The Great Rock & Roll Radio Swindle

Is ex-Sex Pistol Steve Jones helping Indie 103.1 become cool or corporateand does it matter?

Jones came west because he wanted to get sober. Along the way in LA, he produced some crappy records, performed some crappy solo work, played in some godawful bands, but, most fortunately, finally got clean. Various Pistols reunions, record producing, guest appearances with other bands, film work and the recent settlement of a lawsuit that won the Pistols more income from residuals have allowed Jones to stay in LA.

He landed at 103.1 when a friend affiliated with the station asked Jones if he'd ever tuned in. "I said, 'Yeah, I've been hearing it. It's great.'" The Jonesy Stamp of Approval quickly reached Steele, the program director, who arranged a meeting during which the guitarist offered to be a DJ—as long as he could choose his own playlist.

Selecting that music has been a chore, however. "It's only two hours a day 'ere, but there is still a lot to do the rest of the day," Jones says. He has "bundles" of unheard music at home to sift through. Then there's the preparation for what's been getting him off even more than the music: "Fun With a Face on Fridays," a weekly Jonesy's Juke Box segment that has him paired up in-studio with guests who have run the gamut from Johnny Ramone and John Doe to John McEnroe and Tracey Ullman.

Jones takes a never-mind-the-bollocks attitude to all the scheming corporate radio ga-ga. He's too busy prepping for his shows, putting in his two hours of hard labor, watching English football and playing his beloved PlayStation. That's left him no time to maintain his own guitar chops.

"I'm not even noodling any more," he says without a hint of regret. "This is the first time I've had a job to go to every day, and I love doing this—I fooking love it! More people are starting to lis'en to it. They seem to like that there's someone playing records 'ere, not a robot."

He says this as his shift ends, and as a bank of CD players within arm's reach systematically shuffles and cues music and commercials—for the next several hours after Jones' show, Indie 103.1 is running on automatic.

Jonesy's Jukebox airs on Indie FM 103.1. Mon.-Fri., noon-2 p.m.
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