Mudhoney’s Mark Arm on clash with Johnny Rotten: “It was weird to find out that someone you looked up to was pompous”

“There was a bit too much of the rock star crap happening.”

Mark Arm and John Lydon

Photo: Kate Booker / Getty, Amanda Edwards / WireImage

Mark Arm has revealed more of the backstory behind the infamous backstage incident in which his band Green River thrashed the dressing room of Public Image Ltd – and it all started with John Lydon.

The incident happened in 1985 when the grunge luminaries opened for PiL in Seattle, Washington. According to Arm in a 2001 interview with Westword, Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten, had threatened to cancel the show as some of his demands – such as having a La-Z-Boy recliner in his dressing room – hadn’t been met.

It left a bad taste in Arm’s mouth. There “seemed to be a bit too much of the rock star crap happening” at the time, he told Kerrang! in a recent interview.

“To us, punk rock was like this anti-rock star, egalitarian thing,” Arm said. “It was weird to find out that someone who you looked up to, John Lydon, was a man who insisted on certain creature comforts, and was maybe somewhat pompous.”

After Green River finished playing their set, Arm was even said to have told the crowd, “If you want to see what happens to somebody who’s completely sold out, just wait.”

The encounter with the English post-punk legends wasn’t all beef, however. Arm also said in the Kerrang! interview that it “was cool” to meet guitarist John McGeoch – especially since the show occurred years before grunge put Seattle on the musical map.

“I got to tell him I loved his work with Magazine and Siouxsie And The Banshees,” Arm said. “He was sweet, and totally taken aback that some kid in a far-flung place had any idea who he was. So, it wasn’t all terrible.”

For more music news, click here


Get the latest news, reviews and features to your inbox.


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

Join our mailing list

Sign Up Now

© 2023 is part of NME Networks.