The Pistols imploded in San Francisco, in January 1978, and amongst other things Steve formed The Professionals with Paul, before eventually ending up in LA, addicted to heroin and generally wasting his talent on the Sunset Strip's glam rock scene. Sure, he did some great stuff with Iggy Pop, providing guitar on the much underrated Instinct album, but for every hit their were numerous misses. A couple of mediocre solo albums didn't help. He described himself at the time as “a lost soul”, strung out and unhappy.
So maybe it's not what he was but what he became that made Steve Jones so cool. Clean of drugs and booze for over 20 years, he began hosting the brilliant radio show Jonesy's Jukebox in 2004, playing whatever the hell he wanted – from punk to disco – and interviewing everyone from Gary Oldman and Ray Winstone to Josh Homme and Cliff Richard, often in the most hilarious fashion. That he spends much of his time giggling and talking in Cockney rhyming slang (on a show based in LA) just makes it all the more amusing.
While Johnny Rotten became a belligerent caricature, obnoxious for the sake of it, Steve Jones became, in a way, our favourite uncle, refreshingly honest and unassuming. Still not giving a fuck, but caring.
His warts'n'all autobiography, Lonely Boy, is a must-have, not just for the true story of the Sex Pistols, but for its tale of redemption – from a terrible upbringing as an abused child to a contented life in the LA sunshine. He still rides his Harley to work, and although he doesn't play guitar much these days – aside from acoustic on his often hysterically funny Instagram page – he makes it count when he does. He played Lemmy's 70th birthday party in 2015. Enough said.
Directly influencing everyone from Nirvana and Soundgarden to Discharge, The Clash, Joy Division, Oasis, Green Day, Guns N' Roses – well, it's probably easier to name the bands he didn't influence – Jonesy probably never expected to live this long. But we're glad he did. Happy birthday, sir!
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