Sex Pistols - Holidays In The Sun
I shave my hair grade 3 at the sides. I was reading the blurb for your book – it describes you as being a “street urchin” when you were growing up. What did your mates from those times make of punk rock, and your transition into being a spearhead for it?
Obviously one of me best mates was Cooky [Pistols drummer Paul Cook]; he came along for the ride. There were a couple of other blokes; one of them’s dead now, one I don’t talk to. I think they were kind of envious and didn’t embrace my success. But that sort of jealousy is common when you’re young – 20 years old, 19, 18, whatever. Another guy I kept around was called Jimmy Mackin, he was a big guy so I wanted him to help us out when we did live shows. But he killed himself.
Shit, I’m sorry.
But is that what you mean? Is that what the question was?
Yeah, I guess so… just that transition, I can’t really imagine it today – a kid growing up in a not-particularly-opulent part of London and forming an incredibly successful rock 'n roll band. It doesn’t seem to happen any more.
Yeah, I guess so. There’s always people creating, the trouble today is there’s so much… stuff. You’re bombarded with a million things coming at you all at once. It’s hard to absorb things for a period of time; you’re over it after ten minutes and it’s on to the next thing, you know? Back then, technology wasn’t what it was: you still only had three channels on the TV and the only way you’d get to see or hear about a band was in NME or on Top of the Pops. So you had plenty of time to focus on what you liked and figure out what you didn’t.
So you think it’s a question of people not being bored enough?
Yeah, exactly. There’s just too much… stuff out there. For me, anyway – I don’t know how young people think. You’ve got your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, blah blah blah. Don’t get me wrong, I like iTunes, but the fact that you can just get something at the drop of a hat, you don’t have to go milling around record shops and all that – that was great at the time but I like the convenience of technology. I don’t nick me music, I still buy it on iTunes. What do you think about that? Do you think it’s right, to thieve music?
It feels to me like it’s gone too far in that direction…
Do you think there’s a way of wrangling it back, then? I mean you don’t make any money. Spotify, iTunes: they give you peanuts. It’s just as bad as classic, old, big record companies, though it’ll never go back to those days when they had governance, they’re over. But I do believe you should get paid to create music. I do believe you shouldn’t just accept the fact you’re not gonna make money from it cos everyone’s gonna nick it.
How do those feelings tie in with the release of this 40th anniversary edition of the Sex Pistols’ debut album?
Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know, mate! It’s just another fucking 40 years later thing, isn’t it? I don’t quite get the whole concept of 40 years, 50 years, 60 years [anniversaries]… There are a few bits on this new thing that are pretty good; there’s the DVD part of it and if you’re a fan I guess you like that stuff. I don’t really know what else to talk about with that other than, I guess, if you’re a fan of the Beatles, you get all their stuff; if you’re a fan of the Rolling Stones… [long pause] Is it worth it? I don’t know the answer and I don’t really care.
How much enthusiasm would you say you have left for talking about anything related to the Sex Pistols?
Oh, none. I’m fucking knackered.
Do you wanna talk about something else?
Nah, I mean, I dunno what you need for the piece but… I mean how long can you keep just talking over the same old shit, you know?
Go on, ask me a question, let’s see what you got.