A BRITISH punk icon has said he's "excited" to hit the road and visit the "wonderful" Southampton as part of a summer tour.

John Lydon, also known by his stage name Johnny Rotten, has spoken out about the Public Image Ltd (PiL) 2022 tour, which is due to drop-in on the city on June 12.

The former Sex Pistols frontman spoke about stage fright, the effects of lockdown, and his excitement to be able to finally play live again.

Speaking to the Daily Echo, Lydon said: "I'm excited to get out there on the road again. Nervous of course because I class myself as untrained.

"The years of the covid nonsense really screwed us all up but we're all gagging at the bit to get out there and perform and share things with our audience again, which is vital to us as a band that deals in emotions and share those emotions very, very closely with its audience.

"Covid has taken my family away and I've come back to reclaim them."

PiL are a post-punk band who were formed in 1978 following Lydon's departure from the Sex Pistols in January 1978.

Daily Echo:

PiL will hit Southampton on June 12

"I think [Southampton] is wonderful," he explained.

"Down by the docks, so romantic. It's a fun town and the people are fun, they're good all over."

He added that up-and-coming musicians in Southampton trying to make a name for themselves can "send their CDs to him".

He said that often people will hand over their songs to him or music they have found in a record store that they think he might enjoy.

"That's a terrific generosity," he said.

"I don't know everything about Southampton, but if I'm there, here's your opportunity to keep me informed."

Daily Echo:

Sex Pistols 1977 at Ford's plant in Dagenham, Essex. Photo credit: Ian West/PA Wire

He said that people can expect "honesty, integrity, and empathy" from the tour.

"A great deal of emotionalism," he added.

"Because some of the songs absolutely belong embedded in serious emotions.

"It's a wonderful thing to be able to cry along with an audience knowing that they've shared similar pain in their lives too.

"It's very much how an audience reacts with us that shapeshifts the way the set is and what the songs sound like, they're kind of like instinctively fine-tuning us into newer, different landscapes all the time.

"Improvising is very important to us and to get there you have to know the song inside and out from its root core bones."

He went on to explain that he gets "fears" of "letting an audience down".

He said that stage fright is "a really important thing to have" otherwise "this would all be pointless".

Lydon explained that there is an "enormous setlist to go through", adding that he will "see what the vibe of the audience is".

The punk icon spoke about the effect lockdown had on him and his wife, as well as the band and their music.

He said: "It was economy wrecking. You cant work, you can't pay your bills, it's not an enjoyable world and that's just from my excitable side of things. This is what all of us had to face.

"It was very, very sad for my wife Nora because she's got Alzheimer's. She needs to meet people and so friends couldn't come round and that really affected her, the isolationism of it all and none of these things were considered.

"It's not just Nora that had to endure that but many, many others in worse situations.

"Horrible cases of people being sent to hospital ad then dying when their family were not allowed to be with them in their final moments. That is heartbreaking stuff."

He told how he was constantly writing throughout lockdown while "trying to avoid self-pity".

PiL play the Engine Rooms on June 12. Ticket information can be found at www.PiL official.com