Why Steve Jones And Paul Cook Couldn’t Stand Sid Vicious And Johnny Rotten

The Sex Pistols is one of the bands that earned a reputation for themselves in rock music despite having a brief music career. Their initial career lasted two and a half years with only one studio album under their sleeve, 1977’s ‘Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols.’ The band was the pioneer of the punk movement in the UK and became an inspiration for the next generation of musicians.

However, it wasn’t solely their music that turned them into punk icons. As the genre is linked with a certain lifestyle, stage looks, and attitude, the Sex Pistols members lived according to this notorious image. Though all four members struggled heavily with substance addiction, vocalist Johnny Rotten and bassist Sid Vicious took things too far, making their other bandmates, guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook, grow tired of their actions.

Sid Vicious Single-Handedly Created Controversy

The Sex Pistols started their musical journey in 1975 with their bass player Glen Matlock. However, Sid Vicious replaced him in early 1977, taking the bass and partially singing duties. During his tenure with the band, Vicious gained recognition for his bad-boy reputation rather than his musicianship. Being a famous icon in rock music put pressure on the musician, and his substance addiction created an ultimate catastrophe.

Considering his toxic relationship with Nancy Spungen, many expected the couple to destroy themselves. After Spungen passed away and many blamed Vicious, including the police, the bass player died of a heroin overdose, leaving his former bandmates and fans behind for good at age 21. Nevertheless, his destructive behavior didn’t only affect him; the Sex Pistols members also had also felt bothered by his and Johnny Rotten’s attitude within the band.

Steve Jones And Paul Cook Were Fed Up With Their Bandmates

While struggling with his personal life, Sid Vicious also harmed the band’s career. The Sex Pistols embarked on a US tour in January 1978 despite America’s reluctance to give permit a band with such a criminal record. Though the band had to pass on a few dates, these issues were just the beginning.

During their tour, Sid Vicious began losing control of his substance use, particularly heroin. While touring, the bassist lived up to his reputation as a wild and crazy rockstar. Not only did he get involved in fights while searing for drugs, but he also caused scenes during concerts by insulting the audience.

Meanwhile, Johnny Rotten also wasn’t exactly the nice guy in the band. He was suffering from flu which caused him to cough up blood, and the musician didn’t feel okay with Vicious’ actions. His deteriorating health issue and the apparent conflicts within the band separated Rotten from Cook and Jones. This isolation put the last nail in the coffin.

As Vicious and Rotten cut their ties with the band amid touring, Steve Jones and Paul Cook tried to keep the Sex Pistols together. Jones penned those times in his book, saying that the band split in half, and they were tired of the other half’s actions. While Vicious was looking for trouble at any minute, Rotten played God on stage.

In his book ‘Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol,’ Jones penned:

“But the band splitting into two camps because me and Cookie couldn’t stand being around Johnny and Sid anymore. You couldn’t turn round for a minute without Sid starting a fight. Then on top of that, you had Rotten, who was on his own trip and basically thought he was God by that stage.”

Over a year after the band’s tour, Sid Vicious passed away on February 2, 1979. The band had already broken up due to their inner conflicts caused by their lifestyle but losing such a musician still affected each one of them. In the end, the Sex Pistols reunited for a few occasions but never officially got together, marking their career short but legendary.