Glen Matlock

Glen Matlock (born 27 August 1956) is an English musician best known for being the bass guitarist in the original line-up of the punk rock band the Sex Pistols. He is credited as a co-author on 10 of the 12 songs on Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, although he had left the band by the time the record was released. He also continues to make his own records and tour with various bands, including the Sex Pistols.

Biography

Matlock attended Saint Martin’s School of Art until 1974. He was the original bass player of the Sex Pistols, having been introduced to guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook while working in SEX, Malcolm McLaren’s clothing boutique in London. He is credited as co-writer on 10 of the 12 songs appearing on the album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. However, his overall contribution to these songs has been disputed: Jones said in a 2011 interview he was “tired of Matlock’s claims that he had co-written some of the punk icon’s biggest tunes”, stating that he himself had written as many songs as Matlock, whilst Matlock himself notes in his book that the band only wrote two songs after his departure. According to a 2014 interview, he played a big role in writing the songs that appeared on the album and Cook has stated that Matlock wrote most of the songs appearing on the album, but whilst Jones has insisted that Matlock disliked many of Johnny Rotten’s controversial lyrics, Matlock has said that he had no issue with them.

Matlock left the band in late February 1977, with contemporary reports (given to news outlets by manager Malcolm McLaren) stating that he was ‘thrown out’ because he “liked the Beatles”. Although Matlock has said that one of his biggest influences is The Faces, the Beatles anecdote is fictional. A claim made at the time by Jones, that he thought it was bizarre that Matlock was “always washing his feet”, has also been misquoted and misinterpreted as the cause of Matlock’s firing from the group.

In his autobiography, I Was a Teenage Sex Pistol, Matlock stated that he left the band of his own volition as he was “sick of all the bullshit”. In the 2000 documentary The Filth and the Fury, the band members generally agree that there was tension between Matlock and Rotten, which Matlock suggests was exacerbated by Malcolm McLaren’s attempts to pit the two men against each other. Matlock was replaced by Sid Vicious, and went on to form Rich Kids, a new wave power pop band, with himself as bass guitarist and singer, Midge Ure (guitarist, singer and keyboard player), Steve New (guitarist and singer) and Rusty Egan (drummer). After the Rich Kids he formed the Spectres with Tom Robinson Band guitarist Danny Kustow, and subsequently Mick Hanson, and then Hot Club in 1982 with guitarist James Stevenson and singer Steve Allen.

Matlock playing with the Sex Pistols in 1977.

In his autobiography, Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, John Lydon claimed that Matlock worked on later Sex Pistols material (including their album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols) as a paid session musician (Jones played bass on the two songs recorded after Matlock’s departure, with Vicious also contributing to the song “Bodies”);however, Matlock denied this in his own book, stating that all but two of the songs appearing on the album had already been recorded as singles or b-sides before his departure.[17] Music historian David Howard states unambiguously that Matlock did not perform on any of the Never Mind the Bollocks recording sessions. Matlock later played bass with Vicious in the short-lived band Vicious White Kids. Matlock also played bass on the Iggy Pop album Soldier and the Damned album Not of This Earth. In the Classic Albums documentary about Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, Jones states that he believes the group would have made more albums if Matlock had stayed in the band and they hadn’t done the Bill Grundy TV interview.

Matlock rejoined the original Sex Pistols members for reunion tours in 1996, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2008. He played bass guitar and sang for a time in the bands The Philistines and The Flying Padovanis. He toured with a loose collective of punk and post-punk stars, Dead Men Walking, which included Mike Peters of The Alarm, Kirk Brandon of Theatre of Hate and Spear of Destiny, and Pete Wylie of Wah! He is now a member of Slinky Vagabond with Earl Slick, Clem Burke, and Keanan Duffty. Slinky Vagabond played their debut concert at the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash in May 2007. One newspaper, comparing the current lifestyles of the Sex Pistols, wrote: “Only original bassist Glen Matlock remains touring with his own band, an irony given that he was sacked for being too conservative”.

In January 2010, Glen Matlock reformed the Rich Kids for a one-off benefit concert in aid of Steve New. He was joined on stage by original members Rusty Egan and Midge Ure, as well as Mick Jones of The Clash and Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet. New died of cancer on 24 May 2010.

Matlock joined a reformed Faces, playing at the Vintage at Goodwood festival near Chichester in August 2010. In April 2011, he stood in for Mani playing bass for Primal Scream at the Japan tsunami appeal concert at Brixton Academy in London.

In late 2011, Matlock joined Clem Burke, James Stevenson and Gary Twinn as part of a group known as The InternatioGlen also played bass on their self-titled album funded by a Pledge Music campaign.

In 2012, Matlock made his acting debut in British drama film The Paddy Lincoln Gang, performing a docudrama scene at a live Faces concert.

In February 2016, the Rich Kids announced they would reform for a joint headline show with The Professionals at London’s O2 Shepherds Bush Empire for May 16.

Discography

Sex Pistols

  • 1977 – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
Sex Pistols compilations
  • 1977 – Spunk
  • 1979 – The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle
  • 1980 – Flogging a Dead Horse
  • 1980 – Sex Pack
  • 1985 – Anarchy in the UK – Live at the 76 Club
  • 1992 – Kiss This
  • 1996 – Filthy Lucre Live
  • 2002 – Jubilee
  • 2002 – Sex Pistols Box Set
  • 2008 – Agents of Anarchy
  • 2008 – Live & Filthy

Rich Kids

  • 1978 – Ghosts of Princes in Towers
Rich Kids compilations
  • 1998 – Burning Sounds
  • 2003 – Best of the Rich Kids

Vicious White Kids

  • 1978 – The Vicious White Kids featuring Sid Vicious (unreleased until 1991.)

Iggy Pop

  • 1980 – Soldier

The London Cowboys

  • 1984 – Tall in the Saddle (12″, mini album)

The Damned

  • 1995 – Not of This Earth

Glen Matlock & The Philistines

  • 1995 – Hard Work (limited release.)
  • 1996 – Who’s He Think He Is When He’s at Home? (Solo album.)
  • 2000 – Open Mind
  • 2004 – On Something
  • 2010 – Born Running
  • 2013 – Rattle Your Cage: The Best of Glen Matlock & The Philistines

The International Swingers

  • 2015 – The International Swingers
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