An Interview With GLEN MATLOCK

“Playing in a sweaty club in front of people is the best thing in the world”

Glen Matlock is one of those true elder statesmen of Rock music. Once an integral part of Punk zeitgeist The Sex Pistols, over time he has carved out a respectable career and with that some fine albums. His latest release Consequences Coming presents a modern, politically charged take on our existence that is primed with the influence of an old-school sound. “Well I’m an old Rock and Roller, ain’t I?”, states Glen confidently. However, those influences of the Faces, and Humble Pie come through respectfully. “Now, at my age, I don’t really care about things like that, I am just doing what I want to do. Hopefully I think I put a sample of things (influences) there so it has got an element, but it’s not a tribute to it. Also I always think when someone else does something that sounds like someone else it’s a terrible nick, but when I do it, it’s a homage.”

One thing that is obvious from the start, and that is the energy that flows through Consequences Coming. “It might be just too much coffee, you never know.” 

Wherever that energy comes from, Glen’s identity is still very much intact, and he is not one to give in to fame, rest on his laurels and live off past accomplishments. “I think that’s the right way round. Okay, if you become famous because you have done something of some kind of consequence, but if you want to be famous for the sake of being famous, I think that’s a bit lightweight really – some people manage it. Some people are famous for being famous, I don’t know how they manage it, but I’m kind of quite happy where I am in the scheme of things.”

There are a lot of heavyweight and talented musicians who complete and add a variety of diversity to Consequences Coming, which really becomes breathtaking in terms of scale. “Some of the people I managed to coax into playing on the record, they have all that in them. I mean Earl Slick (David Bowie) is on it, and Norman Watt Roy (The Blockheads) plays bass which is all a bit jammy. Before lockdown started, I had recorded the bulk of the stuff, but I hadn’t finished the songs. Sometimes you get the tune but you are still writing the words, recording onto backing tracks and listening to them over and over again on the stereo, and then come up with the words to what you are trying to say. A lot of the songs were written that way. But at this thing Norman Watt Roy came up to me and said; “Hello Glen”, “Hello Norman, what have you been doing, are you busy?” and he said “Do you know what? Everybody thinks I’m busy and they don’t bother calling me, why are you asking?” and I said; “I am starting to record my new album and would you fancy playing bass on it?” and he said “I’d love to”. So, I was quite pleased about that.” 

That anecdote aside, one of Glen’s skills is assembling the right people in the right place. “You kind of delegate and get a kind of a vibe going. So, through lockdown, I sat on the songs a bit more and wrote a couple of more songs, but I had been doing a few things as well. But a lot of people did recording online, and it was quite successful. I asked my good friend and sometimes bandmate Clem Burke (Blondie), who is sitting with me here now, to put some drums down for me, and he played on ‘Head On A Stick’ and ‘This Ship’ which kind of top-and-tailed the album, and it kind of qualified what I wanted to say on the record. It has all come together well I think.”

That is the important point; what Glen wants to say with his music. Here, like when he first started with the Sex Pistols and ‘Anarchy In The UK’, he is not holding back his disdain for the wrongs in society. “I don’t know how in this day and age, how anyone can write a love song with so much going on in the world. I think there is an obligation and a responsibility if you don’t reflect on what is going on. I don’t claim to be Che Guevara, but I do speak my mind. And that’s the idea – don’t give them any wriggle room.”

Read the full interview with Glen Matlock in issue 8 of Blitzed:

Photo: Danny Clifford.