Never Mind The Bollocks, Steve’s here for the booze and the birds. Legendary guitarist Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols celebrates his birthday next week. Recently rumoured to being the next Stooges guitarist, to mark the occasion, we look back on his contribution to one of the most influential bands of the twentieth century, his love of the ladies, and his lifelong rock ‘n’ roll behaviour.
1. Stephen Philip Jones – born 03/09/55 in Shepherd’s Bush, London.
2. He was an only child and grew up in Hammersmith with his young hairdresser mother and grandparents. His father was an amateur boxer who left when he was 2 years old. Moved to Shepherd’s Bush at the age of 12 with his mum and stepdad, who he didn’t get on with.
3. As a teenager, he was a kleptomaniac with 14 criminal convictions and was the subject of a council care order. Spent a year in a remand centre, which he says he preferred to being at home. Was a member of the QPR hooligan firm where he picked up more convictions for football related disorders. Admitted recently that he went to football games for the ‘aggro’ rather than the game. Says that the Sex Pistols saved him from a life of crime.
4. His main influences were Iggy & The Stooges, Roxy Music & David Bowie, and guitar-wise he looked up to Brian May and Mick Ronson.
5. Co-founded a band called The Strand with Paul Cook and re-named themselves The Swankers before forming the Sex Pistols several years later.
Steve Jones, far right, in The Sex Pistols
6. Founding member of the Sex Pistols (guitarist/singer) in 1975. Only learnt how to play guitar 3 months before the Sex Pistols’ first show. They only released one album, ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’, but became one of the most influential bands of the 20th century.
7. Self taught guitarist, usually playing Gibson Les Paul guitars. His usual was a cream coloured electric guitar which he apparently stole from Mick Ronson at a David Bowie concert where he and the rest of the band posed as crew members, stealing amps and other equipment. Well known for his stealing ability, but apparently couldn’t read or write.
8. Sprayed ‘Sex Pistols’ and ‘Guitar Hero’ on his Fender amp. It’s rumoured that he coined the phrase ‘Guitar Hero’.
9. Bill Price, the engineer on ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’, said that Jones was one of the tightest guitarists he’d ever worked with.
10. Jones became well known for his ‘hanky on the head’ and permanent perm.
11. Shared Johnny Rotten’s extreme dislike for Sid Vicious’ girlfriend Nancy and referred to her as "that fucking horrible bird".
12. Became part of one of the most controversial moments in British UK history, when he called Bill Grundy "a dirty fucker" and a "fucking rotter" on the Today programme in 1976. Made Sex Pistols famous nationwide.
13. Apparently vomited on old ladies in Heathrow Airport. This, along with other questionable behaviour from the rest of the band, caused EMI to release them for their contract several days later.
14. Admitted that he was in the band for "the birds, the booze and the piss-ups", and was well known for his wild sex life. It’s rumoured that he slept with five girls in one night.
15. After the Sex Pistols split up in 1978, Jones and drummer Paul Cook co-founded The Professionals. Their one and only album was ‘I Didn’t See It Coming’ and the band split up after a serious car crash on tour in the US in 1981. While they were together, they turned down dates supporting The Clash. Paul Cook commented, "Why should we support them, when they used to support us (Sex Pistols)?"
Steve Jones, centre, in The Professionals
16. Formed several bands – The Greedy Bastards with members of Thin Lizzy, Chequered Past with ex-members of Blondie and the Neurotic Outsiders with members of Guns and Roses and Duran Duran. None of these ever produced more than one album.
17. Acquired a heroin habit which led him on a downward spiral. He would sleep on people’s sofas, steal from them, and then move on. He was then hospitalised in New York due to ‘health problems’.
18. He cleaned up his act in 1985 and became party of the LA biker scene. He rode a Harley Davidson until they brought in helmet laws, which he refused to wear.
19. He’s had an extensive solo career releasing 2 solo albums on majors including the pretty good Fire and Gasoline album and single Freedom Fighter and has played guitar with or for Siouxsie and the Banshees, Gen X, Thin Lizzy, Joan Jett, Adam Ant, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Megadeth, Primal Scream, Stone Temple Pilots and many more.
20. He guest starred on TV sitcom Roseanne.
21. He has produced albums for bands such as Kraut, Violent Delight and American Pearl.
22. Played several reunion tours with the Sex Pistols, which sold out in five minutes.
23. He has lived in LA for 27 years and has no plans to leave. He plays in a celebrity football team called Hollywood United FC. Previous players have included Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham.
24. Hosted a daily radio programme in LA called ‘Jonesy’s Jukebox’ on Indie 103.1FM from February 2004 until January 2009. The programme was on for two hours between midday and 2pm Monday to Friday, where he had no direction from station management, played a mixture of his own favourite songs, and did rambling and humorous interviews with guests from the entertainment industry. Did a feature where he’d whistle tunes and get people to guess them. The radio station was closed down in January 2009 and he is currently looking for a new radio station to do his show on. He names his radio influence as John Peel, but states that he has "probably had more birds than him".
25. He has done some acting, including a small part in a film called The Big Bounce with his friend Owen Wilson. He says he has no interest in acting but it brings in money.Hook and the Clashs Paul Simonon and RAY wINSTONEe also starred in ‘Ladies and Gentlemen-the Fabulous Stains’ with fellow Pistol Paul Cook and the Clashs Paul Simonon and Ray Winstone. They played several Professionals songs
26. He has never married or had kids, but in an interview in 2004, he said he would love to have a child to ‘keep the legacy going’, but he doesn’t want to be tied down in a relationship.