“The Sex Pistols were Born to Crash and Burn, and That’s Exactly What We Did” – in Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol by Steve Jones
When a person’s personality spills out on the pages of their memoir, I eat it up. And Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol by Steve Jones is a perfect example. It is as if the famed guitarist taped himself recording for hours and then put it to paper. With the same fierce energy as the songs of the band he would form, Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol should be considered a must-read for any punk rock fan.
It’s no fairy tale, the story of Steve Jones. His past is dark, and he doesn’t sugarcoat it. What’s refreshing is the appreciation he has for how life unfolded and how the terrible things led to good things. A father who leaves, a neglectful mother, and a sexually abusive step-father – he coped with music which helped him form the band the Sex Pistols. That, plus drugs, alcohol, and thievery (of course).
Beyond the obvious historical significant moments like the band’s formation, you will get plenty of gritty details like his honest thoughts about Sid Vicious and the moment when the Pistols appeared on Bill Grundy’s Today show which resulted in the classic “Filth and Fury” headline that helped spread punk rock like a plague across the world. And you’ll be happy to know Steve Jones reveals plenty about the band’s relationship with its manager, Malcolm McLaren, both good and bad. This includes Johnny Rotten’s role in helping the band get their due regarding money.
To note, throughout the book, Steve Jones seems to tell how the punk rock genre was started while also casting aside the stereotypical things punk became known for years later. For instance, he wanted money and liked big record companies, and appreciated that fashion was open and didn’t have strict rules to abide by. This understanding of punk in wanting it to be an open question rather than fitting a mold meant you had freedom. In other words, you didn’t have to have to be this or that, OR have this opinion or that opinion to be punk according to Steve Jones. It’s certainly an interesting take from one of the founders of the Sex Pistols.
Like most punks – Steve Jones dealt with addiction. Before the book ends, he illustrates how he gets sober and the challenges he overcame. The story of his sobriety is inspiring, of course, and I particularly love how one of the things he creates after getting clean is Jonesy’s Jukebox, a top radio station in L.A. turned podcast (listen to old episodes at jonesysjukebox.com). From an infamous band that changed the world to a stellar radio show, it’s easy to say that Steve Jones has had a life filled with anarchy and creation. A punk life, indeed.
If you consider the Sex Pistols one of your favorite punk rock bands, you should read the book. If you consider yourself a punk, you showed read the book. If you consider yourself … – you know what, never mind the bollocks, just read the f**king book – Lonely Boy: Tales of a Sex Pistol by Steve Jones.