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Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  2,143 ratings  ·  233 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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Jan 23, 2015 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
Sep 14, 2015 rated it liked it
‘Anger is an Energy’ is John Lydon’s second attempt at an autobiography, following 199 4’s ‘Rotten – No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs’. (Clearly one of the drawbacks of writing an ‘early in life’ autobiography, is that there may well be a lot of life still left to live and still left to write about).

Autobiographies generally fall into one of a few categories, either – the ‘warts and all’/kiss and tell/exposé variety, or the vacuous (minor) celebrity pointlessness type, not forgetting the shamelessl
Singing Foolsvideo
Nov 21, 2014 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
Mar 30, 2015 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
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biog-autobiog, music
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
Jan 01, 2016 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
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
enjoyed this autobiography charting his early life and the music of the sex pistols and PIL sometimes gets bogged down but on the whole was enjoyable.
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
John Lydon is a complex mix of irreverence, vulgarity, crassness and loyal, caring, sensitivity. He has the attitude and vocabulary of the poor street kid who grew up in the slums of London. That is because that is exactly how he grew up. And his family was Irish to boot, so he was a misfit in his own home town.

Added to that, when he was eight years old, he came down with meningitis and was hospitalized for a year.

Lydon grew up rebellious and angry.

Today he is still rebellious, and still angry
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, biography
I would have to say that I'm more of a fan of Lydon than I am of the Pistols or PiL. Here's a man who tells it like it is, and doesn't give a damn who offends. That's what I've loved about him. You ask the man a question, you got an honest answer, and if he didn't like the questions he'd tell you. I've noticed over the years that Lydon's mellowed a bit in his old age. The interviews are interesting, but still hold the same amount of honesty we've come to expect. I read No Irish, No Blacks, No D ...more
Michael Wylde
Jun 16, 2015 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
Shawn Thornton
Jan 30, 2016 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
Dey Martin
Feb 23, 2015 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
May 28, 2015 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
James Hartley
Waaaay too long and in need of some serious editing, this is entertaining enough for its first god knows how many pages before meandering off into contradictory, self-serving rants. It picks up again in places but by the end it became - for me at least - a chore.
I haven't read Lydon's first autobiography, which sounds great (he writes/talks brilliantly and evocatively about his childhood and family) but the later stuff is mostly point-scoring and bitching. This is fine when the subject is somet
Stewart Tame
May 18, 2015 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 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
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
Jun 18, 2015 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. ...more
Scott Lemke
Dec 13, 2015 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. ...more
Jul 24, 2016 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. ...more
Elliot Chalom
Feb 24, 2016 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
Jon Chaisson
Feb 08, 2015 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
Jan 16, 2016 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
May 22, 2015 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? ...more
John Porcellino
Aug 21, 2015 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. ...more
Grant Kitchener
Sep 11, 2015 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. ...more
Angie Rhodes
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Well this was not what I expected! John tells his story warts and all, and it is one hell of a read. Nothing is left out, What you see or rather saw while he was -Johnny Rotten- in The Sec Pistols is nothing like John Lydon the man..He is clever, very very clever, likable, funny and doesn't hold, with racists, fools or people treating others badly, God help you if he saw it happening Anger is an Energy, is written from the heart, and even though I liked him, before my esteem for him has gone up ...more
Paul Matts
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Obviously written by the man himself. Candid. Direct. Honest. Unrepentant. All you'd expect. ...more
Michael Legge
Shame he dies in the end.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you ever wanted to sit at the pub with John Lydon, this is as close as most of us will get (and in many ways, closer).
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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

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58 likes · 19 comments
“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.” 8 likes
“There have been conversations here in the United States about why every ex-President opens a library when politicians do not read the books. Hello, America! Kind of explains your politics. For me, reading saved me, it brought me back.” 5 likes
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