Lonely Boy: Tales of a Sex Pistol – Steve Jones (DaCapo Press)
The memory is vivid. Cracking the shrink wrap on the bright album cover and the sense that I was somehow doing something illicit as I place the record on the turntable and drop the needle into the grooves and I am met with a sheer, raw, sonic intensity that has seldom been matched. The album was the one and only studio outing by the Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols.
So much had been written and said about these four scraggly British punks that I didn’t know quite what to expect and yet they somehow managed to deliver a sledgehammer musical blow in these short, chainsaw styled songs. Much of the force behind those songs came from the slashing guitar of Steve Jones as he propelled the music forward that matched the vitriol spewed forth by frontman Johnny Rotten (Lydon).
Never before, and not since, had the world of rock ‘n’ roll been so influenced by such a flash in the pan group. The roots, the formation and the ultimate destruction of the Sex Pistols is front and center in Jones’ new biography Lonely Boy: Tales of a Sex Pistol.
Lonely Boy, is everything you’d expect; a rocket propelled journey through Jones’ checkered past from his hardscrabble childhood, his obsessive and varied sexual exploits, his criminal past and the fireball existence of the band that made him famous. To say the Jones has not lead a “normal” life is a radical understatement, his approach to life has an X-Games quality, extreme to the max.
Lonely Boy, is a times confessional, at others profane, it is often laugh out loud funny and on more than one downright sad. There is an unexpected level of emotion and honesty I can’t say I was expecting from Jones. While at times it reads like a jumbled mess, Lonely Boy actually has a relatively coherent and steady chronology as it progresses. While it features everything you’d expect from a rock star bio, it avoids the pitfall of becoming a cliché.