Book Review: Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol

Steve Jones

Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol

A dog-eared tale now frayed around the edges, four Cockney kids are thrown together in perverse London clothes shop by a haberdasher espousing art school politics. Out of their disgust with England's mid-Seventies social decay and rock & roll's increasing irrelevance emerged a sonic fury that forever radicalized the form. Outlaws at home and abroad, even the Sex Pistols fell prey to music industry pressures, after which they all had to figure out life beyond punk. Lonely Boy, foundational Pistol Steve Jones' memoir, is therefore something of a minor miracle. For one thing, the guitarist was functionally illiterate until his 30s, when he invested some royalties into tutoring. Pretty typical of a background proving more Dickensian than even that described in bandmate John Lydon's two autobiographies. Bastard son of a boxer father who disappeared early, molested young and neglected by elders who essentially ushered him into a life of petty crime by example, Jones' life pivots when Pistols svengali Malcolm McLaren channels his waywardness into playing his pilfered equipment. An acute sensitivity shines through the thuggishness, as demonstrated by the subject eventually shaking off addiction and attempting to make amends with his burglary victims. Now comfortable in his skin as a celebrated L.A. deejay, Steve Jones wrestles triumph from tragedy with wit and warmth.


Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol

by Steve Jones
DaCapo Press, 308 pp., $26.99
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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Steve Jones, Sex Pistols, John Lydon

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