Noel Gallagher and Ian Brown both have publicly tweeted anti-masker sentiments. Bizarrely, Brown, the lead singer of the Stone Roses, ended up in a twitter feud with Jedward, who dubbed him a conspiracy theorist. However, the most controversial has been John Lyndon, better known as Johnny Rotten for his rotten teeth, the lead singer of the Sex Pistols. Rotten has reiterated his support for Donald Trump in an interview in the Guardian. Despite the angry outcry, I believe there's a reason for these comments.
Musicians, and especially punk rockers, are inherently counter-cultural. They thrive in a world which bucks convention, and challenge cultural rules. If the general populous, media and establishment believe Trump is a dangerous lunatic, of course the natural response of someone who is entirely counter-cultural is to go against the grain. Punk has never been left wing or right wing; it’s just about kicking back, and shocking people. This somewhat explains why other musicians are expressing doubts about COVID, and why Rotten, the most counter-cultural figure in music, is fighting back so hard.
Whether this will disrupt his legacy is a much more complicated question. Punk was never kind, it was always filthy, foul and nasty. All the talented musicians moved into either Rock or New Wave, but Rotten stands out, a bastion of the old way. While it’s not safety pins through the nose supporting Trump is still a part of the challenging behaviour which exemplifies the punk attitude by which Rotten has lived. And what’s more, there are some much darker spectres haunting punk, whose legacies remain intact.