Guitar Player January 1994

Steve Jones Interviewed


Q: What led to punk's emergence in England during the mid-'7Os?

Steve: I was hanging out with Malcolm McLaren. I was singing with the band at first, with Paul Cook and Glen Matlock. We were called Q.T.Jones and the Sex Pistols. But that wasn't happening, because I didn't like singing. We were auditioning singers when John showed up at Malcolm's shop.We made him sing to a jukebox. He was a nut case. He definitely had something going on. I thought we were just another rock band. What I didn't realize was that I couldn't play and John couldn't sing. I don't know if it was a mistake or what, but it was just meant to be.

Q: Was there a conscious decision to go against the grain?

Steve: No. John was the mouthpiece. He wrote all the lyrics. We were sick of all the music that was around. It was really boring.

The only bands I listened to were the New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, the Faces, Mott The Hoople, and Roxy Music. Everything else was just garbage. John was sick of music in general. I think he spouted out a lot from his own insecurities as a singer.

He just put everyone else down. I never even used to listen to his lyrics half the time. I do now, and I realize they were really good. I didn't give a shit about all this political stuff and other crap we were singing about. But that's just me.

Q: Is it true that Malcolm based the band's look around Richard Hell and his band ?

Steve: No, that's just bullshit. John was already looking like that. When John showed up, he had the green hair and safety pins. He was wearing a Pink Floyd T-shirt and above it he wrote, "I hate." He had that total look down. Whether John copied that from the New York thing or not, I dont know. It was nothing to do with McLaren. Malcolm definitely had his part in what happened with us, but not as much as he claims.

Q: Why do you think the band made such an impact?

Steve: I think we had a good chemistry. We were so opposite of each other. Of course, when Sid died, he became a legend. When you die, you're made for life. It was one of those things, like the Doors. They came along at the right time, they were innovators, and one of them died. It just goes on forever, as opposed to Warrant or something like that.

Q: What ultimately broke up the band ?

Steve: We didn't give a fuck about making money and all that crap at the time. Now I kick myself. I wish we would have stayed together. At the time, that was it. We were sick of one another, and we thought, "Fuck it. I can't work with these assholes anymore." We just split. We weren't writing any songs. When we came to America, it was all blown out of proportion. Everyone's ego was inflated. All these silly chicks were telling us how wonderful we all are. "Oh, you don't need to be with him. Do a solo record." All that crap. We'd all buy into it, because we didn't know any different.

Q: "Black Leather" was recorded two years after the band's breakup. Why is it credited as a Sex Pistols record ?

Steve: I don't even fucking know. Me and Paul was doing demos when we were trying to put The Professionals together. All of a sudden it was released as the Sex Pistols. I don't give a shit about that now.

Q: Your tone on "Never Mind The Bollocks" was incredible.

Steve: That's a great record. Chris Thomas did a good job. I fucking worried my ass off on that record. I'd be in there for hours and hours working on overdubs and little bits and pieces. People think we just went in there, slammed it down, and that was it.

Q: What was your crowning achievement with the band?

Steve: I like "Bodies". That's my most rockin' song on the record. "No Feelings" too. Obviously, there are the ones like "Anarchy in the U.K." or "God Save The Queen", but I get bored of them. I don't think they're as rockin' as "Bodies", with that really crunchy eighth-note thing. That ten bars where Johnny is going, 'Fuck this, fuck that," is fuckin' awesome. It sounds like a machine. Johnny ain't written any good lyrics since that album. He's all caught up in his head. It doesn't come from his heart anymore.

Q: Why are the Sex Pistols still important?

Steve: I really can't tell you. I'm not trying to sell us out by the things I've said to you like, "It was just a fluke," and, "It wasn't that big of a deal." It was a great thing. I mean, look at all these bands today that are trying to be like the Sex Pistols. Look at all these Seattle bands, and fuckin' Stone Temple Pilots. They all try to cop that vibe. But watch their videos, then watch a Sex Pistols thing. Then you'll see why we're still important. It's still crazy. We were the real thing. We didn't know what we were doing. We were just a bunch of jerks.

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