Steve Jones on Sex Pistols’ Glam-Rock Roots
Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones looked back warmly at his love for ‘70s British glam-rock and discussed how it bled into the punk legends' only studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks.
He identified what he felt was the best year for music in a new interview with Forbes, previewing the premiere of the TV miniseries Pistol, which is based on his memoir of the band’s life and times.
"I was a big fan of Roxy Music and David Bowie, glam," Jones said. “That was a big thing for me. … To me, Rod Stewart and the Faces were, like, glam. They were colorful. I loved the Faces, Mott the Hoople, Slade. ... That was the best time. Around ’72 was the sweet spot in music. I was really grateful and lucky to be a teenager around that time, and that resulted in basically the way I wanted to emulate playing guitar.”
He insisted that he and drummer Paul Cook “meant business” when they recorded the backing tracks for 1977's Never Mind the Bollocks. "If you notice, the Sex Pistols tracks [are] not very fast; they're played with a lot of angst, but they're not crazy fast, like a lot of punk bands did after that," he explained. "They're basically rock beats."
The guitarist hailed John Lydon’s “lyrics and style of singing,” which made the LP sound “a lot different” to anything that was around at the time, noting the record was "just one of them magic moments." But he admitted it was a also “relief” to lay down Sid Vicious’ bass tracks since the notorious character who replaced Glen Matlock was effectively unable to play his instrument. "Sid was unavailable; he was in hospital. … So it made it a lot easier for me to say, ‘Look, Sid, leave it out. I'll just play.’ It worked out for the best, I think.'"
Jones repeated his assertion that the Pistols’ infamous TV interview with Bill Grundy marked the beginning of their demise. "As much as it shot us into another level, on a household name kind of thing … it was too much too soon," he said. "In hindsight, we definitely wrote obviously our best songs when Glen was in the band. But that wasn't meant to be, and you can't change that. I was sick of the band at the end when we finished. … It was just too much, as you will see in the series.”
Pistol premieres today on FX.