Sex Pistols' Steve Jones, Just Saying No

Pioneering punk band the Sex Pistols will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Monday night — but the surviving members of the band, perhaps in true punk style, are refusing to attend. Madeleine Brand speaks with former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, now a popular disk jockey at a Los Angeles radio station, about why the band has promised to be a no-show.

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Tonight, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct Miles Davis, Black Sabbath, Blondie, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Herb Alpert, and Jerry Moss and the Sex Pistols. But the Sex Pistols will not take the stage at New York's Waldorf Astoria tonight. In a handwritten statement, lead singer Johnnie Lydon, a.k.a. Johnny Rotten, essentially called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rubbish.

Steve Jones is the Pistols' guitarist, and host of his own radio show here in Los Angeles. Earlier, he stopped by our studios and read from that statement.

Mr. STEVE JONES (Guitarist, Sex Pistols): "Next to the Sex Pistols, rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain. Your museum, urine in wine." Ain't I nice to say it?

BRAND: That looks like poetry.

Mr. JONES: I tell you, there's a song right here. I should put music to this. It would be good.

BRAND: Yeah. So, tell me why you didn't, you're saying no to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You're not going to go to the award ceremony.

Mr. JONES: A few other people have said it. You know, once you want to be put in a museum, rock and roll is over. You know, it's not voted by fans. It's voted by people who induct you, or others, people who are already in it. I'm not even sure, but whoever voted, I just don't think they could have said no anymore. I don't think they really do want us in there, to be honest with you.

BRAND: You had Johnny Lydon on your show, and he said something along the lines of, well, back when you were playing, and you were the Sex Pistols, the record industry didn't want to have anything to do with you. And so now, you know, why would you want to have anything to do with them?

Mr. JONES: Well, when we first started, we were the ones basically calling the shots, because the record industry didn't know what to do with us. They didn't know what it was, because they, it wasn't something you can bottle up, like Green Day, like you can now. Oh, we know where to put that, like every record label wants their next big thing. You know?

But, you know, when we got slung off of A&M for causing a ruckus, they thought it was basically an act. Like, we were nice boys in doing this act, you know. But we just was horrible kids, I suppose. It's like our band. It's our music. This is how we're going to do it. Like it or lump it, you know?

BRAND: So you will, in absentia, be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Mr. JONES: As far as I know.

BRAND: Yeah. So you can't really do anything about it. Does that make you...

Mr. JONES: You can't loose.

BRAND: Yeah.

Mr. JONES: You've got your credibility, and then you get in as well.

BRAND: So, win-win. It's sounds pretty corporate to say that.

Mr. JONES: Yeah.

BRAND: Are you touring?

Mr. JONES: No.

BRAND: No? I've heard that you might do a reunion tour.

Mr. JONES: Well, you never know. It all depends.

BRAND: On?

Mr. JONES: The dollar, of course.

BRAND: Do you get a lot of money from residuals?

Mr. JONES: I do all right.

BRAND: Yeah? So, from basically one album.

Mr. JONES: Yes. Which is another, that's a first, I think, in that hall of fame. I don't think they have anyone in there with one album.

BRAND: Well, congratulations, I guess.

Mr. JONES: Yeah.

BRAND: Maybe I shouldn't congratulate. Should I congratulate?

Mr. JONES: I don't care. It's all right. It's all right. Whatever's, you know, everyone, we're not making a big deal out of it. I don't want to be like harping on about we're so angry at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If we don't care, then we don't care. You know what I mean? I shouldn't even be talking to you right now telling you that we don't care, because it's kind of contradictory.

BRAND: Hmm.

Mr. JONES: You know what I mean? There's the statement, and that's it, right there.

BRAND: Steve Jones, thank you so much.

Mr. JONES: Thank you, love.

BRAND: Steve Jones is the guitarist for the Sex Pistols. The band will be inducted tonight into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

(Sound bite of "Anarchy in the U.K." by the Sex Pistols)

BRAND: NPR's DAY TO DAY continues.

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