Glen Matlock is punk-rock royalty, impersonating a commoner. He was a bass-playing Sex Pistol for only about 18 months – he quit because he “couldn’t stand the bullshit” – but has a writing credit for every track on the Pistol’s only studio album. Of course, he played bass on it while his replacement in the band, Sid Vicious, was still struggling to learn the rudiments. Matlock’s compositions ‘Pretty Vacant‘ and ‘God Save the Queen’ are featured in this gig from the Echoplex in Los Angeles.
In ‘78 Matlock formed The Rich Kids (yes, the title was ironic) who really should have had hits with the two numbers that feature in this gig, ‘Ghosts Of Princes In Towers‘ and ‘Burning Sounds’, but didn’t, and singer Midge Ure went to join UltraVox and become a rich kid. Matlock also played with the great Iggy Pop, and ‘Ambition’ (from Iggy’s album ‘Soldier’) – a nasty, dirty, bluesy affair – is also here, one of only down-tempo tunes in the set.
Matlock shows a lovely self-deprecating tone on stage, obviously aware that it’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but he likes it. He sweats away in this tiny club (still proudly sporting his “Too fast to live, too young to die” t-shirt) and belts it out; it can’t be just for the money. He’s booze and drug-free these days, as survivors in this business tend to be, and which only adds to ‘(I Wish I Was) On Something’.
For this LA show filmed earlier this year , Matlock’s bandmates are also legends: New Yorker Clem Burke on drums (he’s played with Blondie, The Ramones, Bob Dylan), James Stephenson on lead (Generation X, Kim Wilde) and Steve Fishman on bass (currently also with Hugh Cornwell’s band). Matlock’s on rhythm and lead vocals, and together, united in sound, they deliver a glorious, gutsy show.
By Stephen Thompson