As part of a 2005 interview, Entertainment Weekly caught up with one of the most notable guitarists of a generation, mostly because of his seemingly strong interest in indulging in as little guitar works as possible. Of course, we’re talking about Sex Pistols’ leading guitar man, Steve Jones.
A founding member of the punk outfit which would go on to define a generation, Steve Jones remains a stalwart of the music scene, as authentic and unrelenting as he always was, Jones is the real deal. A punk forever.
When in 2005, EW caught up with him they had one question that was burning on their lips, what were the albums, or more retro-brilliantly, which CDs, the legendary Sex Pistols guitarist would recommend to any music fans out there, his most essential records. His choices aren’t exactly the hallmark of a notorious hellraiser.
No, in fact, Jones picks an array of artists, from British indie heroes Supergrass to the ’50s pop idol Billy Fury to the antithesis of the Sex Pistols ethos, Cliff Richard. While Richard may seem like the direct opposite of Jones, but he represents a route to the past for the Pistols’ guitarist, ”England’s version of Elvis. People think he’s a nerd because he [hardly] drank or anything, but his voice warms me cockles. Reminds me of a more innocent time. [Sighs]”.
There’s also room on the list for two entries from Jones’ glam rock past. Like many kids in London during the early seventies, Jones was swept up in the glittering shine of Bowie and Roxy Music. Bryan Ferry’s Roxy Music played a vital part in the musical education of Jones, ”I adored Roxy Music when I was 13. . . .I remember studying their photo for hours and wondering where they got their clothes.” It’s a sentiment that would keep Jones in the best rockstar clothes for years.
Roxy Music played their part but it was Bowie’s introduction of Ziggy Stardust in ’72 that was a seminal moment for British music and Jones himself, ”This album is what got me into music when I was a teenager. Every song is amazing.”
It wouldn’t be the last time the pair’s paths crossed. Jones was reportedly responsible for stealing Mick Ronson’s white Les Paul guitar when Bowie and his band left their gear in the Hammersmith Apollo, just a quick jaunt away from the flat Jones shared with Sex Pistol Paul Cook.
While Jones does pick a couple of newer artists, one being Swedish band (and FIFA stalwarts) Caesars, and the other being The Wedding Present who Jones wrongly says is a new band in town. They’ve actually been around since the eighties but were back in the scene during the early-noughties. Most of the artists are from Jones’ own era of rock, from stadium rock Gods Queen to reggae legend Ken Boothe.
Jones naturally would also add his own band to the list of essential albums. Avoiding the classic Never Mind the Bollocks…, Jones instead suggests The Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Swindle, saying, ”It’s the only legit album put out by the Sex Pistols, and the soundtrack to the movie… Hey, at least I put it second instead of first.” It all makes for an unstoppable playlist and one which has many troughs and peaks.
Read the full list below and listen to the perfect playlist below that. get ready to be dumfounded as you try to figure out how Steve Jones, the lead guitarist for the most ferocious punk band ever, somehow, managed to pick Queen as one of his most essential albums.
Paper Tigers, Caesars, 2005 (Astralwerks)
The Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Swindle, Sex Pistols, 1979 (EMI)
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, David Bowie, 1972 (Virgin)
Roxy Music, Roxy Music, 1972 (Virgin)
Supergrass Is 10: The Best of 94-04, Supergrass, 2004 (Capitol)
Crying Over You: Anthology 1963-1978, Ken Boothe, 2001 (Trojan)
The Whole Story: His Greatest Hits, Cliff Richard, 2004 (EMI)
The Billy Fury Hit Parade, Billy Fury, 1982 (London)
A Nod Is as Good as a Wink. . .to a Blind Horse, The Faces, 1971 (Warner Bros.)
Queen, Queen, 1973 (Hollywood)
Take Fountain, The Wedding Present, 2005 (Manifesto)
You Are the Quarry, Morrissey, 2004 (Sanctuary/Attack)
Source: Entertainment Weekly