Steve Jones | Musicians at Google

Steve Jones | Musicians at Google



TIM QUIRK: All right,
welcome everybody. I'm very proud– my name's Tim Quirk. I'm the head of global content
programming for Android. And I'm very happy and proud
to be here with Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols. [APPLAUSE] TIM QUIRK: All right, so Steve
and the Sex Pistols don't really need much of
an introduction. But what's really interesting to
note I think, is that this band, insanely influential,
genuinely revolutionary band, put out basically four singles
and one album in just a little over two years? STEVE JONES: Uh, yeah. TIM QUIRK: All right. And it had a massive
world-shattering impact. So we're going to talk about
that album today, because it's coming up in a 35th anniversary
reissue. Somehow they turned it
into a four disc set. STEVE JONES: Box set. TIM QUIRK: I don't quite
know how that works. STEVE JONES: In one album. TIM QUIRK: Yeah. We'll figure out how
they did that. But I figured we should rewind
a little bit, and start at something like the beginning. So I want to talk a little bit
about how the band formed, what happened before the
album got made, and then the album's impact. STEVE JONES: OK. TIM QUIRK: So, basically the
band started as your and Paul Cook's band, The
Strand, right? That was in the early '70s? STEVE JONES: Yeah. That was kind of just
goofing around. I acquired a bunch of musical
equipment, and gave the drums to Paul Cook, because he
was my best friend. And I've known Paul Cook, the
drummer, since I was like 10. And we had a couple of other
guys from school who played keyboards, and a bass player. None of us could play
a note, by the way. And they kind of went
to the wayside. And me and Paul kind
of carried on a little bit longer. There was another guy called
Wally, Wally Nightingale. He was the Pete Best
of the Sex Pistols. He could actually play a
little bit of guitar. And I was singing at the time. And I didn't want to sing. But I was just going
along with it. And it got to a point
where it was just me, Paul, Glen Matlock– who used to work at Malcolm McLaren's shop on the weekend– and Wally. That was the four of us. And at that point– we actually did one
show on the Kings Road, at Salter's Cafe. And I was terrified. And I was singing. And we did about five songs. And I hated it. Singing wasn't for me. And that's when Malcolm
was getting involved. And we originally were called QT
Jones and the Sex Pistols. I don't know what that means. TIM QUIRK: I noticed you said
you acquired some equipment. You didn't say you bought
some equipment. STEVE JONES: You know
what I mean. TIM QUIRK: All right. Well, tell them what you mean. STEVE JONES: Huh? TIM QUIRK: Tell them
what you mean. Where did you acquire it? How did you acquire it? STEVE JONES: I'm scared
to tell them. TIM QUIRK: I'm pretty sure the
statute of limitations is up. STEVE JONES: You think so? TIM QUIRK: Yeah. STEVE JONES: OK, in that case. Well, I was a kleptomaniac
when I was a teenager. Through bad upbringing
with my parents– wasn't the best parents– very poor working class, and I
used to watch them steal, so I kind of picked up the knack. Plus, I enjoyed it. It was like a buzz, too. I went away to various homes. One was in a place
called Banstead. It was in the country,
south of London. And I was there for
a year and a half. And I actually enjoyed it better
than being at home. They let us watch
Top of the Pops. Top of the Pops was a show once
a week, where they showed you the top 20 whatever was
going on at the time. And I was 15, or 16, or
somewhere around there. And I saw Roxy Music on there
doing a song called "Virginia Plane," and that changed
my life, really. I saw that and I'm like, that's
what I want to be. I want that. Whatever that is, the glamour,
and the cool, and the songs. I mean obviously I'd seen Top
of the Pops a million times before that. But for some reason, when Roxy
Music did that song, that kind was a turning point to me. So when I go out of
my rehabilitation from being in Banstead. I proceeded to steal a load
of musical equipment. And that was my connection
to music. It was kind of a perverted way
of being closer to the band. I wasn't so much stealing it
because I wanted it to sell. I just wanted to part of
something they had. It was kind of weird,
but that was my best thinking at the time. And acquired way more than
I needed of equipment. And musical shops, by the way,
many, many musicals shops I broke into, which were a lot
easier back in the early '70s. They said they had alarms, but
all the time I knocked them in, nothing ever went off. No one had cameras like now. I couldn't break in here. I'd be screwed in two minutes. TIM QUIRK: So you said you
didn't like singing. So the band was looking
for a singer. And I've heard– I don't know how much
this is true– I heard that Sylvain Sylvain was
offered the gig, Richard Hell was offered the gig, and
Kevin Rowland, who later went on to Dexy's Midnight Runners,
actually auditioned. STEVE JONES: As a singer? TIM QUIRK: Yeah. STEVE JONES: We never auditioned
any of them guys. TIM QUIRK: So tell me
how you met Johnny. STEVE JONES: Well, he used to
go in the shop, Malcolm McLaren's shop, which was a hang
out for certain types. It wasn't like any other
shops that was on the Kings Road at the time. At the time it was basically
shops where guys would wear suits with flares and tashes. That's what was going
on the time. And there was about three shops
that wasn't like that. There was Alkasura's, that
sold clothes to like Marc Bolan, like glamorous,
glam clothes. Granny Takes a Trip was owned
by two American dudes. It was a mess. They were always shooting
dope in the back. I used to go in there so many
times and them guys would be in the back. And literally you would just go,
I'll have that, and I'll have that, see you later. And they had no idea. Perfect. Great, great clothes,
though, at the time. And then there was Malcolm's
shop, which had various names. Originally it was Too Fast To
Live, Too Young To Die. Then it was Let It Rock. Then it was Seditionaries
or SEX– I don't know what order. I forget. But it was one of them places,
when it was Let It Rock, that had couches in there
and a jukebox. And I used to hang out. And I actually became friends
with Malcolm McLaren way before the band started. And John was one of the
guys who came in there on the weekend. And this is at the time when we
had the Wally guy, me, and we would be rehearsing. And Malcolm started getting
involved a little bit. And we decided that I shouldn't
sing, and I was thrilled about that. So I got pushed on guitar. And then we auditioned
singers. And John was one of the guys I
spotted coming in the shop that he looked a
lot different. He had the green hair,
short green hair. And he had a "I Hate Pink
Floyd" t-shirt. It was a Pink Floyd t-shirt, but
he'd put underneath it "I hate." And he had his own kind of thing
going on, with safety pins, and all that. And he looked great. I said we should try
that guy out. And we did. And we actually auditioned
him in the shop. We made him sing along to the
Alice Cooper "Eighteen." And he was just taking the
piss out of it. But he definitely
had something. And we tried him out. And it kind of worked
straight away. So we got rid of Wally, got me
on guitar, and then we started rehearsing. TIM QUIRK: Set the scene in
early '70s, mid '70s in London, most people in the
audience look old enough to remember it. But the milieu, just the
economic situation, and what was going on with the classes
seems like it was so integral to what you guys wound
up becoming. STEVE JONES: It's kind
of like it is now. TIM QUIRK: Explain that. STEVE JONES: Well, back
then in '75, there was a lot of strikes. There was a lot of people
out of work. And it was pretty grim in
the country at the time. Whether that was the reason, it
was just a coincidence that we kind of came along at that
time– we didn't come along because, oh, look, everyone's
out of work. Let's start a band. It wasn't like that. It was just the timing. And it was great. I mean, I didn't really pay a
lot of attention to all the strikes, and all that stuff. It never bothered me. Because I always stole. So I didn't have to get
a job to feed myself. TIM QUIRK: So now you've got– STEVE JONES: I'm not proud of
being a thief, by the way. You're the one glamorizing it. TIM QUIRK: I just asked
you about it. STEVE JONES: I don't
steal anymore. TIM QUIRK: All right. So now you've got the
heart of the band. You've got Paul on drums, Glen
on bass, you're playing guitar, and Johnny singing. It was Johnny Lydon
originally. Who dubbed him Johnny Rotten? STEVE JONES: I did. TIM QUIRK: And why was that? STEVE JONES: Because of
his teeth were rotten. TIM QUIRK: See, the American
conception is everybody's teeth were rotten back then. STEVE JONES: Well English
people's teeth were rotten. Well they were. TIM QUIRK: But his were
worse than most? STEVE JONES: His were
worst than most. Yeah. TIM QUIRK: What was the first
song this band wrote? STEVE JONES: Original song? I think it was "Seventeen."
It was called "Lazy Sod," as well. But that was a tune that was
just a straightforward Buddy Holly kind of tune, really. And John just put his usual
trademark lyrics on it. It's not filler, but it's not
the best song ever written. TIM QUIRK: At what point did you
write a song that you, or everyone in the band was like,
oh, wait a minute. We've got something here. STEVE JONES: I think "Anarchy"
was the first one that we kind of thought we had something
going on. "Anarchy in the UK." TIM QUIRK: You had a
quote at that time. You said, "We're
not into music. We're into chaos." Tell
me about that. STEVE JONES: I remember,
actually. We did a show opening up for a
band called Eddie and the Hot Rods, at the Marquee,
Wardour Street. And we'd done about maybe five
or six shows before then, using my equipment. TIM QUIRK: Your equipment? STEVE JONES: My equipment. And this was the first show we
were opening up for this band. And they actually
had monitors. We'd never had monitors
before. And we never sound checked. We never had a roadie,
anything. And this band had been
going a while. They were part of this
pub rock movement. That was the thing that
was happening. There were all these bands, a
circuit, all these bands would play pubs and stuff. And so John started singing. And I think it was the first
time he ever heard himself. And he was terrified. So he kicked one of the monitors
in the stage, because he didn't want to
hear himself. And then it started a big
scuffle and the band, who we were opening up for, was pissed
off, and all that. And it was just a big mess. And then some guy came up to
me afterwards, and asked me that question. And for some reason, I just
said, "we're not into music. We're into chaos." I don't
know why I said that. That's what it seemed like. The gig, the show was
kind of crazy. And people didn't like us. No one liked us in
the beginning. I've got to point that out. I used to throw up sometimes
because I was so nervous. Because you didn't know
what was going to get thrown at you. I mean, literally, that
was what was going on. TIM QUIRK: And yet very shortly,
it wasn't too long before wherever you guys went in
England and played a show, it seems like even if there
weren't a lot of people in the crowd, they all went off and
formed their own bands. STEVE JONES: So they say. TIM QUIRK: Do you not
believe them? STEVE JONES: I don't know. I mean, the 24 Hour Party People
is a good example, when we played the Lesser Free Trade
Hall in Manchester. Supposedly Morrissey saw it. Go on, you know the list. TIM QUIRK: Buzzcocks, Joy
Division and Morrissey was apparently there. STEVE JONES: Yeah. So. TIM QUIRK: And Marky Smith. STEVE JONES: So there
you go, you know. TIM QUIRK: There's a lot
of chaos and fighting and stuff going on. Malcolm McLaren and some
other people were trying to put this– kind of say it's all part of– recapitulating what the
situationists had been doing in the late '60s. Did you're ever buy
any of that? STEVE JONES: No. He was just trying to– he had a big ego, Malcolm. I like Malcolm. He was a friend of mine. But he was trying to rewrite
history, like so many people do after the fact. I'm sure the Bible's got a lot
of bullshit things in there. You know what I mean? Rewritten things. I mean, who wrote it originally,
the Bible? Who knows, right? But you know what I mean? I mean everyone does it. When you watch the Civil War
on A&E, there's that guy. He talked like he was there. Me and Robert E. Lee, we did
this, and blah, blah. Everyone likes to try to put
their twist on something that's happened, and then go
back and kind of quirk it to make it look cool, and so on. TIM QUIRK: So at the time, how
much thought were you guys are putting into what
you were doing? Did you have a goal? STEVE JONES: No, we didn't. There was no goal. We were just a band. With different lyrics, not the
normal lyrics, and not the normal aggression played. Aggression, mainly a lot of
people say, oh, we were angry. I'm sure I was angry. I didn't have a great
upbringing. But more of it was out of lack
of knowing how to play. When you don't know
how to play you tend to just go harder. You know what I mean? So I think that had a
lot to do with it. TIM QUIRK: I'm going to
read you a quote. This is from, I believe, I
think it was Paul Nelson. It was the Rolling Stone review
of Never Mind the Bollocks when it
first came out. And there's two lines in it that
really jumped out at me. "Any theory of destruction as
highfalutin as this also contains the seeds of freedom,
and even optimism. Anyone who cares to hate this
much is probably not a nihilist but a moralist and a
romantic as well." Does that ring true to you? STEVE JONES: There's a lot of
big words in there, man. Can you simplify that? TIM QUIRK: He's basically
saying, you might listen to it and it sounds angry
and hateful. But it's actually optimistic. And it's got a moral to it. STEVE JONES: The album? TIM QUIRK: You feel that way? STEVE JONES: Yeah. I think looking back on it 35
years later, I think it's just a true album with no agenda. For sure there was no agenda. There was no agenda to,
oh, let's get a single on the charts. Oh, let's do this, like so many
bands do, then to now, like a strategy with an album. There was no strategy. We had these songs. We'd written them. We'd been playing around in
London in various places, not many shows. And it was time to
record them. And we just, there was
no agenda at all. And I think that's what's
pure about it. TIM QUIRK: It's always
interesting to me because, I was a 13- or 14-year-old
kid in the suburbs of New York City. When I first heard the record,
I was in junior high school. Somebody played it at a party. And I'd read a lot about punk
rock, and I'd heard a lot about punk rock. But I hadn't heard any
actual punk rock. There was no internet. There was barely college
radio back then. STEVE JONES: You had to work
hard to be a fan back then. Which is lacking now,
by the way. Sorry. Go on. TIM QUIRK: No, that's
all right. And when I first heard it, I
remember expecting to hear some otherworldly thing. And I remember actually being
vaguely disappointed. It sounded great, but I said to
my friend, I was like, this is just rock and roll. What's the big deal? That was my initial impression,
just as a kid in the States. But it still, even today, does
sound blisteringly different than anything else that was
coming out at the time. How do you achieve that? STEVE JONES: What? TIM QUIRK: Just the sound? STEVE JONES: I don't know. Yeah, it was just a rock
and roll album. But when we came to the States
and we played down South, they didn't see it as, oh, this is
just a rock and roll album. So many people have come up to
me and said they were at our last show at Winterland. But they weren't
there, really. So years later, you
usually get these people come up to you. Yeah, man, I'm a big fan,
blah, blah, blah. And they just weren't. They probably hated us at
that point, '78, '77 when it came out. And it was different than what
was going on at the time– Boston, Journey, that's
what was going on. And Sex Pistols was a little
bit different. Don't get me wrong, now. I am a fan of Journey
and Boston. For real. TIM QUIRK: I believe you. STEVE JONES: I used to sneak
off closet Journey fan. TIM QUIRK: To me there's always
been two aspects to the Sex Pistols. And the bigger aspect is just
everything that was going on culturally around you guys. And then, the music was almost
smaller than that in a way. Or at least it wasn't
considered as much. So I want to talk a lot
about the music on the record for a bit. So start with, who's
playing bass. There's all kinds of conflicting
reports. At the time to record came
out, Glen Matlock had left the band. Sid Vicious had joined. But is he on the
record at all? STEVE JONES: Sid? Sid is fumbling around
underneath "God Save the Queen" and "Bodies." TIM QUIRK: OK. STEVE JONES: And basically the
whole album was played by me, bass, "Anarchy in the UK" has
Glen Matlock in it because we recorded that before
he got the boot. TIM QUIRK: But everything
else is you? STEVE JONES: Yeah. TIM QUIRK: And did you know
how to play bass? STEVE JONES: Nope. TIM QUIRK: But you knew more–
you knew better than Sid? STEVE JONES: Yeah. I could go
dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun. And that's basically
all it is. TIM QUIRK: You mentioned
"Anarchy in the UK" before, being the song where you
felt things clicking. So tell me a bit about that
song, how it came together, how you recorded it. STEVE JONES: Well we initially
recorded it– could I get another
one of these? Thank you. We had a guy when we went on the
road called Dave Goodman. He was our sound guy
that we had. See, we didn't have any
guidelines to go by. Because we'd never seen
it before on the other side of it. So we rented this guy. He was an old hippie. And pot head, smoking
all the time. And he did our live shows,
him and this other guy. And then it came time
to do some demos. And we did these demos in this
rehearsal room that I lived in on Denmark Street in SoHo. We acquired it, this– they lived upstairs and we
had the room downstairs. We acquired it off a band
called Badfinger. We bought it off them. I don't know if we bought
it or we leased it. So everything was done in there,
all the writing, all the rehearsing. This album called Spun, that
was our first demos. We were experimenting. On a track called "Submission,"
I'm literally blowing through a teapot to make
a bubble noise, to get a bubbly effect. It was all stuff like that. Sonically, it sounded
like demos. And so we got the record
deal with EMI. And so we went to record
"Anarchy," and we carried on using this guy, Dave Goodman,
who was still smoking 1,000 joints a day. And we're in there,
laying it down. And this guy, we could never
get this guy happy. We did it 1,000 times. No, no, you've got to
do it more, more. Finally, we said,
you know what? You're out of here mate. We're going to get
someone else. He made us do it. We didn't want to do it,
because we liked him. But he didn't know what
he was doing. So then it was time to
pick a producer. And I was a big fan of Roxy
Music, like I said. And the guy who produced
Roxy Music was a guy called Chris Thomas. So it was like, let's
get this guy. He's good. And then that's what happened. And this engineer called Bill
Price, they got hold of us. We went in this studio, Wessex
Studio in Islington. We laid down the track,
me and Glen and Paul, the three of us. I think John might have been
doing a vocal in a booth. And we put it down about
two or three times. He goes, OK, got it. And it was not– he knew. He was a producer. He's done it before. So what was the question? TIM QUIRK: You were telling me
about "Anarchy in the UK," how it came together, how
you recorded it. STEVE JONES: So that's
it, yeah. And then he got me to lay
some tracks down. We put a lot work making Never
Mind the Bollocks. People think we're a punk band,
we just went in and la, la, la, and it's done. No. We probably spent more time
doing that than most un-punk bands, proper bands
were doing. TIM QUIRK: "God Save
the Queen" was another big one for you. Give him his water, or whatever
the hell is in there. STEVE JONES: Oolong ginger
tea is today's special. TIM QUIRK: "God Save the
Queen," sort of another landmark track for you guys. Was that the second single? STEVE JONES: Yeah, it was. That's when we was with A&M.
That's when EMI had gotten rid of us, and A&M stepped in. TIM QUIRK: That that's quite a
feat, to put out one album, but be signed to three different
labels– signed and dropped by two labels, and
signed to three labels. How did you manage that? STEVE JONES: And we was with– I think we still are with Warner
Brothers in America. I don't know. It wasn't my idea
to get fired. TIM QUIRK: But something
happened at A&M's offices. STEVE JONES: Yeah. TIM QUIRK: What exactly? Different stories. STEVE JONES: It's
kind of naughty. TIM QUIRK: We're adults. STEVE JONES: Well, it started
at 7:00 in the morning. We did this fake signing
of the contract outside Buckingham Palace. And we– 7:00 in the morning–
and we had already started with the vodka. And so we went from there to
some other place in this limo, and then some other place. We went to the studio to listen
to the finished mix of "God Save the Queen." And then
we had a fight, in the limo, all of us. We were drunk, hammered, at
3:00 in the afternoon. And then it was some bright idea
to go to the A&M offices. And we went in there, spraying
shit on the walls. And I had sex with a girl
in the bathroom. And one of the employees– it was just a mess, basically. And they thought, oh shit. What have we signed here? They didn't realize that
it wasn't an act. It's what these guys do. It probably wouldn't have
happened like that we hadn't been drinking since 7:00
in the morning. Shit happens. TIM QUIRK: So "God Save
the Queen," tell me about that song. How did it come together? STEVE JONES: Well, like I said,
John was always in the corner scribbling lyrics, while
me, Glen, and Paul were just thrashing out tunes. And Glen came down
with this tune, sounded like the Beatles. And then I got hold of the riff,
and changed it to make sound like the Sex Pistols. And Paul got a hold if it, and
then we just worked it out. We worked things out pretty
quickly, funny enough, considering, now looking back. And John went at these words. And he'd say hang on,
let me try this. Blah, blah, blah, boom. Next thing you know,
we got a song. TIM QUIRK: And at the
time, I mean now– I'm not British, so
I don't know. But there doesn't seem to be
quite the same level of respect for the royal
family that maybe there was in the '70s. So how was it received
when it came out? STEVE JONES: Not good by a lot
of people was offended. Plus, it was, coincidentally
again, it was the time for– what Jubilee was that one? Gold, no. Silver? I don't know. One of them Jubilees. And it was so offensive
that they couldn't put it at number one. They left a blank spot
when it came out. Or, in fact, some people
put Rod Stewart. What was the song, Rod
Stewart's song? TIM QUIRK: I can't remember
which song. I just remember it
was Rod Stewart. STEVE JONES: That's going
to drive me crazy now. Oh no. TIM QUIRK: Somebody Google it. STEVE JONES: Someone
Google it. We're in the right offices. Anyway, it will come in a bit. But that showed you how
offensive it was at the time. And people wanted
to beat us up. TIM QUIRK: And you mentioned
that Glen made it sound like the Beatles. STEVE JONES: It's "The
First Cut is the Deepest," Rod Stewart. I think that's it. Could be wrong. TIM QUIRK: We'll
get an answer. STEVE JONES: Sorry. TIM QUIRK: So you mentioned
that Glen Matlock made it sound like the Beatles. And Glen Matlock was
eventually no longer in the band. And Sid joined. So what happened to Glen? STEVE JONES: [SIGHS] Poor Glen. I don't know. He just wasn't going in the
direction we was going in. It changed the dynamics a lot. For the song writing for sure,
and just his bass playing. He was a good bass player. But he just didn't seem to want
to go down the road we were going down. And I think McLaren had a bit
of manipulating in there to get him out and get Sid. Because Sid did look great. I mean, he was your classic– I mean you couldn't
get a better image guy for the Sex Pistols. Him and John together looked
great together. It was that classic Mick
and Keith look. Unfortunately, he couldn't
play bass, which was not his fault. But he was a fan. He used to come to a lot of
the shows beforehand. And I was a bit– I wouldn't say I'm sticking bits
of tape on his bass, put your finger there, and
then go there. I didn't want to
be doing that. I wanted to be concentrating
on my own disabilities at playing guitar. TIM QUIRK: After Glen left, how
many more songs did you guys write? STEVE JONES: "Holidays in the
Sun." "Belsen Was A Gas." I didn't write that. I think that was it. TIM QUIRK: "Pretty Vacant" is
another one that I wanted to touch on, because that's
one of the standouts on the album, I think. STEVE JONES: Yeah. TIM QUIRK: So tell me how
that one came together. STEVE JONES: Same way. I think maybe John and Glen
might have done that around someone's bedroom. Because I think it was around
Glen's bedroom. Because I remember John was
always moaning, like, don't ever let me do that again, write
a song with Glen Matlock in his house. It wasn't a good
memory for him. So I think that was the original
where it started. And then it was brought down to
studio and then it was Sex Pistol-ized. But John wrote all the lyrics. He wrote all the lyrics. TIM QUIRK: So the record came
out, I think it was 10/28/77. You guys would be broken up
in three or four months. So I want to talk a little
bit about the aftermath of the album. Specifically, when you guys
came to the States, you mentioned this before, I don't
know how intentional it was, but apparently Malcolm McLaren
had booked you guys outside of the mainstream sort of touring
circuit clubs, where he knew you'd have a hostile audience. I never saw you guys live, but
I did see a couple of films that had a lot of footage
of those shows. It was wild watching it. Because they weren't
really concerts. They were more like
confrontations. So tell me what that was like,
going through that. STEVE JONES: It was horrible,
not fun at all. The whole experience, coming
to America, was completely what we wasn't used to, even if
we were playing in places that kind of wanted
to see the band. I loved it when I first
came to America. But we wasn't doing it– we got off the plane somewhere,
New York, and then we got on the tour bus
and went to Atlantic. There was like, all the time,
there must have been at least 50 people following us– from the FBI to– what was that magazine
back then? TIM QUIRK: Scream? STEVE JONES: No, it was
all about drugs. I don't know. AUDIENCE: High Times? STEVE JONES: High
Times, good job. They'd be following us. The roadies were like Vietnam
Vets who were crazy. There was people trying to film
Sid shooting up, which I think there actually
is footage of that. And it was just like– it was intense. And there was loads of media who
would follow us the whole time we were in America. And it was bizarre. Our first show was in Atlanta. I remember having the flu. And the one thing that did stick
out was how much better looking the girls were in
America, and how eager to please they was. Unlike in England where there
were all ugly and spotty, and think they're doing you
a flavor to have sex. That's what stuck
out in my mind. I don't know what stuck out
in the other guys'. TIM QUIRK: How much
actual playing happened during the shows? How may songs could you
even get through? STEVE JONES: We'd get through
a set, Never Mind the Bollocks, basically. Maybe a couple of covers. But [SIGHS] it wasn't fun. Sid wasn't really playing bass
and that kind of deteriorated through the– and how many shows did
we do, like 12? TIM QUIRK: Yeah, it was
just a handful. STEVE JONES: And they were
all in dodgy places. The only one was in San
Francisco that made sense. TIM QUIRK: And then that one
didn't last very long. And basically Johnny
quit on stage. What was that like? STEVE JONES: I don't think
Johnny quit on stage. He didn't want to quit. But I wanted to quit,
afterwards. TIM QUIRK: Well tell me
about that final show. What's your recollection
of it? STEVE JONES: Well I
was sick again. I had the flu again. [LAUGHS] I don't know why I kept
getting sick. Maybe I was nervous,
I don't know. But it was a disaster, man. We're playing at, I don't
know, the Winterland. It's like 5,000 people. It was actually the biggest
show we ever played. All the other shows we
did, we were in like halls, cowboy places. And there was no camaraderie
between the band. The crowd thought
it was great. And we were playing like shit. And it made no sense. And I was just like, I've
had enough of this. That's me, though. I run. That's how I deal with things. And that's what I did. TIM QUIRK: And where did you
wind up right after that? STEVE JONES: We ran to Brazil. We was meant to go there anyway
to film- we were meant to do some shows there
as the Sex Pistols. And Ronnie Biggs, the Great
Train Robber, was going to open up for us. So the Pistols ended in San
Francisco, but me and Paul and Malcolm went to Brazil and
carried on filming The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, the
movie we were kind of doing at the time. And I had a great time there. It was great. Brazil was great. I loved that place– bubble butts and cocaine. TIM QUIRK: And then what
was it like after? Sex Pistols split up, and you
continued your music career. What was it like playing with
other musicians, and having the professional other bands
after the Sex Pistols? STEVE JONES: I wasn't
a happy camper. I got involved in drugs a lot. I was miserable. It might have looked like I was
having a good time, but really, I was a lost soul. And I've been sober
now, probably be 22 years in October. 11 years off cigarettes. I'll be 12 years the next
month off cigarettes. And all I do now is eat. [LAUGHTER] TIM QUIRK: Tell me about
Jonesy's Jukebox. STEVE JONES: Well there was
two Jonesy's Jukebox. There was one on Indie 103.1
that obviously is defunct, which I did for five years. It started organically, and it
turned into something that a lot of people enjoyed. I enjoyed it. It was fun, and then
that ended. And about a year or so later,
I don't know how long, I got where I am now. I'm on KROQ. It's called Jonesy's Jukebox. It's on Sunday night, from
7:00 to 9:00 PM. And I've been doing that– it'll be two years next month. And basically the gist of it is
I just play new music, with physically CDs, and try and turn
people on to new bands. TIM QUIRK: And how do you find
new music that excites you? STEVE JONES: Well at this
point, from doing it for almost two years, people
send me a lot of stuff. I have a few little hipsters who
know what's going on who send me stuff, new bands. I enjoy doing it. TIM QUIRK: This year, I'm
curious, what are some new bands you've heard this year
that you really admire? STEVE JONES: Well there's
so many bands. Who did I play yesterday? Ariel Pink's have you
heard of them? Tame Impala, I like them, Because they're kind
of original to me. They're not just copying
what's gone before. They're kind of– you ain't going to find
it in Walmart. But I still find it interesting,
bands like that. There's a lot of bands, but
there's no movement. You know what I mean? Which there should be some
kind of movement. It should be the Sex Pistols
35 years later. TIM QUIRK: Speaking of the Sex
Pistols 35 years later, I'm curious how you feel about the
Sex Pistols being inducted in the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame? STEVE JONES: I don't know. I mean, it's kind of
a joke, isn't it? TIM QUIRK: Kind of, yeah. STEVE JONES: But I've got my
statue still in Cleveland. I was thinking of getting it
and selling it on Ebay. [LAUGHTER] TIM QUIRK: I like that idea. AUDIENCE: If you signed it. STEVE JONES: Or maybe I say, let
me get the others from the boys, and sell all
four of them. I don't know. Yeah. TIM QUIRK: At this point
I'm going to open up to the audience. Anybody have any questions you
want to ask, just wander up to the microphone. And while we wait for someone
to get up the courage to do that, I'll just ask
you, tell me about the Bill Grundy interview. Kind of a seminal moment in
the Sex Pistols career, a career filled with
seminal moments. STEVE JONES: Well, if you don't
know who Bill Grundy is, it was a TV show. There was two stations at the
time, back in '75, whatever, 6, 7, I don't know. And it was at 6 o'clock. Uh oh. Someone getting bold? AUDIENCE: Yeah, I'm
getting bold. STEVE JONES: Go on then,
just get on with it. AUDIENCE: I don't want
to interrupt. STEVE JONES: Shall I finish
this question? TIM QUIRK: You can finish
your answer. STEVE JONES: We were rehearsing
to do the "Anarchy in the UK" tour and promote
"Anarchy in the UK." EMI sent a limo down to where
we were rehearsing. And the guy said, we're going
to the Today Show. That was the show that this
guy, Bill Grundy, was on. And we're going to talk about
the tour and the single. Queen was supposed to do it,
because we were on the same label, EMI. But for some reason
canceled it. So they quickly got
us in there. So we get there. And like I said, there
was two channels. Everyone used to watch
this show eating their dinner at 6 o'clock. They put us in the green room. I went to the fridge. There was all these bottles of
Blue Nun, a kind of wine. So I'm nervous, terrified,
because we're going on TV. So I'm guzzling them. And then by the time we went on,
this guy obviously had no interest in talking
about the tour. He was like the classic
interviewer of that time. You know when you see the
Beatles being interviewed in the '60s and '70s, these
interviewers kind of talk down to you, like derogatory? You know what I mean? So you've got all this money? It's ridiculous. So this guy just got what
he was dishing out. And we didn't go there
like we're going to swear on this show. He started making us look
stupid, and then he got what he deserved. We didn't know the swearing
was going out live. I thought they had
buttons for that. Hello, mate. AUDIENCE: Hi. I'm kind of curious about how
you decided to learn to play the guitar. I mean, you mentioned you went
to go see Roxy Music and that inspired you. So you acquired some musical
instruments. And so I imagine some kid with
some musical instruments. And now what do you do? Do you have a friend
that teaches you how to play a guitar? Did you go to the library? How many hours a day
did you practice? STEVE JONES: Well that's
a good question. Because I actually didn't start
playing guitar until three months before we
did our first show. And how I did that was
through speed. And these pills called
mandrakes, which I'm sure no one knows. But they're like the equivalent
of quaaludes. They're like quaaludes. Anyway, I used to get
them from this quack in Harley Street. Every deviant used to
go to this doctor. He was just a quack,
just all right. And it was a diet program. Black beauties, and mandrakes,
like 60 of each. And so I would be in
Denmark street. Literally I'd take one in the
morning, and I'd be like this for 12 hours. [MIMICKING GUITAR PLAYING] And playing along to records. And that's how I learned. I didn't know what
I was doing. AUDIENCE: By ear? STEVE JONES: Yeah, I'd just play
along to certain records, [INAUDIBLE]. I'd listen to the [? Faces ?]. AUDIENCE: Did you know
about different chords and chord changes? STEVE JONES: No, I kind of knew
a couple of chords from the guy Wally. But I couldn't carry a tune. It was just one of
them things. You know, speed's
great for that. You should try it. [LAUGHTER] AUDIENCE: No comment. STEVE JONES: I'm sure
I had ADD back then. But that would make me
focus like crazy. AUDIENCE: Then did you continue
that intensity through your whole
Sex Pistols? Do you still play the guitar? STEVE JONES: Do I still
play guitar? AUDIENCE: Yeah, do you still
practice intensely? STEVE JONES: No. You're kidding me. I couldn't care less. I got acoustic that I
play now and again. My thing is to figure out
more chords, Beatle chords, awkward ones. That's what I like doing
now, in my old age. TIM QUIRK: Next. AUDIENCE: What band did your
favorite cover of "Anarchy?" STEVE JONES: Whose version did
I like best, you mean? AUDIENCE: Whose version, yeah. STEVE JONES: Of "Anarchy?" AUDIENCE: I mean, besides
your own. Megadeath? STEVE JONES: No, I played
on that one as well. AUDIENCE: Nice. STEVE JONES: I didn't really
like any of them, to be honest with you. [LAUGHTER] AUDIENCE: OK, that's
a valid answer. TIM QUIRK: Another one. AUDIENCE: When you were still
first starting out, and you had all this stolen equipment,
were you ever afraid at a gig that someone was going
to be like, hey man, that's my drum kit. STEVE JONES: No, I never
thought about it. I was naive. AUDIENCE: Wasn't there some
crazy story about when you guys were auditioning Johnny in
Malcolm's shop and he was fucking around, and fucking
up horribly. And Malcolm was like, tell him
to cut that shit out, or I'm going to kill him. STEVE JONES: No, he
didn't say that. AUDIENCE: No? STEVE JONES: I don't know
where you heard that. I was there. AUDIENCE: Yeah. [LAUGHTER] AUDIENCE: And I think you
narrated a movie about this crazy football match in a town, where the town is divided. And there's a ball, and they try
to get the football from one side of the town
to the other. STEVE JONES: Where'd
you hear that? AUDIENCE: A friend of
mine produced it. STEVE JONES: But they didn't
use my voice in there. Because they recorded
it badly. And I went back there
to re-record. Have you seen it? AUDIENCE: No. STEVE JONES: It was a mad
thing that started. It was two towns, and they'd
have this big ball that looked like a melon. And the goal was to get
it to this one place. It wasn't a football. But you put it– and they used to beat the
shit out of each other. And it was a whole thing. It was a shame really, because I
really liked the idea of it. And I did the voice
over for it. But the guys who recorded it
didn't record it right. And they wanted me
to re-record it. And I went down. And they told me they had
to cut the lines they wanted me to do. And they were bullshitting me. And I don't like being
bullshitted. And basically they wanted me to
do the whole thing again. What are you nodding for? You're saying, no,
that [INAUDIBLE]. And that's my manager,
by the way. And so, if they would have said
that, I would have done it, gladly. But they messed it up. They tried to con me into
doing it, so I didn't end up doing it. AUDIENCE: You want me
to talk to them? STEVE JONES: No, I think they
used someone else in the end, because I didn't do it. I left. AUDIENCE: Well that's
why I didn't see it. Because I found out
it wasn't actually you doing the narration. I protested it. STEVE JONES: Shame. TIM QUIRK: We got another
question. AUDIENCE: I saw you play
in the mid '90s with Neurotic Outsiders. And I thought it was a
really cool project. I wondered if you could talk
a little about that collaboration with the guys from
Guns N' Roses and John Taylor from Duran Duran. STEVE JONES: Yeah that was like
'95, '96 we started up. We were doing these shows
at the Viper Room every Monday night. And it just starting
as a loose thing. Me and John Taylor
were friends. Ralph, I met a few times. And Matt Sorum, the
drummer, we knew. Actually it was a benefit for
someone, on a Monday night at the Viper Room. We continued to do it. It turned into this thing. And then [INAUDIBLE] from [INAUDIBLE], who was
working at Maverick at the time, signed us, gave
us $1 million. Can you believe that? That would never happen now. Give you a million pesos. So we did a record. And unfortunately we weren't
really there to promote it. I was doing the Sex
Pistols tour. [INAUDIBLE] was getting word that
Guns N' Roses was getting back together. And so it kind of all fell
apart, which was a shame. I think we could have gotten
more mileage out it if we would have paid more
attention to it. It's just one of them things. It's a good record produced
by the guy from– what's his name? AUDIENCE: Elton John? [LAUGHTER] STEVE JONES: No, Elton
John plays like this. What was his name? AUDIENCE: Billy Joel. STEVE JONES: No. He's not a keyboard player. He was in– aww fuck. AUDIENCE: Ray Charles. STEVE JONES: No. Hold on. This drives me crazy,
this stuff. Jerry Harrison. TIM QUIRK: Oh, Talking Heads. STEVE JONES: Talking Heads. He produced it. He did play a bit of
keyboard, right? OK, good. It was fun project, that. TIM QUIRK: OK, so
as we finish– STEVE JONES: Hold on. TIM QUIRK: Another question. AUDIENCE: I'm not sure if I
heard this right or not, but during the Olympics, they were
playing Sex Pistols. What do you think about that? STEVE JONES: Well,
unfortunately, in America you didn't get to see it, because
NBC cut it out. AUDIENCE: Right. But the crowds were there. That's the bottom line. STEVE JONES: Well everyone
else in the world saw it, except in America. TIM QUIRK: I assume it wasn't
"God Save the Queen?" STEVE JONES: "God Save the
Queen" was in the beginning, just before the lyrics started,
when it was going down the river. But in the actual show, there
was a bit where they actually spent about a minute and a half,
a minute seven, where the whole thing stopped and it
started and they use an old footage of us. And they did a whole number. I still haven't seen it. But your question is, what
did I think about it? I think it was great. AUDIENCE: That's what
I'm thinking. It's amazing. Here you are. This band that came out there,
like you said, made these songs, didn't know what
you were really doing. But just did it with this
inspiration, just energy, that's all it's really about–
energy and having a good time. But then it's like years later,
the social media, whatever, we never said, hey
these guys, they're rock stars, or whatever. You were the underdog
for a long time. But then over the years, because
of the steady fan base, and the young kids
listening to what their dads listen to, and whatnot,
it's just bam. Great inspiration. STEVE JONES: Thank you. I think that scenario will
probably never happen again. It was only purely through Danny
Boyle, his insight of the history of England. Basically that's what the
opening ceremony was about. I hated listening to it in
America, with these idiots talking, joking. They didn't even know what
they were talking about, whoever the interviewers were. Do you agree? Did you see? Oh, it was horrible. I know. Just spoiling it. TIM QUIRK: So I take it if– well, let me ask. Mick Jagger got knighted. If you were offered a
knighthood, would you take it? STEVE JONES: No. TIM QUIRK: All right. STEVE JONES: I don't think so. TIM QUIRK: Ah. There's a chance. [LAUGHTER] STEVE JONES: I couldn't
face myself to do it, I don't think. Even if I wanted to in the back
of my mind, Sir Steve Jones, I don't think
it would be. Do you get any benefits
from it? TIM QUIRK: I know nothing
about it. STEVE JONES: Health insurance. TIM QUIRK: Everybody
calls you sir. STEVE JONES: I heard that Ben
Kingsley gets upset if you don't call him sir. TIM QUIRK: I heard that, too. I don't know if it's true,
but I heard it. STEVE JONES: Well I heard it
too, so it must be true. [LAUGHTER] AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] the
Queen's got a good sense of humor, though. STEVE JONES: I thought it was
great that she actually– I thought it was one of them
look-alike Queens with the James Bond guy in the
Buckingham Palace. I thought that was outrageous. That would never have happened
20 years ago. AUDIENCE: Then they had
that one where she jumped out of a plane. STEVE JONES: Well
that wasn't her. TIM QUIRK: All right. So let's finish up here, with
it's a 35 years ago, around about maybe a month from now,
Sex Pistols released this lean, mean, Never Mind the
Bollocks, changed the world. And now it's being reissued as
a deluxe box set, four discs, a whole bunch of
other goodies. Tell the world why they should
buy the reissue. STEVE JONES: I don't want
to tell them to go out and buy it. No, I'm kidding. No it's, like I said, basically
it's one album we did, which is an achievement
in itself. We were together for like
three years, right? One album. I think that, in itself, I liked
the fact that that is it, and not 10 albums. But this Universal, I think
they're doing a great job. They've dug up all this
other stuff that I didn't even know existed. If you're a fan– if I'm a fan of something, even
though it's like, oh, but I've kind of got it all,
I still want it. You don't have to buy it. No one's forcing
you to buy it. There is some funny
stuff on there. For me, I don't know if anyone
is going to be interested, but it's me and Paul Cook screaming
at each other for about minute. I thought that was the funniest thing I've ever heard. There's a bunch of outtakes. If you're into the band,
you'll enjoy it. And it looks pretty. There's a bunch of pictures that
I've never seen before. TIM QUIRK: All right, thank
you very much, sir. STEVE JONES: Hold on. [APPLAUSE] STEVE JONES: I'm Jonesy's
Jukebox Twitter and Jonesy's Jukebox instagram. I'm no longer on Facebook. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]

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