Why Billy Idol and Steve Jones’ New Supergroup May Not Last Long
Generation Sex is a concept that could have taken shape almost any time over the past 50 years. The members of the Sex Pistols and Generation X have known each other all that time, although in the past their friendships were marred by drug issues and subject to mismatching schedules. Cleaned up and grown up, however, Billy Idol and Tony James from Generation X, along with Steve Jones and Paul Cook from the Pistols, are ready to tour with a set list taken from both bands’ catalogs.
Formed in 2018, the quartet have only delivered a handful of low-key shows. Their first full-scale tour crosses Europe from June 14 to July 13 – but there’s a chance it could be their last tour too. Jones is already talking about quitting, saying he feels like he’s “done” playing rock guitar.
“Those shows were good fun, just a laugh really, but the next ones should be better,” Jones told Mojo in a recent interview, saying he’d recovered from heart surgery in 2019 and lost excess weight. “I'm in a much better place. … I was fucking well overweight at those shows. I never worked out; all I did was eat, and I had a heart attack a few months afterwards. I’ve seen the films people made on their phones of us playing. I was literally fucked. Afterwards, I was dying, dying.”
Jones came up with the band name – which James described as “made in Heaven” – around the time he met James and Idol backstage at a U2 concert. A Generation X reunion had recently been attempted after Green Day invited them to perform at a London show. “Billy and I said yes in a heartbeat,” James said. “Then we asked [ex-colleagues] Derwood [Andrews] and Mark Laff, and the old issues started to raise their head again. So we said, OK, let’s not do it, then.” So when they met up with old friend Jones, the timing seemed perfect. “He invited us onto his radio show and before we knew it we’d come up with the idea of Generation Sex live on air,” James added.
Cook reported that Idol had been “very professional” when rehearsals began, “totally together, knew all the words… It was effortless, really.” Meanwhile, Idol hailed the experience as “exhilirating” and hailed the Pistols pair’s “certain, undeniable something” as the band worked out a set of both previous groups’ songs.
Jones admitted that he didn’t enjoy playing festivals but he was looking forward to the three standard performances at the end of the tour. But he added: “To be honest, I’m so over playing rock ’n’ roll. You can print that. If we’re having a laugh, sure, but if there are personality conflicts and it becomes a drag, then I’m too old to put up with that shit. If it stays being good fun, that’s OK. I hope it does.”
Watch Generation Sex Live in 2018