Ask anyone who knows about music, and they'll tell you: Without Steve Jones punk rock would not exist. This is not hyperbole. No Steve Jones, no punk rock. Period. The prototypical street urchin turned Sex Pistols guitarist was the sole inspiration and creator of the punk movement that began shaking the culture in late 1970s London and is just as strong today.
A pervasive air of gloom and coal smoke hangs over Jones' memoir, Lonely Boy, which is set mostly in working-class London of the '60s and '70s. For the first time ever, he'll illustrate a moment in time when the actions of a loose association of people became the full-fledged punk scene we know so well today. Legendary artist and trendsetter Malcolm McLaren took in the young Jones after noticing him hanging around the sex boutique McLaren owned with his then girlfriend, Vivienne Westwood, on Kings Road in Chelsea. By then Jones was basically homeless, stealing anything and everything to support himself and scratch his itch for theft. He would frequently pop in to McLaren's legendary shop. McLaren was so fascinated by Jones' rough background, wardrobe choices, attitude toward authority, and general aura that he created a cultural movement around it. And so the Sex Pistols, and with them punk rock, was born.
Included in the audiobook are never before told stories of sexual abuse Steve suffered at the hands of his stepfather, stories of petty crime and acts of perversion he perpetrated as a young boy in London, the sadness of never knowing his real father (and then meeting him in a tale that bookends this narrative nicely), the early days as a Pistol, breaking into the music business, and how the hell a band with one album meant so much to so many people. Jones will also bring listeners up to speed on his more recent exploits, such as hosting a legendary radio show on KROQ, Jonesy's Jukebox; beginning an acting career by playing Krull on Showtime's Californication; his recovery from both sexual and substance addictions; and his attempts to fall in with the hair metal crowd of the Sunset Strip in the 1980s.
You may be asking why Steve has waited until now to write his memoir, and you wouldn't be wrong in asking that. The thing is, I'm not sure we have a good answer. He just feels like now is the time, that most of what he wants to and will achieve in his life has happened, and his current existence lends itself to reflection and sharing. He hopes to do that with listeners the world over. There's also still an intense appetite for punk rock everywhere you look, and he'd like to educate some young people on where it all started, from the guy who inspired the whole scene.
No topic is off limits in this grimy, streetwise memoir.
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Top 5 of all time.
The stories of his childhood, dealing with re-hab, and his struggle with the band.
His delivery was perfection. All of those years of radio prepared him well. It was honest, authentic and credible.
My extreme reaction was addiction. I couldn't turn it off until I finished it. I was humbled by his honesty and touched by his recovery.
I'm still reeling from how incredible this book was. I'm trying to determine whether or not I'm surprised. He's always been an incredibly unique and talented character, whether it be from the standpoint of a musician, actor, radio personality and now author....so I suppose it is in his blood. I loved it though...I really, truly loved it.
I pre-ordered the audio version from Audible.com. Hearing him tell his own story, accent and rhyming slang included, makes the book all that more authentic and credible.
I started at 4 in the morning on the date of its release and skipped work to finish it about ten hours later. I couldn't put it down. It is so well written and so well executed. The last book I couldn't put down was "Diary of a Rock n' Roll Star" by Ian Hunter and I was 15 then. That's not to say that I don't read...lol...I finished both Springsteen and Sebastian Bach's books this month. They were both very good, but neither compared to this. It's like the horse that comes in first at the Kentucky Derby...the second and third place finishers were only fractions of a second behind...but the winner seems to be in a class all it's own.
I don't want to give anything away and I had too many favorite parts of Lonely Boy to mention anyway, but I will tell you that he does an amazing job of shining light in the darkest corners of his life and bringing clarity and understanding to a number of crushing events that many of us have experienced in our own lives. All of those parts were really, really cool.
In a nutshell, Steve Jones has a lot of wisdom now...feels kinda funny to say that about a Sex Pistol....but, he does. It hasn’t changed him much on the outside though. He’s still as funny, still as shocking and I imagine will remain as wickedly entertaining until the day that he is ‘Brown Bread’ himself.
Forget giving it a 10...this one goes to 11 for me.
Steve Jones is sublime!
- Myles Matisse