The Sex Pistols were one of the most controversial bands of their time. They shocked the world with their loud music, wild looks, and inappropriate language. In a new interview with guitarist Steve Jones, the rocker reminisces about his time with the band, including when he knew the group was destined to break up.
The Sex Pistols’ infamous interview
Jones performed in the Sex Pistols alongside vocalist John Lydon, famously known as “Johnny Rotten,” drummer Paul Cook, and bass player Glan Matlock. They skyrocketed to fame in the late ‘70s and are still one of the most talked-about bands today, despite only releasing one studio album, 1977’s Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols.
One of the group’s most famous moments is a 1976 TV interview with British journalist Bill Grundy. The Sex Pistols were asked to be on the show after a last-minute cancellation from fellow British band Queen. Their appearance on the live broadcast made headlines due to the language the group used.
The profanity made many people instantly hate the band. But young people flocked to the group, drawn by the rebellious nature of the Sex Pistols and their music. However, even though a lot of people see this as the beginning of their career, Jones saw it as the end.
Why Steve Jones thought the interview was ‘the end’
“To be honest with you, I think that was the end after Bill Grundy,” Jones explained in an interview with Forbes. “As much as [the television appearance] shot us into another level, on a household name kind of thing, I think it was actually the beginning of the end. It was too much too soon.”
Jones also wrote about the incident in his book, Lonely Boy — Tales From A Sex Pistol, describing how the instant fame ruined the band itself.
“Grundy was the big dividing line in the Sex Pistols’ story,” the guitar player wrote. “Before it, we were all about the music, but from then on it was all about the media. In some ways, it was our finest moment, but in others, it was the beginning of the end.”
“In terms of the Sex Pistols having any kind of long-term future, this sudden acceleration was the worst thing that could possibly happened,” he continued. “I still think we’d have got really big in the end without it, but the whole process would have been much slower and maybe less traumatic. I guess it was never our destiny to be a normal band who make a few albums and then fade away. Grundy was definitely the point where everybody’s egos started to spin out.”
The end of the Sex Pistols
Just two years later, the Sex Pistols called it quits. Jones was ready to end things, and the rest of the band was equally exhausted.
“I was sick of the band at the end when we finished the San Francisco [gig in 1978]. I was done.” Jones shared, “I didn’t want anything to do with it. It was just too much.”
Fans of the Sex Pistols remember the group’s Grundy interview fondly, laughing at the bad behavior of the ne’er-do-well band, but it seems as if Jones regrets the infamous TV appearance.