Glen Matlock’s contribution to the Sex Pistols, and thus culture itself, is well documented. Penning the anthem Pretty Vacant, arguably the most famous punk song ever, Glen wrote the music to all the Sex Pistols classics, including Anarchy In The UK and God Save The Queen, creating the benchmarks for any aspiring rock band who followed in their wake
Periodic Sex Pistols reunions have allowed the world the chance to see Glen reaffirm his rightful position as the cornerstone of the Pistols. The Sex Pistols, however, represent only a fraction of Glen’s legacy.
His next band, the Rich Kids, put out one of the most influential albums of the late 70s, Ghosts Of Princes In Towers, packed full of rock ‘n’ pop gems. Working with Iggy Pop, (who recorded Glen’s song Ambition), during the 80s kept him sharp and sought-after with a body of work during this period giving rise to releases by bands such as The Spectres and Hot Club. In the 1990s Glen emerged as a solo force to be reckoned with. His album Who’s He Think He Is When He’s At Home? recorded for Creation Records, home of Oasis, was a full-on guitar album, blistering in its intensity, taking everyone by surprise. Not content to kick up his heels, the reinvention continued with a series of fine albums by his band project, The Philistines.
Invigorated in the wake of the Pistols re-emergence, Glen continued to record songs to rival those on Never Mind The Bollocks for swagger and craft. Open Mind, On Something, & Born Running were albums showcasing the full spectrum of Glen’s prowess. Pile drivers rubbed shoulders with reflective refrains & personal lyrics. One highlight, Hey Mister, was seized upon by BBC radio.
It’s not just Glen’s solo work that sets him apart from the pack. Headhunted by artists from all backgrounds and styles, both in the U.K. and abroad, has seen him not merely contribute, but shape some of the coolest sounds around. Acclaimed cutting edge albums by Wendy James, Viv Albertine, International Swingers, and King Mob have been enriched by his input, while his own studio projects with Earl Slick & Slim Jim Phantom show a continuing rich vein of inspirational song writing.
Passing on his vast knowledge and experience to others has become important to Glen (his two sons are making musical waves of their own) and he has latterly embraced college music teaching and motivational speaking. This seems fitting for one of the most famous, yet grounded, musicians to emerge at the forefront of the most turbulent and celebrated musical upheaval in rock ‘n’ roll. History is, thank God, not what Glen Matlock is about. Embracing the past, but constantly seeking out the new, musically, professionally and personally, keeps Glen out of his comfort zone, and at his best. Alive and alert. - Phil Singleton