‘Pistol’ delves into the story of the rise and fall of the legendary English punk rock band, the Sex Pistols. Centering upon the story of founder and vocalist turned guitarist Steve Jones, the narrative details how the eccentric members of the group are brought together (and fired) with the involvement of the band’s manager, Malcolm McLaren.
When Malcolm first introduces John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) into the band, it seems unlikely that he and the former vocalist Steve Jones will get along. Things don’t get much better, and the relationship between Steve and Johnny remains fraught. Let’s take a look at how things between the real Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones are now.
Are Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones Friends?
As long as the Sex Pistols were active as a band, Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones were seemingly pushed together. However, things reached a breaking point during the US tour, and after a particularly off performance on January 14, 1978, the band began to fragment. Johnny Rotten flew to New York, where he announced the band’s breakup. Meanwhile, Steve planned to go to Brazil for a working vacation.
In a 2017 Rolling Stone interview, when he was asked how long after Brazil he spoke to John, Steve said that it could have been years. At the time of the interview, both the former Sex Pistols members lived in LA. However, Steve said that they didn’t talk. In fact, the guitarist recalled that the last time he might have spoken to John could have been in 2008 when the band reunited for a Europe tour. The guitarist added, “I have no desire to speak to him and he has no desire to speak to me. That’s totally fine. I wish him all the best,” comparing their present dynamic to a marriage gone wrong.
Steve went on to confirm that another reunion tour seemed unlikely but also said that he had no resentment against John. Thus, according to the 2017 interview, there is no friendship between John Lydon and Steve Jones. Things likely didn’t get better when a few years later, the two former bandmates crossed paths in court. John challenged the use of the Sex Pistols’ music in ‘Pistol.’ The band’s former drummer, Paul Cook, along with Steve, sued John and eventually won. In his memoir, ‘Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol,’ Steve refers to John as “a total d**k.” When the same was brought up in court, he reaffirmed the statement.
During the court proceedings, when Mark Cunningham, who was representing John, asked Steve if he disliked his client, Steve replied “I guess so, yes.” When asked whether he still stood by the statement from his book where he refers to John as a “total d**k,” Steve once again agreed. He also stated that the rest of the band members, including Sid’s estate, agreed with him and Paul. Once again, during the trial, the former Sex Pistols guitarist claimed that he had not seen his former bandmate Johnny Rotten since 2008.