Will the Sex Pistols play again?
"I see no reason."
Well, people want to hear you.
"That’s fine, they can put the record on. They don’t have to go through the painful, painful scenarios that we’ve had to endure as people with each other. We’d rather be friends than enemies, and I guarantee you that we’d be enemies within 30 seconds of going on tour. And you just can’t inflict that on human beings. It’s too tragic. And I get on really well now with Paul [Cook, drummer] and why not? We really are good mates, as we should be."
The Pistols played a joyous concert in Huddersfield on Christmas Day 1977 and were broken up less than a month later. What happened?
"Well, you got the horrid scenario with Sid [Vicious, heroin-addicted bass player], you’ve got the dreadful Nancy scenario [Nancy Spungen, Sid’s heroin-addicted girlfriend], you’ve got the dreadful Malcolm-in-hibernation scenario, and you’ve got me, Steve [Jones, guitarist] and Paul not talking scenario. And we’re all on the road in America! That’s almost guaranteed not to work. I was always ‘yippee aye ow!’ about being in America. I spent our tour of America just staring out of the window and looking at the landscape. Towns like Tucson, Arizona, had a great romance to me, because of my dad’s love of cowboy films. The others had no aptitude for that at all, so we were living completely different lives. And, again, we were being poisoned by the corrosive management who were spreading innuendo, rumours and lies. It was ugliness personified really, when it should have been about us all getting along with each other."
Famously, your final words at what became the last Pistols gig for 18 years were “ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” What exactly did you mean by that?
"That was how I felt."
But did you mean that you had been cheated, the audience had, or both?
"I meant that all of us had been cheated. All of us. I meant that this had become a Rolling Stones fiasco where everyone should be doing better. It was just a monumental fiasco of couldn’t-care-less. I wanted commitment. They were asking what the fuss was about. Well the fuss was about the fact that I meant what I said, and I still do. My music means a lot to me."
How are your eyes? Apparently they’re in bad shape?
"Oh they’re terrible. On tour it’s like I’m playing while looking through cotton wool. But I’m dealing with another situation that’s even more important than this, so I haven’t yet had the time to get them fixed. I’m well used to walking into doors, put it that way."
May I ask what this other situation is?
"No, I cannot go into it. But as usual my life is never easy. What I do know is that you’ve got to take care of the people that are around you."
Are you a happy person?
"Generally speaking, yes I think I am. I love humour and I find that it answers most of life’s problems. I think without humour I’d never have endured all this. You can’t do this deadpan. That doesn’t work. And as long as you know that if you put two or more human beings together you’re going to get a fiasco, everything will be fine."
Interview originally published in July 2018.
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