This week, Sex Pistols fans have the chance to check out the first parts of Pistol, the new FX/Hulu docuseries about the groundbreaking U.K. punk band. (There's also a chance to discover - or rediscover - their catalog thanks to a new collection their lead singer apparently hates.) And if you're interested in what happened to one of the members long after the group's infamous flare-out, a new expanded edition of a long-out-of-print album from onetime supergroup Neurotic Outsiders has you covered.
Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones (whose memoir forms the basis for Pistol) stayed active and present after the demise of his group, collaborating with the likes of Joan Jett, Thin Lizzy, Siouxsie and The Banshees and many others. His biggest calling card, it would turn out, was lending his thrashing guitar to supergroups. In the early '80s, Chequered Past featured Jones alongside journeyman singer Michael Des Barres and a chunk of the recently disbanded Blondie, including guitarist Frank Infante, bassist Nigel Harrison and drummer Clem Burke. (Infante would later be replaced by Iggy Pop's guitarist Tony Sales, later a member of Tin Machine alongside David Bowie.)
More than a decade later, Jones would start jamming at the notorious L.A. club The Viper Room with a few other displaced musicians. Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum provided the rhythm for Guns N' Roses until they fell apart in the mid-'90s, and the trio would sit in alongside Billy Idol and his guitarist Steve Stevens during a lengthy gap in his solo career. But when it came time to formally found a band, Jones, Duff and Sorum would recruit John Taylor, the charming bassist from Duran Duran, who was starting to eye his own temporary exit from the group. (Jonesy's Duran connections were voluminous: Chequered Past opened for The Fab Five, leading to Des Barres touring with John and Andy Taylor's spinoff group The Power Station as well as collaborations between Jones and Andy when he left the group in 1986.)
With Jones handling most of the songwriting (including ideas that first germinated during the Pistols era) and sharing vocal duties with Taylor and McKagan, Neurotic Outsiders became a real band, signing to Madonna's Maverick label and releasing one self-titled album. "It sounded like 1979 English punk rock with an American feel," McKagan would later reflect. "It was rockin'. It was heavy. Jonesy wrote the coolest pop." Adding another touch of post-punk panache to the mix: the production of Jerry Harrison, formerly of Talking Heads.
Despite soft sales in the confusing post-grunge boom/bust era, Neurotic Outsiders toured clubs in support of the record, and after their seeming demise, reunited for three more Viper Room gigs in 1999. Jones has, since then, brilliantly rebranded as a radio disc jockey - and all of the other Outsiders are, as of this year, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees. (They almost all returned to their original bands, too: Taylor rejoined Duran Duran in 2001 and McKagan unexpectedly reunited with GN'R's Axl Rose and Slash for a new hybrid line-up of the group.)
A new expanded edition of Neurotic Outsiders is on the docket for a June 3 release from indie reissue mavens Supermegabot. It'll feature the original album, including standouts like "Angelina," "Always Wrong" and a cover of The Clash's "Janie Jones" - plus four obscure non-LP cuts including a radio version of lead single "Jerk" and a fascinating cover of Duran's debut single "Planet Earth." For completists of three legendary bands - and fans of killer '90s rock that's worth a rediscovery - it's a disc worth looking out for. Check out the full track list below.
- Nasty Ho
- Always Wrong
- Good News
- Better Way
- Feelings Are Good
- Janie Jones
- Story Of My Life
- Six Feet Under
- Seattle Head
- Spanish Ballroom
- Planet Earth
- Jerk (Clean Version)
Tracks 1-12 released as Maverick 46290, 1996
Tracks 13-16 released on Angelina Japanese EP - Maverick/WEA WPCR-958, 1997