An Audience with Glen Matlock: “Music can be a liberation and it can be a rallying cry”

Scroll Glen Matlock’s Twitter and there are almost as many pictures of him holding signs as of him holding guitars. Whether marching against Brexit or the Police Bill, it seems the man who wrote the nihilistic anthem “Pretty empty” has become a bit militant lately. “I am totally disgusted with the way this country has gone,” begins Matlock, perched outside a cafe near his home in Maida Vale. “I’m not the most political person in the world, but we can all stand up and be counted on the things that matter. And I think the only way to do that is to show up and be there. It’s normally pretty fun too.

That sense of jubilant protest energy fuels his new solo album, a collection of crunchy rock ‘n’ roll riots featuring Earl Slick, Norman Watt Roy and Clem Burke. The first single is even called “Head on a Stick”. Someone is in particular, glen? “Well, there are a lot of candidates! “He says he had an” altercation “with Michel Gove during a recent QPR match: “I told him bluntly what I think about his stupid Brexit and what he has done for musicians on tour. I was bristling, I really had to hold myself back.

Matlock is more wary of revisiting the old sex guns gaiters, but with Danny Boyle’s miniseries about the band due to air in May, he fondly reflects on his pivotal role in the punk revolution, selling shoes to Mick Ronson and accidentally inventing the new romantics. Turns out it’s worth asking…

What’s the difference in mindset between delivering a new solo record in 2022 and a new record with the Rich Kids in 1978? Are the goals always the same?

Scott Zuppardo, via email

I don’t think there’s really a difference between what I’m doing now and what I was doing then. You go into the studio with all these great ideas and it comes out like that. I love by Nick Lowe adage: slap it and pie it. The main thing I want to get out of this is people think, ‘Ol’ Matlock, he still writes a pretty good song — and it’s not a one-trick pony from 1976. ‘ That’s what drives me. And I think I can confirm that.

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