in conversation with Phil Singleton
4th December 2004
Phil: Hi Steve, it's Phil...
Steve: I was waiting for you!
I see your football team (Chelsea) did pretty well today? (Chelsea beat Newcastle 4-0)
Yeah, I actually got up at fucking 4.30 this morning and watched it on TV. It was great. A bit weird in the first half, but he's a great manager, old fucking Jose Mourinho.
So you're pleased with him? Better than Claudio Ranieri (previous Chelsea manager)?
He does what is right for the team. Ranieri, he was more of a people pleaser.
He was an all round nice kind of guy.
Exactly. He was trying to please everyone by playing them, but started losing games, y'know?
Chelsea are doing pretty well, of course Man City are the only team to beat you so far this season.
Hey! Are you playing today or playing tomorrow?
We are playing on Monday night.
It's the Monday game, ok. Who have you got?
We are away at Middlesbrough, up at the Riverside.
What do you reckon your chances are there?
Well I think we're doing alright at the moment. We've won the last two games, which is good for us, the first time in 19 months we've won two on the trot. I'll go for a 2-1 win for City. Shaun Wright-Phillips...
He's great, he is. He's fucking brilliant. He's no ego, he just loves it. And he's not dirty.
Then we've got Anelka, who is always sulking.
He's a wanker that Anelka.
Yeah he is, he's lazy. He cost us a lot of money, about 13 million.
He owes us a few goals for that money.
(NB: City lost 3-2!)
While we are talking about football, how's your back injury?
Well my back's pretty good. Unfortunately, I'm still eating like a fucking cunt. I'm not getting any smaller! It doesn't help my back at all. I mean I'm alright but I played football last Saturday and Sunday, and I suffered all week for it. My back was all fucking tight, but I think it's lack of exercise. I need to walk at least every day. All I do is fucking wake up, pick records, go to the radio station, do my thing, come back, fucking have a kip, then get up and fart about. I don't do any exercise, and probably eat too much.
What sort of stuff are you eating?
Anything. What have you got?!
Are you a burger-man? Are you a health-food man?
I do both. I go for some health food, and then eat a hamburger as well!
Well that's what I call balanced!
I hear Hollywood United have just won the league again.
Apparently. We've still got another game, but we're on fire at the moment. We've got some really good players, and in the league we are in, we are just unbeatable. It's a really good team.
Is there plenty of competition for your No. 9 shirt?
Well, I don't give a fuck, if someone wants to wear it that's fine, I'm not all weird about that.
I was just wondering, with you being out of the side for a while, if you are having to fight to get your place back?
Oh no, I could play if I wanted to, there's no problem there, all the guys love me. It's not like "you're too old now so fuck off!" It's not about that. It used to be like that, when we had a certain manager when it was just about winning. Now, we want to win, but we want to have a laugh as well, y'know? We're not fucking Manchester United, we're just a bunch of idiots who live over here and want to play football and have a good time. That's not the way it works, it's not like we're a professional team.
Well you don't want to be like Manchester United!
I know, I was just using them as an example of a proper serious team. Or Man City then, how's that?!
Are we a proper team? I'm flattered!
Now this radio show, Jonesy's Jukebox, Indie 103.1. That's really taken over, hasn't it?! Taken over your life in a way.
It's fucking weird mate. It's weird the way things... life has its twists and turns. Great things come around the corner and bad things come around the corner. It's funny because the back problem I had really took me in a dark place, y'know? I couldn't go anywhere, I couldn't do anything. I was really thankful I didn't get loaded behind all that, like take loads of painkillers, as much as I wanted to sometimes. But I was pretty miserable for years with the back thing, and then I got a phone call from this bloke, Terry, who used to work at Maverick Records, and he was a radio guy there who I knew from when I was doing the Neurotic Outsiders. He just gave me a call and said have you heard this new station?
It's funny, because I'd been listening to it, a mate of mine had turned me on to it and said have you heard this station? I started listening to it, this was just before they had commercials and they were just basically playing songs one after the other, playing all cool songs. So I was hip to the station when this bloke called me. I said "yeah I love this station." He said "well the boss is really excited that I know you and wants to do something with you." I don't know where it came from but out of the blue I said I wanna be a DJ. And he said "Ah. OK!" so he brought the boss Michael Steele over here, because I couldn't walk - I was still bed ridden with my back. We had a chat and I told him a few things, what I wanted to do. I said I'd love to be a DJ, but there is two things I gotta do, which is say what I want, and play whatever I want. I said that the minute you start telling me to play other bands and get all corporate, is the day I'll fuck off. He said "all right, fine." And three weeks later I fucking started on the radio station!
Quite incredible really.
Yeah. The first couple of months I guess they were just testing to see what I'd be like. It was four days a week, Tuesday to Friday, one hour each day, 12 till one. I guess they got some ratings and the people were enjoying it so they upped it to two hours a day, five days a week, with the repeats, y'know?
You choose the music yourself, is that something you enjoy? I guess it's made you re-listen to old stuff as well as new music.
Exactly. Before that, I wasn't really listening to music. I didn't really know what was going on, and what new bands were about. I didn't own a lot of music to be honest with you, I had a couple of those plastic things with CDs and a few bits and pieces. It's really got me back involved in music. And it's something I really love doing. I enjoy going out, finding stuff, I'm always in record shops now, all the fucking time, buying new gear and old gear that pops into my head!
A lot of the stuff you are playing is the soundtrack to your youth in a way, from the era of the three minute single. I'm thinking of a lot of the glam and Sixties stuff.
Absolutely, I mean what's weird is I get a lot of e-mails from people saying "wow, what was that song? That song was amazing. How do I get that song?" It's probably some Faces track.
Were you not frightened of playing stuff you grew up listening to, crazy stuff like Rolf Harris.... ?
It was always a concern when I first started. Cos when I first started I think the initial fan listeners were punks who just wanted to hear punk stuff, so I think a lot of people were a bit shocked when I played all kinds of weird stuff. I don't know if those initial listeners are still listening or got tired of it, cos I play a lot of sloppy stuff as well.
What you want to do is to open people's eyes to different stuff and not to be so prejudiced.
That's it. That's a huge part of what I like about it, I go from one type of music to another. As long as it's good stuff I don't think it matters. You shouldn't just be small-minded and like just one thing. I don't. I'm literally playing everything I like to play, I'm not playing anything for anybody, I'm just playing stuff I like and like to turn on other people to it.
You've played some fairly obscure stuff, like lesser known tracks by The Sweet, and last night you played Lulu...
The David Bowie song (Man Who Sold The World)...
Which is stuff I remember from that era, an era when you used to actually take notice of the charts, when there were a lot of good singles.
I'm just having fun with it and for some reason people love it. I didn't know what was going to happen with it, but it's gone through the roof over here.
You're on billboards now, aren't you?
Yeah, it's crazy. It's really nuts, but it just goes to show you how starved people were for something decent on the radio in LA. It was absolute crap before Indie came along, I just mean rubbish. The same 10 fucking songs over and over and over again, 10 horrible songs. People get excited now, "God! it's two minutes to 12, get ready, we gotta put Jonesy's Jukebox on!"
I get quite a lot of e-mails from England. Do you think a lot of people listen to it in England?
I think it's growing. It depends on how good people's Internet connections are. You really need broadband. I think a lot will be listening to it, I don't think there's any doubt about that. The Internet has opened it up, not just to LA, but to the world. You must get e-mails from all over the place now?
I do, I do. All over the fucking gaffe. Is that more dough with the broadband?
Yeah, it costs more. But you can have your Internet connection on all the time. So you can have Jonesy's Jukebox on, and surf the Internet anyway and do other things on line while it is on.
Do you think it's on at a good time in England? To be live, 8 till 10?
It couldn't be any better really, although that old John Peel slot, 10 until midnight, is also a prime slot to listen to music. It's pretty good though, 8 o'clock until 10, it's far better than in the afternoon. I feel more sorry for the Yanks really.
A lot of people work and listen to it. Then you got the repeat hours.
They split the show in two, don't they, which is good.
You're using your connections to get in a lot of decent guests, as well.
Yeah, that's something that I like looking forward to, and people love the banter and having people on the show.
Is it hard to get hold of people? Every week you must be thinking, who can I get in?
Sometimes it's a struggle. You have to be on the ball all the time, but because the show is getting popular a lot of people wanna come on it now.
You had Slim Jim Phantom on not too long ago.
Yeah, he was great.
He's a good lad. I met him a few times when I went to see Dead Men Walking.
Did you go and see them?
Yeah I saw them five or six times this year, and got to know Jim reasonably well. Very honest and open, isn't he?
Yeah, straight forward, no bollocks. That's all I want, to be involved with people like that. Not with people that are just drama, who are all fucking full of shit - I've got no time any more for that.
You've heard it all before haven't you, really?
You've played live with Slim Jim, he was saying.
Yes, when we were doing shows down at this Irish pub with Michael Des Barres and Mick Rossi, (as The Usual Suspects) Slim was the drummer for a couple of shows, but his style really wasn't powerful enough for the kind of gear we were playing. He still does the old stand up shuffle thing, he's not too good at sitting down and playing a straight beat, y'know? His whole thing is that Stray Cats style.
You've picked up some good press over here in England as well.
Yeah, I'm actually doing a photo shoot tomorrow morning for the Scottish Herald. Old James Brown, the founder of Loaded magazine, was the first to get on to it. It was James who did the article for the Independent. I did a big photo shoot and feature for Blender that's coming out in January or February over here. You see, the thing is, a lot of professional people listen to the show and they love it. They just call up the station wanting to do shit, I don't even need a fucking publicist. It all kind of works itself, it's great. Thanks to the show, more exposure to people, y'know?
You did a photo shoot for GQ in America?
It was a page in there, it was pretty good.
What about this whistling that you do on Jonesy's Jukebox? Is it something you find very easy, whistling tunes?
I've always whistled... always whistled. I love whistling. It came about because I used to do quizzes on the show, but punters would just be on the Internet getting the answer real quick, which is kind of cheating really. You can't really go on the Internet to find out what the song is if you're whistling! And people love it, it's so cheap and cheerful, that's what people love about it.
I heard you whistling Mott The Hoople the other night.
Yeah, All The Young Dudes.
Do you rehearse your whistling before you do it?
It's the weirdest thing. Sometimes I get stuck. I don't know what I am going to fucking whistle. During the song that's on before I'm going to be whistling, I'm thinking "fuck me, what am I going to whistle?!" And I can't think of a song because we're playing music! So I have to wait for the song to end, talk and think of what I'm going to whistle at the same time. It's bizarre.
Tell us something about Mr Shovel that we don't already know?
His name is Mark Shovell. We've been together from day one. I hand him the CDs, he puts them in and twiddles the knobs. He's my Ed McMann, y'know? He's a good guy.
You seem to get on quite well.
Yeah, he's great. He's got some dignity. He's not a cheese ball. That's what I like about him.
I was going to ask whether your idea for a new solo album was very much on the back burner now?
Well, I would still like to do that, but I wanna see how far I can go with this, and see what's going to happen with the radio show, y'know? Even though it's only two hours a day, it takes up a hell of a lot of time. I don't know what I'm doing, but it takes up all my time! Such as thinking of how to improve it, what songs to play, I'm always at the record shop, answering e-mails.
It's the research, like you say. Thinking of what you're going to fill the two hours with, that takes a lot of doing.
Yeah, when you're by yourself. But I fucking love it! I love having something to do. I've never had a job really. I didn't realise that having something to do, going somewhere every day, would be fulfilling, but I love it.
So you're going to be carrying on with the radio show for as long as you can?
Yeah. It doesn't seem like I'm being put on at four in the morning like Rodney Bingenheimer.
Is that where he is now?
Yeah, poor sod. They put him on Sunday night when all the fucking zombies are walking around.
But he's a legend isn't he, or was?
Yeah, it's a shame though, it's a shame.
What channel's he on now?
He's on KROQ .
Still Rodney On The Roq?
Yeah, they won't let go of him.
Do you remember being interviewed by Rodney?
Yeah, I've been on his show loads of times.
That was a shame about Johnny Ramone. You had him on your show a couple of times.
Yeah, that was a real drag. Poor sod, I felt bad. He had prostrate cancer for ages, very sad. He was a good guy.
What about musical projects during the past year? You've done some live stuff.
I do The Camp Freddie thing
with Billy Morrison, Dave Navarro, Chris Chaney. I did a show last night, some corporate thing for Activision, the PlayStation people. I got up and did Pretty Vacant and Search and Destroy with Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray.
You played with the Cardboard Vampires. Billy Duffy's group...
I got up at the Key Club and did Problems with them. That was alright.
Do you still like playing live?
I don't mind getting up and doing a couple of songs here and there. I like doing that. I don't know about putting a fucking band together. I think them days are over. Unless it's like Pistols stuff, just to make some dough.
Is that likely to happen again, any Pistols shows, do you think?
It's always up for grabs. It's all about how much the readies are.
Haven't you played on that New York Dolls Tribute album?
I have no idea what the fuck that was all about! I haven't played any New York Dolls in fucking years. The only thing I can think of was when I was in England years ago with Patti Paladin, I think we may have covered a Dolls song, Patti, me and Cookie. That's the only thing I can think of that it must have been.
You were listed as appearing on...
I know, I saw it on your site. Also, I gotta tell you something, when you click on Kick Down The Doors, there is a picture of me and Cookie. I don't think that's me, I think it's Paul Myers (Professionals bassist).
Above: Paul, Steve, Andy Allen
Below: Not Steve!!!
I'm sure that's you, I'll have a look! (see picture right)
I don't know about you... you had that other cunt on and thought it was me!! (Picture of Steve "as a teenager" was very briefly on Kick Down The Doors!). (see picture - also right!)
I had my suspicions about that one!
Yeah (laughing)! But, I'm sure that's a picture of Myers, maybe it ain't.
I'm sure that's you! That was taken from a picture of you, Cookie and Andy Allen, the three of you. Andy Allen got cropped off it. It is you!
OK, maybe it is then!
The other picture, are you sure that wasn't you, is it just the jumper that made you deny it?!
No, the body wasn't the same as mine, I can tell you! The shoulders! He was pretty close.
I think someone was having a laugh at my expense. I had my doubts.
Who sent it?
No idea, it was anonymous. I wrote back asking that if he knew you, could he back it up with a story. Of course he never replied. He was probably sat there laughing.
I bet he was having a right laugh!
Are there any future music projects
will you be appearing on anybody else's records, like Violent Delight? Any production work?
No! What happened to that lot (Violent Delight)? Are they still going?
I think they are, but they seemed to die a death. The album came out and I've not really heard of them since.
I think the label folded or something.
I thought I would ask a little bit about yourself. Fatherhood. Is that something you feel you would like?
A kid? I wouldn't mind, but without all the fucking aggro. I'd like to have, maybe a kid with a bird where we had an arrangement, where you kind of see the kid, but you don't have to be fucking tied down, slogging it out like most people do. I don't know if that's me. I'd love to have a kid. And who knows, once you've had a kid, I probably wouldn't stop seeing him. But I still like my own space, y'know? I'm used to having my own space, I've never been one for having a bird or a relationship, and I'm happy like that. But I do love kids and would like to keep my old legacy going.
I could imagine you getting something out of that with your love of rock and roll. I could see you kicking a ball around with a son or daughter.
Absolutely. It's something that I do think about a lot, cos I don't go out anymore. I get laid now and again, but it ain't at the top of my list. Even though I'm a late starter, I'll be fucking 50 next year, I am starting to think of these things, know what I mean?
Yes, I think as you get older you start to reflect on these things.
I'm up for it I think, if it's with the right person, who's not a head case who's gonna try and take all my money down the road. Someone sensible, I'd be up for it if it was the right circumstances. If my stuff still works!
I'm sure it must, Steve. Are you keeping it in good condition?
Plenty of exercise?
I keep the pipes clean! I'm always knocking one out!
What's your favourite part of the USA? I know you live in LA, but...
That's pretty much my favourite part! My favourite part.
You don't love New York better?
No, no, no. I couldn't live there, I'd go out of my mind. I like going to New York, but I couldn't live there, there's too many high rises, I start getting claustrophobic there. I love Los Angeles, I've been here 24 years now. Hawaii is alright. I don't mind it there, I could end up there maybe.
You won't be retiring to old Blighty?
I can't see that happening mate, no.
So what have you got lined up for the rest of the day, Steve?
Well, I might go and visit my friends out in Malibu, then get up at seven tomorrow morning to do this photo shoot, that's at 7:30 in Malibu, then go and play footie at 8:30 with Hollywood United. And today, I don't know what I'm going to do. I might have a wank actually, after I get off the phone with you!
Well, I hope you're not thinking of me while you're doing it!
Well of course I'm thinking of you!
Anyway, what d'you think about Christmas? Is it a drag?
Yeah, I'm not a big fan of Christmas. I don't remember too many good memories. I don't remember anything about Christmas other than being kind of lonely, so it's always a drag for me because I don't have a big family. I go to my friends' houses... I just think it's a load of old bollocks to be honest with you. It's great for kids, they look forward to it, they love it. I guess I remember a couple of times when you wake up at four o'clock in the morning and see what presents you've got, I guess that's always good. But, I'm not a big Christmas person myself.
It comes around too quickly when you get older.
Yeah. You've got to dip in your pocket again and fork out for fucking socks and underwear for people!
Let's end on that festive note. Thanks for the update Steve, we've covered a lot of good stuff.
Photos © Jonesy's Jukebox 2004
Hollywood United photograph © Ian Carrington 2004 / www.cookandjones.co.uk
All material ©Phil Singleton 2004 www.sex-pistols.net / www.cookandjones.co.uk
All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission.