Glen Matlock made it clear to Danny Boyle he wasn’t impressed with Disney’s Pistol
Posted by  badge Boss on Jan 27
Glen Matlock was a bass guitarist in the Sex Pistols (Picture: REX)

Former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock, 66, on working for , his feud with , and feeling as much of a punk as he ever was.

You started out as a punk in the Sex Pistols – have you changed over the years?

I like to think I’ve stuck to my guns. I wrote the music for Anarchy In The UK and God Save The Queen, and the lyrics for Pretty Vacant. That song was a primal scream. It was the position I found myself in during mid-1970s London, which is not that different to what’s going on now.

Can music make a difference?

The right music at the right time is a rallying cry and around the world punk lives. It’s become a by-word for alternative music that is a bit left field and made by people who won’t be put upon. I’m proud of being part of that.

Are you still a punk at heart then?

As much as I ever was. People think punks should have mohawks, wear bondage trousers and drink cider all day. I’m not like that. There was a more nuanced version. I cut my teeth at arts school.

Glen, Johnny Rotten (John Lydon), and Steve Jones in The Sex Pistols in 1976 (Picture: Ian Dickson/Redferns)

Tell us about your new single, Head On A Stick…

It’s not a love song! We’ve been led up the garden path by the powers that be and I think it’s time for some comeuppance. When I say head on a stick I mean metaphorically of course, but I think it’s pretty clear where I’m coming from.

What’s coming up next?

My album Consequences Coming is released in April. Once we’ve seen people’s heads on a stick, metaphorically, there will be consequences coming for some of these people. But not all the songs on the album are like that. There are a couple to do with relationships.

You’ve been playing with Blondie recently…

I was asked to play bass for them last year and in a couple of months I’m going to be off on tour with them again. But I’d like to go out and play my own stuff. I’ve put my heart and soul into writing songs but I record them on a budget. It’s not like there are millions of record companies beating down my door. They obviously see me as some bloke who is past his sell-by-date but I’m out to prove them wrong.

Glen with Chris Stein and Debbie Harry of Blondie in 2016 (Picture: Dave J Hogan/Getty)
Glen has a new album coming out (Picture: Ian Dickson/Redferns)

Do you perform Pretty Vacant?

It’s a little bit of an albatross around my neck. I do a gig of newer stuff that I’ve worked hard on but people expect you to do a Pistols song. Then somebody makes a little video and puts it on YouTube and Instagram. It goes all around the world and people think you haven’t moved on.

What did you think of last year’s Disney series Pistol?

I’m not happy with it. I didn’t like the way I was portrayed – nothing to do with the actor but the script. It makes me look a bit wet. It comes across as a quasi-documentary but there are so many things that are wrong.

One of the stories is that our manager Malcolm McLaren persuaded [fellow Sex Pistol] Steve Jones to fire me. That wasn’t true. It was put to me that I’d got to get on more with John [lead singer Johnny Rotten] and I said I couldn’t, so I left.

Have you made it clear to Pistol’s director Danny Boyle how you feel?

He knows exactly what I think. I hooked up with Steve Jones in Los Angeles and we went to a red carpet event together. was there and it was the first time I’d seen him since I’d seen the series and I told him what I thought of him.

Later that night there was a dinner in his honour and he didn’t come. I like to think that he was sitting in his hotel room by himself eating a cheese sandwich, because he knew darn well that I wasn’t happy with him. I think he might have been frightened to see me again. He ought to be.

Danny Boyle directed Disney’s mini-series Pistol (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)

Are the Sex Pistols reunion tours finished now?

It doesn’t half look like it. We’ve all grown up different. But I’m still in touch with Steve and I met up with Paul Cook just before Christmas. I haven’t seen John for a long time.

You started out working for Vivienne Westwood in her shop Sex. What was she like?

Single-minded and driven – you didn’t want to get on the wrong side of her. Her shop was the hippest place to be in London on a Saturday afternoon. Every oddball, ne’er-do-well and person who wanted to do something with their life passed through its doors. That’s where we all met.

Dame Vivienne Westwood died aged 81 last month (Picture: Dave Benett/WireImage)

Rock‘n’roll lifestyles are wild. How has your health held up?

Well, I’m still here! I used to be a bad boy, but I wised-up at the right time. I knocked the drinking on the head 30 years ago and I look after myself now.

The BBC banned your single God Save The Queen. Do you still have strong views about the royal family?

I think they take the mickey but I can see they fulfil some kind of role. My dad worked for a company who made big ceremonial cars and I’ve got a picture of him with Princess Margaret. I’m proud enough to have that picture on the wall.

Head On A Stick is out now. Consequences Coming is out on April 23