Matlock - Head On A Stick
Phil Singleton about his politically charged new single
: What’s the background to you selecting Head On A Stick as the single
and lead track on your forthcoming album?
Glen: The state of the country
since just before the Brexit vote. I
whole thing was total stupidity and it enabled these ultra- right-wing,
inept, uncaring, self-centred and self-serving politicians. I am
railing against that. I think they should be made an example of.
particular individual targets?
When you make an album there’s a gestation period, not only the
recording of it, but you go through the whole period of writing the
songs before that so some of the songs go back a couple of years. There
was the whole thing with Trump in the States and Johnson coming into
power over here, how anyone could vote for him, he’s a nitwit. I was
really shocked when I said a few things on Facebook and people said
“don’t you realise that the right is now the new left”. That’s a load
of fucking bollocks. The Tories came on as though they were not Tories,
like they were the new vanguard and anti-establishment. They’re the
most establishment bunch of people ever. I was picking up on that with
the songs I was writing and I think some people should be made a
metaphorical example of, hence Head On A Stick. I’m not advocating
violence against anybody but I did like the idea when they used to put
people in cages at Traitors’ Gate, and I think they’re traitors.
of that, it’s not a bad little tune an’ all. It’s got a cool guitar
riff. I wrote this song along with another one called The Ship which is
on the album. I had recorded most of the album earlier and I revisited
it and in the meantime I’d written these couple of songs. It was in the
tail end of lockdown and I did a couple of things like a charity record
at home recording my part separately and another with a group from
Argentina who sent a track over to me. They came out sounding really
good and I thought it was an interesting way of working. I was talking
to Clem Burke and told him I had a couple of songs. I sent the guide
guitar parts to Clem in LA and he did the drums. James Hallawell - he
played keyboards with The Waterboys - did the keyboards on it and
there’s a Roxy Music piano thing going on through the verses. I came up
with the guitar riff which I played myself, I’m not short of a guitar
riff or two. I think that’s my first guitar solo on record.
I think a song should be about something of consequence and a musician
is in a privileged position ‘cause if you get on the radio you’ve got a
bit of a soapbox so you shouldn’t really duck the questions of the day.
Now I don’t think I’m Karl Marx or anybody, far from it. I’m probably a
bit more middle ground, but things have gone so far to the right. I
just think the people that we’ve got at the moment are hopeless, and so
brazenly corrupt that it should be pointed out and should be made an
example of. Head On A Stick.
I don’t think you get too many songwriters having to go and see
psychiatrists because they’ve got an outlet and a vehicle for getting
out what’s on their mind. When you write a song, it’s a combination of
the lyrics and the music, it’s not like you’re writing a newspaper
article, the two things combined hopefully are more than the total of
the sum of the parts - you’re dealing with an emotion.
And you feel
stronger than ever about this now?
I think it’s going from bad to worse. Although what I do think now I
know from what I read in some of the papers and online, and from some
of the people I talk to, that there’s a chink in it and people are
coming around to a different way of thinking. Whatever has happened,
people were hoodwinked and this enabled the people in power, not only
in this country but around the world, to instigate a real lurch to the
right . The whole Brexit thing is cutting off your nose to spite your
face. I know I’m a musician and I’m fortunate enough to travel around
the world a lot more than other people and I see how inter-dependent
countries are. You learn pretty much wherever you go in the world
people want the same thing, food on the table, to look after their
families, and to go out and enjoy themselves and let off steam without
too much hindrance. That’s what you learn through travel.
One of the
biggest eye-openers for me was a few years back, we did a gig to help
cooperation between North and South Korea.The gig was right on the
border. There was this funny hill, it was built by the South Koreans as
an anti-tank escarpment, but there was some stairs going up it. I said
“can you see North Korea from up there?” they said yes but that’s not
the reason for it, there’s a bird sanctuary there where you can see
this rare breed of ibis. It’s kind of weird because there’s the threat
of nuclear Armageddon and there’s a bird sanctuary right in the middle
of it. Unless you are fortunate enough to go to these places you don’t
get to see that. There’s this demilitarized zone and it’s really nice
farmland, mind you there are bits cordoned off which are minefields!
The place is beautiful, I thought it was going to be dingy and dark
like something out of Lord Of The Rings, but it wasn’t.
always been a disconnect between the top one percent and the
rest of us.
I think the sad thing is as the years go by, you think there would be
less of that but the last 5, 6, 7 years it’s become more so. I think
we’ve got to pull that back. The thing with these people and the way
they treat the populace, is they’ve had hundreds of years of practice
at it and they’re very good at doing it. The best thing that ever
happened to me was freedom of movement in Europe, and that’s been taken
away. And for what? It hasn’t been replaced with anything. I’m moaning
about it, I’ve got it off my chest, that’s how I feel.
Oh and the song
is also a toe tapper! With an edge to it.
Head On A Stick is available from 27th January on digital platforms
and to view at youtube.com/@glenmatlockofficial
Album Consequences Coming due 27th April on Cooking Vinyl. Available to Pre-order
Credit ©Danny Clifford
Interview conducted 21st January 2023
Text ©Phil Singleton 2023
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