Rotten, porque su libro previo (No irish, no blacks, no dogs) es excelente y tiene mucho más de los Sex P ...more
Kristen
Jan 01, 2016 Kristen rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, 2016
John Lydon embraces chaos and contradiction, is frequently loud and rude, and doesn't care if everyone hates him. The funny thing about him, though, is that he's actually quite likable and charming -- and pretty insightful as well. This book is a bit of a ramble, but Lydon is a natural raconteur and it's really enjoyable if you go with the flow. He delivers a solid narrative ride through the his impoverished childhood in North London, the Sex Pistols, Public Image Ltd., his bizarre emergence as ...more
Dey Martin
Feb 23, 2015 Dey Martin rated it liked it
The world according to Johnny Rotten: Or, How I leveraged Sex Pistols fame to become a TV celebrity!

Rotten Tells All: Keith Levine's a C**t

This bio should set the record straight and cement Lydon's legacy with his version - the real story. Is their a JL presidential library in the works?! I'm kidding.

In fairness I should say that, no, I did not read his other earlier opus.

I really loved this bio. I laughed out loud many times. So funny funny funny. Hilarious!!!

In it Lydon is very forthcoming
...more
Stewart Tame
May 18, 2015 Stewart Tame rated it really liked it
Good book! Although I've not closely followed Mr. Lydon's/Rotten's career, I've generally enjoyed what I've experienced of it. He's more articulate and thoughtful and personable than one would expect if one knew him only as the lead singer of the Sex Pistols. This is actually the second autobiography of his that I've read. The first, Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs (or something like that. I'm relying solely on memory here) was largely concerned with the Pistols era. This volume goes into m ...more
Andrew Tattersall
Jan 28, 2015 Andrew Tattersall rated it really liked it
A very readable romp through his life and you hear his voice throughout so much that there is a warning from the publisher that it has been edited but they've left it as it is, spellings etc, so that it is authentically his voice. Though this is meant to be about PiL there is plenty about his early life and the Pistols,"We were just an easy target, a bunch of saucy boys from the wrong side of town who were making a racket and were easy to shoot down." (p133) and the language and its use is just ...more
Shawn Thornton
Jan 30, 2016 Shawn Thornton rated it it was amazing
Mr Rotten is not so rotten. The pantomime villain of punk comes across as quite a nice guy in this autobiography. Yes he's angry and a little bitter at times however he also doesn't appear to take himself too seriously. I love punk music and while the Sex Pistol's aren't my favourite band " never mind the bollox" is one hell of an album. I also love john's band Pil very underrated. I was lucky to see the Sex Pistol's when then reformed in 2008, what a night. I'm given this book five stars. It's ...more
Autumn
OK, so I stopped reading and started flipping pages around 1980. But I really enjoyed all the stuff about Lydon's growing up as a poor kid who hung around at the library all the time and his no-holds-barred account of the beginning of punk. The guy is not a bit impressed with punk mythology or hagiography cause duh, he was there and is naturally contrary. Thus, many unflattering remarks about Vivienne Westwood. A bit windy, could have used a stronger edit, but worth a look if you find this time ...more
David
Jul 24, 2016 David rated it it was amazing
Like having Johnny sitting on your shoulder shouting in your ear for 500+ pages. And that's a good thing.
Elliot Chalom
Feb 24, 2016 Elliot Chalom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is something about the story of John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, that I never realized prior to reading his latest autobiography “Anger is an Energy.” That is that he and I are very much alike. And he’s probably more like you and every man/woman than any of us would have suspected. This is hard to believe. After all, as he’ll tell you himself, he’s Johnny F—king Rotten. The original punk. There is and can be only one. And I bet you don’t want to believe that you’re like him any more than you ...more
Laura
May 28, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing
John Lydon a/k/a Johnny Rotten of the great English punk band the Sex Pistols, brings us his second volume of memoirs (the first being "Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs") and boy it is something to read! Like a blunt guy? Like someone with the courage to tell things the way they are? Someone with firm values and opinions he's not afraid to voice, yet who is open to all experiences and attempts to see the positive in the worst of situations? Would you expect that of Johnny Rotten? Sure! But i ...more
Jon Chaisson
Feb 08, 2015 Jon Chaisson rated it it was amazing
If you know what you're getting into with John Lydon, this is one hell of a fun read. Unapologetic (unless it's warranted), angry (often to a hilarious, 'this situation is so ridiculous it's a comedy' degree), cantankerous (but only because he truly does love you all in that Irish way), and always heartfelt...that's John. And he loves to use the 'c' word a lot--never as a sexist slur but always in the British sense of 'he's a ****ing idiot'. Underneath all that lies an actual true friend, someon ...more
Betsy
Jan 16, 2016 Betsy rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
John Lydon's second autobiography is essentially his manifesto. He uses it as his personal outlet to tell his side of the story but he also uses it to rant. A lot. No one in this book is immune to his criticisms (and often times, contempt) except his beloved Nora. It's like Lydon's sneering color commentary for the story of his life. You can't say he didn't warn us in the title.

I enjoyed the journey of this book. It felt like taking a tour with Lydon as your personal guide. He tells his story bu
...more
Michael Wylde
Jun 16, 2015 Michael Wylde rated it it was ok
16/6/15: Still working through this one...so far, not as enjoyable as "Rotten" (1994). Lydon's term with PiL (who I followed as well), and his subsequent career as a campy TV celebrity is somehow not as inspiring as his halcyon days as a Sex Pistol...

18/6/15: OK, I truly could not finish this book. Professional blowhard,loudmouth,raconteur and now wealthy Brit Lydon, enjoying his California mansion, boat, lovely wife, net worth $15 million dollars!!Oh yes, he's really living on the edge...is his
...more
Tim
May 22, 2015 Tim rated it liked it
Interesting. You can imagine the editor's despair when he/she was presented with this book, and you can see why they decided to leave it in Rotton-ese, but at times it makes for tiresome reading. If they'd cut out all the guff this could have been half the length it is. Still, it's Johnny so what can you say?
John Porcellino
Aug 21, 2015 John Porcellino rated it really liked it
A great and inspiring read! Chock full of useful and inspirational quotes all told in a charming, conversational style. The book bogged down for me a bit when it gets into his TV years, but that's only cuz I'm not very familiar with that work, no fault of the book or the writing.
John
Jun 18, 2015 John rated it it was ok
Uneven. Some have noted it seems dictated instead of written. Also, I've always found PIL to be dull. I do want to see the nature shows he hosted for Discovery. He is a witty, smart guy but a bit too all over the place for a book. Could be titled THIS NEEDS EDITING.
Grant Kitchener
Sep 11, 2015 Grant Kitchener rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent; obviously a sort of update of his "no blacks, no Jews, no irish" earlier tome - but, if anything, even. Ore searingly honest.
Mike Clarke
Jan 25, 2015 Mike Clarke rated it liked it
Rotten luck: some years ago (well, probably nearly 20 if I'm honest) I read John Lydon's previous volume of autobiography, with the provocative title No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish, a reference to discriminatory signs commonly displayed in the windows of pubs and lodging houses in the north London of the 60s when he was growing up. With such a background it's little wonder he became rotten as well as very angry indeed. Lydon is one of punk's more articulate children and No Blacks... captured the s ...more
Alger
Sep 26, 2015 Alger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is exactly what it advertises to be, and if you don't know what that is then this is not the book for you.

To some extent Lydon has made a career out of being the nasty pretentious yob who slags everyone else's music as empty commercial drivel and pop culture as a whole as time wasting celebrity chasing. This is the Punk Johnny Rotten who is the public persona.

Then there is John Lydon the guy that had some music in the 70s and 80s that "changed the direction of music", but also appeared in C
...more
Gaelen
Jun 28, 2015 Gaelen added it
Shelves: nonfiction
I'm only about 1/4 through this book, but I'm not sure I'm going to finish it. First of all, it's tough to get through because of all the antique British slang: Yobs, demob suits, teddy boys, the Paddies... I suppose I could stop to google all of these but then the going would be even slower.

Secondly, Lydon introduces characters and events with no factual context, as if you should already know who they are and why they are significant. I haven't read any other books about the Sex Pistols, who w
...more
Danny Butler
Jan 05, 2015 Danny Butler rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
I've always liked John Lydon but wasn't always sure of all the things he was trying to do and say.
Not enough clarity.
I've been watching a lot of material on YouTube and that helped. This book, however, clarifies an awful lot.
He's had a lot of bad press but hasn't always been exactly helpful in presenting a clear picture himself.

I have a lot more admiration for him now that I've read this. I like a man who speaks his mind, isn't afraid to piss off the powers that be, oppose the naysayers, and
...more
Jay
Oct 10, 2014 Jay rated it it was ok
I'm a huge fan of the Sex Pistols and like about a third of PiL's oeuvre. I read and enjoyed Lydon's first autobiography, Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs. I was really looking foward to Anger Is An Energy, but I doubt I'll finish it. Lydon comes across as preachy, vainglorious, self-contradictory and repetitive. Nothing was ever his fault (surprise, they were all misunderstandings), everyone always let him down, and all of the good ideas were his. Oh, and everything he's ever produced is ea ...more
Dan
Sep 02, 2015 Dan rated it it was amazing
Well, that was certainly the best book I've read all year. I've always had a lot of respect for John. After all, punk music helped me protect myself from the shittiness directed my way during most of my adolescence and early adulthood, and without Johnny there'd be no punk music. What was amazing about this book, however, was seeing the growth in a person who's often portrayed as "a guy who sneers and says rude things", and has been since he first caught the public eye in the '70s. He's insightf ...more
Jason Williams
Jan 05, 2015 Jason Williams rated it really liked it
Biography of John Lydon alias 'Johnny Rotten' which is written in his own unique voice and captures unique character. Charts his musical career with The Sex Pistols and Public Image Limited, giving you an insight into joys and pitfalls of working in the record industry. He also opens up about his relationship with Sid Vicious, Malcom McLaren and other people he's worked with over the years. He also talks about his family, football, politics, literature, wildlife, butter, acting and other things ...more
Scott Lemke
Dec 13, 2015 Scott Lemke rated it it was ok
I'd rate it a 2.5 if I could. The man has led an interesting life, but without editing his story becomes tiresome and repetitive. Lydon seems to have never listened to anyone else's opinion or ever been at fault in a disagreement. This too becomes tiresome.
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John Lydon is best known by his former stage name Johnny Rotten who was the lead singer of the 1970’s punk rock group the Sex Pistols. He is the lead singer of the punk band Public Image Ltd (PiL) which he founded. Lydon is also a visual artist.

In 1995, Lydon published his autobiography Rotten - No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, which dealt with his early life and career in the Sex Pistols. His secon
...more
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“Anger is an energy. It really bloody is. It’s possibly the most powerful one-liner I’ve ever come up with. When I was writing the Public Image Ltd song ‘Rise’, I didn’t quite realize the emotional impact that it would have on me, or anyone who’s ever heard it since. I wrote it in an almost throwaway fashion, off the top of my head, pretty much when I was about to sing the whole song for the first time, at my then new home in Los Angeles. It’s a tough, spontaneous idea. ‘Rise’ was looking at the context of South Africa under apartheid. I’d be watching these horrendous news reports on CNN, and so lines like ‘They put a hotwire to my head, because of the things I did and said’, are a reference to the torture techniques that the apartheid government was using out there. Insufferable. You’d see these reports on TV and in the papers, and feel that this was a reality that simply couldn’t be changed. So, in the context of ‘Rise’, ‘Anger is an energy’ was an open statement, saying, ‘Don’t view anger negatively, don’t deny it – use it to be creative.’ I combined that with another refrain, ‘May the road rise with you’. When I was growing up, that was a phrase my mum and dad – and half the surrounding neighbourhood, who happened to be Irish also – used to say. ‘May the road rise, and your enemies always be behind you!’ So it’s saying, ‘There’s always hope’, and that you don’t always have to resort to violence to resolve an issue. Anger doesn’t necessarily equate directly to violence. Violence very rarely resolves anything. In South Africa, they eventually found a relatively peaceful way out. Using that supposedly negative energy called anger, it can take just one positive move to change things for the better. When I came to record the song properly, the producer and I were arguing all the time, as we always tend to do, but sometimes the arguing actually helps; it feeds in. When it was released in early 1986, ‘Rise’ then became a total anthem, in a period when the press were saying that I was finished, and there was nowhere left for me to go. Well, there was, and I went there. Anger is an energy. Unstoppable.” 2 likes
“I liked him as a bloke, and I like a lot of their songs. I like “Girls On Film,” and I can’t pretend otherwise. I don’t have hatred for different forms of music, in fact I’ve got a great deal of love and openness to everything done by anybody. Christ, I have to: I’ve got two Alvin Stardust albums.” 2 likes
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