Continuing from where 'I
WAS A TEENAGE SEX PISTOL' left off, 'Beyond The Valley Of The Pistols' will
build into the complete dossier on Glen's post-Pistols career.
One '77 - '79 | Part
Two '79 - '81
BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE PISTOLS - PART TWO
In the second of a series
of frank and exclusive interviews, Glen talks to Phil Singleton ('Philjens') about
BETTY BRIGHT, JIMMY NORTON EXPLOSION, IGGY POP, THE SPECTRES, THE SUBTERRANEANS,
Phil: I'd like to ask about some of your 1979 projects, and how they came about.
Bette Bright and the Illuminations for example.
That was with people I was friends with. Rob Dickins at Warner Brothers had signed
Deaf School, and they had a little studio there. I'd met Clive Langer (the producer)
who was in Deaf School. Rob Dickins was setting up this label and Clive was going
to work with Bette Bright (who was also in Deaf School) and they asked me would
I play on it. They were mates, I liked Bette's voice, and it was just a laugh
more than anything else. We did a little tour.
Was that after the Rich Kids had folded?
No. I think it was during the Rich Kids actually. It was just a little project
basically. We cut three
tracks, 'My Boyfriend's Back', 'The Captain Of Your Ship' and 'Hold On I'm Coming'.
B-side of 'The Captain Of Your Ship' was 'Greedy Eyes'. Does that ring a bell?
Oh yeah, that rings a bell as well. I think that was a song that was just cobbled
together, I don't know who wrote that one. I
liked it (Bette Bright) because I liked those songs; the stax kind of Sixties
As well as Clive Langer (guitar), Rusty Egan was on the tour wasn't he?
There was Rusty (drums) and there was Henry Priestman who had been in the Yachts,
and who went on to being a keyboard player in the Christians. There was a guy
called Paul Pilnick, an old Liverpool bloke who played with The Big Three in 1964.
We did about eight dates around the country. I remember going up to Edinburgh
and doing some gigs supporting Joe Jackson. We did Liverpool and Manchester, but
I don't remember too much about it, I was off my fucking face to be honest!
Can you tell me about the Jimmy Norton Explosion?
Again, that was another hare-brained project! We had our moments. We did a couple
of gigs, a John Peel session - Steve New didn't play on the session cos he was
under the weather! The Jimmy Norton Explosion was Steve New, Danny Kustow, myself,
and Budgie on drums. It was just for a laugh.
thing is, if you are in a drinking frame of mind, you can either go to a pub and
buy your drinks, or you can do some gigs and they give you free beer! You can
have a laugh and you are the centre of attention. So we thought we'd go and do
So it wasn't ever intended to be a serious project?
It was just about doing a few gigs. If someone had offered us a million pounds
it might have been a different matter. But they didn't and we weren't fussed.
used to be a studio at Warner Chappell, and everyone used to play on everybody
else's stuff. I met Budgie through Clive Langer. Budgie was a Liverpudlian bloke
who'd been in a band, the Spitfire Boys, and turned up in London trying to find
something more happening, and there was a guy called Steve Lindsey who ran the
studio and was the bass player in Deaf School. The Burning Sounds record that
Creation put out, some of the stuff on there comes from the Warner Chappell studio.
People were in and out doing different things on other people's stuff. I remember
Mick Ronson came down one day and said 'I'm not playing guitar, I'll play drums',
and played drums on 'Just like Lazarus'.
could do that then, there was more of a live scene and you could go and do something
for a laugh. Whether it does you any good in the long run is another matter.
It was rumoured that Paul Cook had played on some of your demos.
I went in and cut some things with EMI. EMI were having a change around and Chris
Briggs was there, and he said 'What do you want to do?' I said I'd got some songs
and I'd go and put them down. I went into Wessex studios, and I think Paul played
drums. Paul can't remember it, but I think he did. Mick Jones and Danny Kustow
I assume you'd kept in touch with Paul over that period?
A little bit. To be honest I wouldn't put money on it. I thought he did but he
can't remember. It sounds like him playing on it.
Not long after the Rich Kids had folded the 'phone went and it was Iggy Pop's
management asking for your services.
After the Rich Kids I was thinking 'I don't know what to do.' The 'phone rang
and it was Iggy Pop's manager, Peter Davis. He said 'I manage Iggy Pop and Jim
(Iggy) would like to have a word with you.' They'd made the album 'New Values'
and they were going to do a tour and the guy who had played bass on it was going
to play second guitar (Jackie Clarke), so they were looking for a bass player.
So I went and had a meeting with them at the Athenian Hotel, Piccadilly. We got
slaughtered, had a laugh, and that was that.
So you toured with Iggy first and that's what led to working on the album 'Soldier'?
I did the European tour to promote the album 'New Values' and then we made the
album 'Soldier'. Then we did an American tour to support 'New Values', and then
we mixed the 'Soldier' album after the American tour.
Then did you tour to promote 'Soldier'?
No! I fell out with Iggy a bit. I'd got Steve New the gig as guitarist on the
'Soldier' album, and there was a big ruckus which culminated in Steve punching
David Bowie down the stairs. Steve was going out with Patti Palladin and Steve
thought Bowie was hitting on Patti. Whether he was or not is another matter. Because
of that, Steve thought Iggy was on Bowie's side and pulled out of the tour at
the last minute. As it happened, Iggy thought the incident was really funny. But
because Steve pulled out of the tour at the last minute, Iggy held a grudge against
him, and two months later when we finally went to mix the album, Iggy mixed out
all of Steve's guitar parts. Steve played the hooks to the songs I'd written,
so they sounded odd. That's why I didn't work with Iggy after that, I thought
it was stupid. Cutting your nose off to spite your face.
wanted me to still play bass with him. I saw him in New York about a year later.
We went off somewhere and came back a day later! In the course of the evening
he was a bit 'off' and I said 'What's up with you?' And he said 'Hey man, I only
lost the best bass player that I ever had.' I said 'Who's that then?' He said
'You, you idiot!'
Didn't Brian James (The Damned) play on the New Values Tour?
Brian did the American tour; he came in at a day's notice to take over from Steve
New. Brian was good actually cos his style of guitar playing is MC5 and The Stooges.
did some good gigs, it was a good band. Ivan Kral from the Patti Smith Group played
with us as well in the States.
Any tales from your tours with Iggy that you are permitted to tell?
One of the best gigs that I ever did was at the beginning of the New Values tour
at the Palladium in New York, and it was on Halloween. The whole audience was
in Halloween outfits and backstage there was Debbie Harry dressed as a witch.
The Cramps supported us, also a band called the Student Teachers. The New York
Dolls and Frank Zappa always used to do the Halloween gigs, so it was quite a
prestigious thing. Then we did another little New York gig at a place called Hurrah's
at the end of the tour. It was ram-packed. You couldn't swing a cat in the dressing
room. The band was waiting to go on - David Bowie was there - and there was no
toilet in the dressing room. Iggy decided he needed a shit. So a minute before
he was due to go on stage, he dropped his trousers and shat in this towel. So
Henry the Tour Manager had to wade through the audience with this foul smelling
turd going 'Gangway, Iggy Pop's shit'. The crowd parted like the Red Sea!
we played in England we used to play the music from 'A Fistful Of Dollars' before
we came on stage. We did it this matinee at Eric's in Liverpool and it was all
these Boy Scouts and Cubs. Just after the music Iggy would come on. All these
kids started singing 'Happy birthday to you.... happy birthday Iggy Pop, happy
birthday to you!' Iggy was really taken aback (it was his birthday obviously!).
He looked at me, looked around, looked at the crowd, and went 'Well fuck you'
and went straight in to 'Kill City'! There was all these 13 year-old kids! That
was quite funny.
remember being in Berlin. I'd had enough of the tour by then and I said I was
leaving. The girl who was the tour manager, she kind of chilled me out. I went
back to my hotel room and slung something at the wall and all the plaster fell
off and went all over my bed. I thought 'right I'm going now!' So I'm trying to
get a cab at 5 o'clock in the morning in the middle of Berlin with a guitar and
my suitcase and I couldn't get a cab to stop for me. I was going to go to the
airport. I don't know how it happened, but I woke up in this hotel - the place
was like something out of 'Cabaret'. I had a shocking head and I went down to
get some breakfast and to get something to straighten me up - it was about 4 o'clock
in the afternoon! There was all these little old ladies having tea and cake, and
I ordered a Stein of lager and a boiled egg! The room just fell silent and they
looked at me and their mouths dropped open. This guy came in and he just cracked
his hands and said 'Now ladies, have you never seen a man eating his breakfast
one night we ended up in this transvestite club in Berlin. Iggy was mates with
them. We went out clubbing, and this gorgeous red-head was telling me about having
her dick cut in half, turned inside out and all that. Which kind of turns your
stomach, I didn't really need to know that! But as the evening wore on I thought
the gentlemanly thing to do was to make a pass at her anyway, you know?! We ended
up in a heavy metal bar, I thought now's my moment and I said 'are you a natural
red-head?' She just got up and stormed out and said 'I have never been so insulted
in my life!'... after telling me about her dick being cut off!!! It was great!
She was obviously looking for a get out and so was I!
Didn't you get thrown out of a hotel with Iggy?
When we played in England, we were booked in the same hotel in Plymouth as on
the Pistols Anarchy tour. When they found out that I was in the band they slung
us out of the hotel. Iggy thought that was funny, and we stayed in some other
dump down the road.
To what extent was the drinking affecting your well-being during that period?
I was in a complete fucking state. But... I still played alright.
Was it difficult, if you were plastered, being able to get out there and play?
No, you pace yourself. You just get plastered enough to be able to play, and you
party afterwards. No matter how wrecked you are when you go on, the adrenalin
straightens you up somehow. Then you start all over again the minute you come
off. I don't recommend it. Do not try this at home!
You mentioned previously, (see Beyond the Valley... Part 1), that slatings
in the press from Johnny Rotten etc had contributed to it.
Yeah, but the other thing with Iggy was that it was the first time that I had
really flown anywhere. It kind of worried me. When you're doing the six o'clock
in the morning businessman shuttle from Chicago to Detroit, and you're jammed
in like sardines and a DC 10 has gone down two weeks before at O'Hare airport,
you need something that's going to take your mind off it a bit. It's silly really,
I fly now and I'm straight when I fly..... when you've been drinking, you're not
any less nervous, you are just drunk and nervous, maybe even more so.
flew up to Albany near New York, a really bumpy flight, when the Winter Olympics
were on. It was only about an hour's flight, and I had about 10 large Bloody Mary's
on the plane. We landed and I went straight to the bar and they had to come back
and drag me out.
When you look back on that period are you surprised how well you survived it?
I dunno. John Perry from The Only Ones who moans about being out of it, when I
was playing with him one time, said to me 'I can't believe it, you get so out
of it but you don't drop a note when you play.' Whether that's true or not...
I think Midge Ure would say something different. It's all relative.
Did the drinking hamper you through that entire period with Iggy Pop?
Well he didn't mind.
I suppose he was out of it as well?
Maybe not as much.
What were you thinking when your association with Iggy Pop came to an end?
What happened was, Iggy Pop was being mentored by this guy called Charles Levison
who was running Arista Records at the time, and who had actually fronted the money
for 'New Values' out of his own pocket in lieu of him becoming head of Arista
Records in England. He had to make the record out of his own pocket until the
deal was sorted out. Charles kept saying to me 'Glen what are you doing, do you
want to do something else?' So again I was thinking I'd got all this silly shit
going on with Iggy mixing out all the hooks to the songs I'd written, and Charles
asking me if I wanted to make a record. That was the beginning of The Spectres.
How soon after Iggy were The Spectres put together; they started in 1980 didn't
I suppose so, yeah. At one stage everyone was fucking chasing us.
You released two singles ('This Strange Effect' & 'Stories').
The first one we put out as an independent record anyway just to test the water
while we were sorting out the deal with Arista. They started dicking us around
so I told them to 'Fuck off' in the end, thinking I could go back to Polydor because
they said - this guy called Jim Cook - that they would match any deal. So I went
back to Polydor but I didn't know that Arista had told Polydor that they'd already
signed us, and the money Polydor were going to spend on signing us they'd spent
on re-signing Siouxsie and the Banshees. So I didn't have a deal. And I'd earned
a reputation of being hard to work with.
Was that reputation justified?
No, I don't think so. Only if you're going to play the game and be a good little
boy and let the record company piss all over you.
Weren't Geffen Records chasing The Spectres at one point?
We had a little bit of a talk to them. What happened was, we'd toured the States
a couple of times. They were supposed to be interested. I flew back from New York
waiting for a call from Geffen, and John Lennon got shot, and there's David Geffen
on the front cover of the papers comforting Yoko Ono. I thought I'm not going
to hassle him now! That was that really.
What was the origin of The Spectres?
I knew Danny Kustow, he'd finished with the Tom Robinson Band by then and we'd
done the Jimmy Norton Explosion together, so I asked should we get a band together
and what sort of band should we go for? I thought Dave Clark Five seemed like
a good idea with two sax players and a heavy drummer. There was this guy called
Graham Potter who'd been the drummer in the Little Roosters (who then became Cock
Sparrer), so he came in. Then we had Art Collins on sax, and a guy called C. C.
(who had been in Gloria Mundi). It was pretty good in the beginning.
The Spectres got some quite good press. How long did The Spectres go on for?
It went on for about a year and a half. But it became quite clear that we had
blown it with the record companies. That's when we did that other record for Demon
('Stories'), but I didn't really like that record, it wasn't indicative of what
the sound was originally. I'd got hip to the fact that there was this guy called
Mike Leander who'd produced the Dave Clark Five and Gary Glitter and it was the
same sound that I was looking for.
(pic below: The Subterraneans,
from left to right Kent, Musto, Matlock, Padovanis)
Phil: When The Spectres folded, you became involved with the Subterraneans.
All we did were some rehearsals. It sounded really good actually. Henry Padovanis
on guitar, Chris Musto on drums and Nick Kent who sang good and played guitar
good. He had some good songs. We were supposed to be doing this really big gig
and Nick Kent who was the star writer at the NME at the time had written all these
big articles, and so the NME thought they'd do one on him. But he bottled it,
he disappeared and I didn't see him for two years so we never did the gig! It
was a drag because it was really good.
So the Subterraneans were not your group?
They had already made a record 'My Flamingo', and Paul Reilly had played bass
on it. But now they needed another bass player and I wasn't doing anything.
thing I remember most though is that Henry had this band the Flying Padovanis
who had a rehearsal place over in Vauxhall, and the nearest pub was the Vauxhall
Cavern. It was full of blokes dressed as Shirley Bassey, getting ready to sing
'Hey Big Spender'. There was no one else in there, apart from us, who wasn't waiting
to get up and sing 'Hey Big Spender'! It was the oddest thing!
Is there anything else significant from this period that happened to you?
Around about that time, Clive Langer dragged me along to see this band the North
London Invaders, and he asked me what I thought. I said they were kind of good
but I didn't think they had any material. He said that was a shame because he'd
arranged to put some stuff down with them over the next few days and was wondering
if I would come and co-produce them with him. I said I'd have a go but he said
'Well since you are not really into it, maybe you shouldn't.'
know who it was? Madness!
by Phil Singleton 2001
many thanks to Glen Matlock www.glenmatlock.com
God Save The Sex Pistols 2001
THE VALLEY OF THE PISTOLS - PART ONE
In the first of a series of exclusive
interviews, Glen talks to Phil Singleton about the legendary RICH KIDS.
Kids with Mick Jones, The Brecknock - September '77
Phil: The origin of
the Rich Kids predated your departure from the Pistols, so how did it all come
It sort of predated it. What happened was, I obviously wasn't getting on with
John, and Mike Thorne who was our A&R guy at EMI, got wind of what was going
on and said 'Glen, we at EMI understand you have a problem. If it doesn't work
out, we would be more than interested in anything you come up with.' I thought
that's interesting! It was when I was getting all this shit from the band &
it coloured my thinking.
Do you think the interest from EMI was fundamental in making your mind up to leave
Well, it was in the back of my mind. I had a meeting with Steve, Paul and Malcolm
and I'm thinking, 'do I need all this fucking shit?' No! I didn't really have
a name then. When I did finally leave the band or get pushed or whatever you want
to call it - I still feel I left - Malcolm announced to the press that I'd been
sacked for liking the Beatles. That very day, Steve New who had auditioned for
the Pistols, came down to this pub called the Roebuck. I hadn't been in there
for almost two years, and I just happened to be there and he came looking for
me so I said 'alright you're in', 'cos I always got on with Steve. Then I went
to see Rockpile at the Nashville and Rusty Egan came up and gave me all this talk
about what a great drummer he was, and that he'd auditioned for The Clash etc
etc, and said he understood what I needed to do next etc etc. So I said 'alright
you're in the band then.' He was in the band for two weeks before I heard him
play! So that was that, and then the hunt was on for a singer.
We were rehearsing
in a squat in Stoke Newington where I was living at the time and I knew everybody
thought I was loaded 'cos I'd been in the Pistols but I wasn't, I didn't have
a penny. I'd been reading a Jean Cocteau book 'Les Enfants Terribles', and that's
where I got the name Rich Kids. It's in a passage in the book. The birth of the
How long had you known Steve New?
Steve had come down for an audition for the second guitarist for the Sex Pistols.
He was sort of in the band for a week. We didn't really need another guitarist,
but it was Paul that wanted another guitarist. Paul kept saying he didn't think
Steve was good enough, but basically Paul was trying to stretch things out a bit
because he'd nearly finished doing an apprenticeship as an electrician at Watney's
Brewery. That was his real motive behind getting another guitarist!
I'd seen Rusty around a little bit, but the funny thing was Steve New was a messenger
at Warner Bros Records at the time, and he'd taken over the job from Rusty!
went through every singer in London. I spoke to Kevin Rowland a couple of years
ago and he said he'd been down to audition for the Rich Kids. He said he got all
the way to Stoke Newington and there was a note on the door saying 'We found someone.
Gone to the pub.'
had this deal sitting on the table, not just from EMI, everybody was chasing us.
We had lunch with Richard Branson; the guys from Chrysalis were chasing us; and
Chris Parry at Polydor. I just liked them at EMI, 'cos I got on with Mike Thorne.
With everybody giving me a hard time, I thought I might as well sign with EMI
and just say 'Fuck you all.'
we got Midge Ure down. He came and rehearsed in the squat at Stoke Newington with
us. We learnt about four or five numbers and then we just went out to some parties
and gigs. We went to see The Police when they were a four piece, at the Hope and
Anchor, and just as we were going through the door, this guy John said the support
band hadn't turned up, and we said we would do it. He said 'You're not a band'
and we said 'We are!' We got up and did four or five numbers. He liked it so much
- even though we had to pay to get in - that he gave us our money back plus a
We played at some party down near the Thames. It was one of those
big warehouses down on the river. Sid was there, and Siouxsie and the Banshees,
with everybody getting up and doing a few numbers. Sid was with Nancy on one of
these wooden loading platforms down below, and someone pissed out of the window
all over them!
Then Midge decided he wasn't going to do it. That's when we
did some gigs with Mick Jones. But then it was in the paper that we were going
to sign to EMI for about a £150,000, and Midge was on the phone the next
Does that sum up Midge Ure?
Yeah, I should have known! But I was frightened of losing the deal. I thought
Midge had a great voice, but he was namby-pamby, he didn't have it. I thought
I was giving him a chance to be tougher than he'd been allowed to be before. I
just felt he let me down.
How do you think the Rich Kids would have fared without Midge?
I think my career would have done better. When it didn't matter how well you sang
back then, I could have got away with it, and I would have been known as a singer.
The single 'Rich Kids' was a top 30 hit, and you picked up quite a lot of good
press and appeared on TV shows such as 'Revolver', 'Top Of The Pops' and 'Rock
Goes To College'. How do you gauge the Rich Kids' success when you look back on
I think it was too much too soon. EMI wanted to give it a real big push, but I
didn't think it was a good idea 'cos it looked too much of a hype. I don't think
we were quite ready to do an album when we did. There was a whole political thing
going on where Midge had to have so many songs; I mean I fucking hate 'Young Girls',
a stupid song.
What about 'Marching Men', that was one of Midge's?
Lyrically that was a bit naive, but musically I thought it was good. But I think
'Ghosts', 'Hung On You', 'Marching Men' and 'Strange One' were where the Rich
Kids should have been at. If we'd been allowed a bit more time to suss it out
that's what we would have ended up with more of. An album of that kind of stuff
would have been great. I never personally liked the song 'Rich Kids' that much,
and I couldn't understand how 'Rich Kids' was a hit but 'Ghosts' wasn't. I do
know really, there was all this stuff going on in the charts with payola, and
we were accused of that, which wasn't what happened. The red vinyl 'Rich Kids'
single was - not the biggest selling - but the fastest selling record EMI had
How do you compare the finished album with the 'Burning Sounds' demos compilation?
They're just really rough demos. There's demos on there for what would have been
the second album. It never came about because the band split into two camps. Rusty
and Midge got involved in this New Romantic thing, and I wasn't interested in
that at all. It was just all these stupid fucking hats!
I remember we did
a gig up in Norfolk and me and Steve went to a jumble sale and bought a big box
of old lady's hats. We played at Ashton University the next night and we got this
big box of hats out and put it on stage. We got the crew to put a spotlight on
it and for each number me and Steve put a different woman's hat on to take the
piss out of Midge and Rusty! But that was the end of the band by then.
A lot of bands, especially when everybody is so young, seem to only have a limited
lifespan. Do you think it's mainly due to egos, or totally different ideas that
the individuals have got?
A bit of both really. The best band is a gang. You need people who learnt to play
together. And you just can't manufacture that.
Was Midge Ure always looking for the main chance, to better himself, as opposed
to what was in the best interests of the band itself?
He was looking for the main chance. I think he was into it, but I only ever 98%
thought that Midge was the right bloke. But on the other hand he was probably
getting very annoyed with me because I was starting to become a terrible piss
artist. I think for a period of time the Rich Kids were a very happening band.
We did the business live, we had the house record at the Hampden Palace, and we
would get a big crowd everywhere. I remember we did Satellite City up in Glasgow
and it was ram-packed.
Do you wish you'd stuck at it longer?
I wish we'd done a second album.
Would it have been different to the first album or would it have been more of
the same style?
It would have been more of the same but different! Songs like 'Ambition' and 'Precious'
could have gone on there. Steve had some good songs which have never really seen
the light of day, '12 Miles High', 'Forever And Ever' and 'Point It To Your Head'.
The album is quite powerful. What do you think about the term 'power-pop'?
I hated the term 'power-pop' 'cos there was all these bands like The Pleasers
around, and I thought we were better than that. We weren't a punk band but I never
tried to be a punk band. It was the birth of the new wave and I think we paved
the way for bands like The Skids to come through. Music doesn't change overnight,
there's little things adding up to it all the time. It's like computers; they
keep getting upgraded all the time.
With the benefit of hindsight, what would you have done differently with the Rich
I would have been the singer. I think it would have all been different. We would
have got another guitarist or keyboard player in. I think the best gigs we did
were when I sang and Mick Jones played guitar.
There's footage in the film 'DOA' of the Rich Kids performing 'Pretty Vacant'.
I sing the song and Midge gives this really cheesy wink at the camera.
Phil: Do you
ever see Midge now?
I pulled up at the traffic lights on Kew Bridge and thought who's that bloke in
this little Mini Cooper? and it was Midge. He had a baseball cap on. Urgh!
He's lost all his hair now though hasn't he?
That would be why then!
Going back to the demise of the group, you were saying that the group had divided
into two different camps.
Well it wasn't working. When a band's happening everybody is happy, and when it's
not happening people don't want to know. Rusty and Midge wanted to become New
Romantics. In fact they invented it really. There was no money coming in because
it was between albums. Me and Steve put our publishing money in to keep the wages
going until we started the second album. I walked into rehearsals one day and
there was a brand new synthesizer sitting there. Nobody had asked me - and it
was my band - whether I wanted a synthesizer in the first place, and more importantly,
where had the money come from? It had come out of my publishing money, without
me being asked. So I said 'That's the end of it.'
You were packing in what was quite a reliable and safe job.
When you're young you don't see that. When your first band is the Sex Pistols
and your next band signs to EMI for a lot of money, you think you'll just get
another one together, but it doesn't quite work like that. You don't understand
about all those bands that have been struggling away trying to get on the bottom
of the bill somewhere. You think maybe that's just as well because you're better
than that. Until it starts happening to you, you don't see it. On the other hand,
it was only a short period before the phone rang and Iggy Pop called me up.
How did EMI react to the split?
Well I actually went into the studio and recorded some demos. Another thing that
happened at EMI as well was we had signed to Mike Thorne and Nick Mobbs and then
they got the elbow. Chris Briggs and Brian Shepherd took over EMI. So you get
a new lot of people coming in who want their own artists. They haven't signed
you so they're not into you. If it's a band that they don't quite know what to
do with....they understand Cliff Richard, Queen and Marshall Hain.... but if it's
a punk band that's not really a punk band getting all this flak from the NME because
they're up Johnny Rotten's arse but not yours, it's too much trouble for them.
We were a victim of that, but even so I went and put some demos down. Mick Jones
and Danny Kustow played on them and we cut a couple of tracks, 'Getting Away With
Murder', and 'Precious'. I don't know if it's the same version of 'Precious' as
on the 'Burning Sounds' CD. But they didn't like my voice so that was it. Nobody
said 'If you work with a really good producer this will be good, there's some
good songs there'. Also at the time I was getting fed up with opening up the papers
and getting slated by Rotten. That's why I started drinking heavily.
Phil: So did
that wear you down, reading that kind of thing?
Yeah, it's got to. There's only a certain amount of shit you can deal with.
Also, I don't think our management were that good. I remember it was the summer
and I said let's do a tour of all the holiday resorts, but we ended up playing
Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
How did your association with EMI come to an end?
It just petered out, and I didn't pick up the rest of the money basically. I was
headstrong, the management said I should do the second album but I'm a man of
principle and I thought if it ain't right then don't do it. You don't see the
whole picture when you're young. If I knew then what I know now... I'm not bitter
about it though, that's just the way it went.
With the Rich Kids I thought
I was quite brave to stick my neck out 'cos it would have been so easy to get
another punk band together and cash in on the Pistols. I didn't want to do that.
I wanted to be a bit more adventurous. Malcolm McLaren said to me a couple of
years later when I was working with Iggy Pop 'Where you went wrong is, it's all
right in London, but when you're playing somewhere like Bolton - where they're
only just getting into punk - with something that ain't punk, they think you're
taking it away from them', which is quite an astute thing to say.
You formed lasting friendships with people from that era like Mick Jones and Steve
They're people you learn to play with, y'know. It's your peer group.
are your main abiding memories of your time with the Rich Kids? Any gig or event?
I remember we were playing at Barbarellas in Birmingham, and it was ram-packed.
There was this bloke down the front, and every time I went to sing at the mike,
he got hold of the mike stand and wiggled it so it kept hitting me in the face.
So I turned round and said 'Kiss my arse' and stuck my backside in his face, and
he bit it! Real hard, and it hurt! This was at the beginning of the tour. We did
the best part of two weeks around the country. I came home, I'm getting ready
to go to bed with my girlfriend, I took my trousers off and she said 'What's that?!'
I said 'You'll never believe this.' I told her the story and she said 'I don't!'
also remember going to Paris, we did a week at a place called Le Gibus. We did
7 shows in 6 days including a matinee. Ritchie Blackmore came down with his band
Rainbow, and they came in the dressing room and this French kid goes 'Ritchie,
Ritchie, I have a Fender Stratocaster just like you but she's from 1956, she's
immaculate, she's beautiful' Ritchie Blackmore turned round and said 'So what,
I've got a new one' and walked out!
first night we arrived in Paris the record company took us out for a big meal
and I had a dozen oysters. This French guy said 'Glen maybe you shouldn't eat
too much because isn't it not long before you go on stage?' The tour manager said
'No, it's all right we've got an hour and-a-half yet. We don't go on until 9 o'clock
and is only 7.30.' The French guy said 'No, you are wrong monsieur, it is 8.30'
He hadn't put his watch forward! We had to dash across town to get there, played
half of one number jumping up and down like punks are supposed to do, and I just
threw these dozen oysters up everywhere!
used to do lots of gigs, and for a bit of sport on a Friday night Mick Jones used
to come up on the train just so he could get up with us.
Did Mick ever try and get you to join The Clash?
No. When I left the Pistols, and the rumour was out, me, like an idiot said to
Malcolm I'd keep it quiet. Mick and Joe Strummer knew, and we went to the Marquee
to have a drink as my going away party. They were going 'Well what are you going
to do then?' They were looking at me, and I said: 'C'mon, you've got Paul' and
they said 'Yeah, all right'. So they didn't actually ask.
was asked to join The Jam. They were looking for a second guitarist. They came
up to me at the Roxy. Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler said to me 'Are you going
to join us?' and I said 'Let's see how it goes.' They added 'Will you wear our
suit?' I said 'Yeah I'll wear a suit.' They said 'Like ours'? I said 'You must
be fucking joking!' And that was the end of it!
If it wasn't for the suits would you have been tempted?
Yeah, I've always got on with Weller. I tried to poach Weller for the Rich Kids!
I chatted to him about it. He thought about it. Not for too long, but he thought
It's funny how things can go in different directions, based on split-second decisions
such as 'I won't wear a suit like yours!' The Jam were not that big at that time
The Jam had been running since before punk happened. The Pistols all went to see
them in 1975. They had that look already. They had all these flyers ripping off
the mod thing. We got talking to them then, 'cos obviously we weren't the same
as all the other long- haired kids that were down there.
Would you like to play with Weller now?
He did ask me about 10 years ago. They were having problems with the bass player
over money, but they sorted it out. I would have done it. I like his stuff. I'm
not a big fan, but I do like it.
by Phil Singleton 2001
many thanks to Glen Matlock www.glenmatlock.com
and Ian Dickson @late20thcenturyboy.com
God Save The Sex Pistols 2001