Steve Jones, guitarist with the Sex Pistols, has written his memoir to
coincide with the 30th anniversary of the release of the band's first album,
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols. Here, he reveals the brief
but impactful two-year history of the English punk band from the inside out.
What tumbles from his pen is a tale of familial abuse, drug addiction,
alcoholism, dysfunctional band members, and ultimately the breakup of the
band. Jones is more than honest about his life and hides nothing. But what
seems to emerge is someone who at times seems more entertained by the bad
stuff he did in his life rather than be horrified by it. He apologizes, but
it doesn't seem sincere. That may not have been his focus at all--he may
well be absolutely sorry for stealing from his friends, treating women like
animals, and just generally acting like a monster, but that's what comes
through the writing--intended or not.
In one section, Jones talks about wearing a T-shirt with a swastika on it.
He says, "I hadn't really got my head around the concept of the
concentration camps by the time the Sex Pistols were happening--history
being one of the many subjects at school I didn't pay attention to--so to
me Vivienne's 'Destroy" t-shirts with swastikas on were just about being
He writes off the whole horrific spectacle of wearing a T-shirt with such an
ugly symbol on it because he was a failure at school. That hardly seems like
an apology. He then writes, "Every time I see that, it makes me cringe. It
was weird, really, because I'm not a racist and never have been...I'd done
the progressive phase and the manager of Poco phase, so the Nazi phase was
the logical next step."
That's like saying that because you've made a withdrawal from the bank, it
now makes sense to rob a liquor store.
In any event, it's an interesting book even if the main subject comes off as
a very unlikeable character. Any fan of the Sex Pistols should read this.