The number of artists who can say they altered the
course of musical history are few and far between. After Elvis and The
Beatles, any list will become a matter of personal opinion. However,
it cannot be denied that in the late 1970s one group shook the musical
establishment to its core. Whilst the Sex Pistols only lasted a little
over two years, they created a revolution in the staid UK music scene,
the ramifications of which are arguably still being felt today. So when
the opportunity came up to interview their original bassist GLEN MATLOCK,
it was not something I was going to turn down...
|How's life treating you at the moment Glen?
Pretty good thanks. Just returned from playing a show in NYC and sitting in Glasgow waiting to soundcheck for the 3rd night of the Heaven 17/BEF tour I am a guest on. Hectic but fun.
Tell me something about your earliest musical influences and how did you get started playing the bass?
The 1st records I played when I was a kid were my uncle's 78s:
Does it annoy you that, probably understandably, most interviews largely concentrate on your time with the Sex Pistols?
Given that you co-wrote ten of the tracks on "Bollocks", do you feel you fully get the credit you deserve for being such a major part of the success of the band?
It has been a slow train coming but I feel yes, I am getting the right recognition with those in the know.
I recently reviewed the film (review here) "Anarchy! The McLaren Westwood Gang" which concentrates on the life and times of Malcolm McLaren . What are your recollections of the man, given that you had worked for him in SEX, prior to him managing the band?
A very interesting guy but you are either with him or against him.
I've seen you say that being in the Sex Pistols was a double-edged sword. What exactly do you mean and how do you view those days now, nearly four decades on?
I am proud of what we achieved and my part in the legacy.
I put the band together as I did in an attempt to move on from the punk thing a little and not be seen as a second division Pistol. Steve was a fantastic musician, knowledgeable about many styles and fantastically exciting in his execution of them. He was as a larger than life character and I miss him as he was like the brother I never had.
The band reformed in 2010, as a benefit for Steve, and most people presumed that would be the bands swan song. However, I see you provided support for the Professionals earlier this year. Are there any plans for anything more from the band in the future?
We did the 1st reformation to try and raise a few bob for Steve when he was getting seriously ill and the recent one for the hell of it. Always open to offers. By the way, it was a double headline, although the Professionals actually went on before us...
With respect, you seemed to have played in a number of relatively short lived bands over the years - Betty Bright and the Illuminations, The Jimmy Norton Experience, The Spectres, Hot Club, The London Cowboys, Dead Horses etc. Was there any particular reason for this or is that just the way events unfolded?
Many things I do as a favour to mates or as a session - I am not a bad bass player and my phone rings. Many things you find on the internet were just that and I wouldn't put them down as proper bands I've been in. Some were gigs and some were for fun.
How did the Sex Pistols reunion gigs come about in 1996? Did you have any reservations about getting involved again, considering your original exit from the band?
The time seemed right for all of us and it mended a good few bridges for us all.
You subsequently did four further reunion tours with the band. How would you say your relations are with John, Steve and Paul now and can you envisage the band ever playing live again?
As for all bands, there are many different relationships within them and though we are not all the best of friend, as John said, neither are we the worst of enemies....
In 2010 and 2011 you played bass in the reformed Faces. Given that they were one of your favourite bands when growing up, that must have been a somewhat surreal, but amazing, experience.
Yep, it was a big blast playing with the Faces. I was over the moon but thought I brought something cool to the table too.
You seem to make a habit recently of playing in punk supergroups such as Dead Men Walking and the International swingers. I guess it goes without saying that you have a great time touring and playing live with such old friends.
Supergroups play stadiums and get shit loads of money so you are barking up the Wong tree there. As I said earlier, I'm not bad on the bass and the phone rings...
I think I've got my prose writing out of my system. The filming was fun, but only took 5 mins to do, so yes, I would be interested in a longer stint in front of the camera if it came along,
You're shortly to start a solo tour. Can we expect a mix of old and new songs on the set list?
Yes, I have a good few solo shows coming up which I am looking forward to. I have been honing my show for a good few years all around the world now and it seems to always hit the spot - particularly at Glastonbury and the Montreaux Jazz festival this summer. Bass playing is one string to my bow, but I have always seen myself as a writer in the Ray Davies mould. I have written a good few songs of consequence over the years and there's plenty more where they came from. Come on down, check them out and hear some of the stories behind them. I normally manage to get a righteous vibe happening, so don't miss out on the top, toe tapping fun.
Cheers Glen for taking the time to do this and, before I finish, is there anything else you'd like to get off your chest?
I might have a foot in the past but I live in the now and have an eye on the future....