Steve Jones is open about the influence Thunders's playing style had on him. In the documentary The Filth and the Fury, there is a hilarious sequence where film of the two guitarists is intercut, showing quite clearly just how much of Thunders's attitude Steve knocked off.
Something similar could be done with me. I would learn to take Thunders's signature slurs and guitar runs and transpose them to bass, along with the accompanying sneers. The first time I saw the Thunders's magic was on-stage at Birmingham University. The opening act was a band I had not heard of before, The Police. At that time I would sneak a cassette recorder into every gig I went to, and I set the machine to record when they began to play, even though I had no idea who they were. It was quite possible a band you had never heard of yesterday could become your favourite band tomorrow.
The singer with The Police also played bass, which struck me as quite clever and quite "un-punk." After the second number, he struck up a rapport with the audience of mostly students. A little too familiar, I remember thinking at the time, not knowing then that Sting had been a teacher and spoke "student" way better than he would ever speak "punk."
Sting: We've got the Heartbreakers coming on next.
(Cheer from me and one or two others)
Sting: They can't play, you know.
Me: Fuck off!
Sting: Who said "Fuck off'?
Me: I did. (all of this going down onto the cassette tape)
Sting: It's true. They're great guys but they can't play.
Me: Fuck off, you wanker!
Sting: You'll see. This next song is called "Fall Out"! 1 2 3 4 . . .
He was wrong about the Heartbreakers. They were awesome that night. At the BBC in 1993, filming "Ordinary World" for Top of the Pops, I was standing next to Sting watching a playback of our performance on a monitor. I thought to myself, I've got to tell him about that night, but before I opened my mouth he half-turned to me and said, "I wish I'd written that song."
Let's leave it at that then, I thought.