GLEN MATLOCK – RESIDENT, BRIGHTON 12.10.23
World famous bass guitarist Glen Matlock took time out of his busy schedule in order to drop into Resident at 27-28 Kensington Gardens, North Laine, Brighton in order to launch his brand new book ‘Triggers: A Life in Music’ which came out today.
The instore event featured Glen – who the Brighton & Hove News exclusively interviewed back in 2019, read it HERE – in conversation with British journalist Alexis Petridis who is the head rock and pop music critic for The Guardian, and a regular contributor for GQ. After this there was a Q & A session as part of the event. Luckily Glen had brought along his guitar as well and entertained a shop full of punters with a trio of songs.
‘Triggers: A Life in Music’ is a fascinating 336 page hardback book that charts the life and career of Sex Pistols legend Glen Matlock through the lens of thirty of his most formative songs – from the ones that influenced him as a child to the ones he wrote and played on as a star.
‘Triggers: A Life in Music’, which can be purchased HERE, shares insider tales of the Sex Pistols’ earliest gigs and stormiest reunions, as well as their most idiosyncratic inter-band dynamics, the book offers a vivid insight into the ultimate icons of punk. Yet, having performed and recorded with so many musical luminaries over the decades, Glen also reflects on his time with the likes of Iggy Pop, David Bowie, the Faces, Blondie, Primal Scream and many more, bookending his account with two ‘winters of discontent’: 1976 and 2022.
Tonight’s event kicked off at 6:30pm and just as Glen perched on a stool his phone comically ran. It was Kevin Armstrong on the other end. He recently toured with Glen, Clem Burke, Katie Puckrik, Luis Correia and Florence Sabeva as ‘Lust For Life’, a superband who were touring in appreciation of the work of Iggy Pop. The Brighton & Hove News caught up with them at The Piper in St. Leonards-on-Sea on 10th March 2023. Read our report from that concert HERE. This wasn’t my first encounter with Kevin Armstrong as I saw him at the Marquee in London back at the tail end of 1982 as part of Thomas Dolby’s band.
After we all shouted our “Hello’s” to Kevin, Glen hung up and Alex got on with the interview. It was a relaxed atmosphere and Glen came across as you would expect any Paddington lad who is now 67 years young…a diamond geezer.
We initially learned that Glen wasn’t a fan of the 1960’s pop era, but then in the second half of that decade, the Small Faces certainly floated his boat. The seed was sown! This was added to by the TV show ‘Ready Steady Go’, in particular a live broadcast that he was allowed to watch, until things became steamy to the rear of the set and then his dad said it was time for Glen to go to bed!
We learned that the Faces ‘Three Button Hand Me Down’ from 1970 was Glen’s go to tune when auditioning to be in a band. The Faces had morphed out of the mod rockers (the Small Faces) and were an amalgamation of Ian McLagan (keyboards), Ronnie Lane (electric bass, vocals), and Kenney Jones (drums and percussion) from the Small Faces and guitarist Ronnie Wood and singer Rod Stewart, who were both from the Jeff Beck Group.
Glen admitted that if it hadn’t been for his quest for a pair of brothel creepers that he wouldn’t be where he was today. As his quest had taken him to SW10 0LJ, namely 430 Kings Road and a shop called ‘Let It Rock’, an establishment run by a Teddy Boy (Malcolm McLaren) and a Derbyshire lass (Vivienne Westwood). A shop that through its many guises would quickly become THE place to hang out. It was here that Glen took a job and where he met Steve Jones and Paul Cook (who tonight were endearingly referred to as Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble), and Johnny Rotten, and the rest they say is history…the Sex Pistols were formed!
The Bill Grundy live TV incident on 1st December 1976 was referenced to this evening – somehow omitting that they were late replacements for Queen – but Glen recalled that if they didn’t go then Malcolm was going to stop their wages, thus they went. Whilst in the green room prior to broadcast, there was some alcohol available, but Steve Jones (being Jonesy) somehow managed to locate and neck down a whole bottle of Blue Nun, (German wine) and this accounts for his goaded outbursts, which cost, the already merry presenter (Grundy) his career. Glen told us that his family and friends were gathered around their respective TV’s in order to watch the show. Because of the immediate outcry, where McLaren immediately whisked them away seconds before the police arrived, Glen’s mum went to work the following day and was branded “Mrs Pistol” and Glen added that his dad didn’t talk to him for a year afterwards, such was the outcry at the time!
Alex then went onto discuss the Rich Kids, which were a short lived, and in my opinion vastly underrated, new wave band which Glen went on to form after his departure from the Sex Pistols. The outfit ran from 1977 to 1979 and it was a who’s who in the music business! Amongst its ranks were The Clash’s Mick Jones that came in as a session musician, as well as full time band members Steve New (now Stella Nova) who had actually auditioned for the Sex Pistols at an early age; plus drummer Rusty Egan and Midge Ure (who had previously had a No.1 hit with ‘Forever And Ever’ with Slik) and some bloke called Bill Smyth. Midge and Rusty went on to form Visage, and Midge also had massive success with Ultravox, replacing frontman John Foxx.
Glen cited the Rich Kids as the link between punk and the New Romantics, a link which I had not necessarily observed before, but on reflection, he has a valid point. He named the Rich Kids as he wanted to get away from the punk vibe and that was the least punk name that he could think of! Their 1978 signature single ‘Rich Kids’, Glen said, was inspired by Jean Cocteau. His inspiration for the Rich Kids came from his love of four 1977 albums: David Bowie’s ‘Low’ and “‘Heroes’” albums, plus Bowie’s work with Iggy Pop on ‘The Idiot’ and ‘Lust For Life’. All of these were to also become massive influences for the New Romantics.
After this section, Glen then flagged up his friend Kathy Valentine from The Go-Go’s who was also in amongst the crowd this evening.
Glen’s work with Blondie was also discussed. He referred to them as a “New York Art Movement meets Disco”, which is a fabulous tag. We covered their Brighton Centre 28th April 2022 gig, read it HERE. Glen went on to discuss their 1st July concert at ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ at Crystal Palace Park, which was headlined by Iggy Pop and also featured Matlock’s Sex Pistols chums Steve Jones and Paul Cook, along with Billy Idol and Tony James as Generation Sex. Read what went on that day HERE.
The subject of Covid lockdown raised its ugly head, but Glen jovially stated that he was stuck with the legendary guitarist Earl Slick (who I had seen playing with David Bowie on his final ‘A Reality’ tour in Birmingham) who was living in Glen’s house throughout the epidemic. They had been playing together as Glen Matlock & The Tough Cookies and they had rocked on up in the heart of the Sussex countryside back in the summer of 2019. Obviously we were there to report on proceedings, read it HERE.
After almost an hour, Glen then took to the guitar to play a trio of tunes for us. He opened with his rendition of the Rich Kids closing tune from their 1978 ‘Ghosts Of Princes In Towers’ album, that being ‘Burning Sounds’. After which we were given the title tune from his recent April 2023 ‘Consequences Coming’ album, which can be found HERE. I noted that the intro more than reflected David Bowie’s ‘Queen Bitch’ which is found on 1971’s ‘Hunky Dory’ platter. This tune was well received. Glen concluded with his version of the Small Faces ‘All Or Nothing’ from 1967’s ‘From The Beginning’ album. The crowd were enticed by Glen to sing along and the longer it went on the better we got!
After his brief, but unexpected, 13 minute set (from 7:24pm to 7:37pm), he was done and went off for a quick puff, before getting down to the business of signing the punters’ books that they had purchased.
This evening had been a most enjoyable encounter with some on point questions from the crowd.