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How The Kinks define London for Glen Matlock

Glen Matlock is a brilliant musician, there can be no doubt about it. He’s experienced a storied career of many twists and turns and is rightly hailed as one of the definitive heroes of modern British music. 

As the bassist of the British punk band the Sex Pistols, Matlock contributed to one of the most consequential albums ever released, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. After his contentious departure from Britain’s premier punk rabble, he undertook a variety of endeavours, which included playing in the short-lived new wave supergroup Rich Kids and featuring on Iggy Pop’s 1980 album, Soldier.

In addition to these stellar moments, he also performed on punk legends The Damned’s 1994 record Not of This Earth and in supergroups boasting the likes of Clem Burke, Mick Jones, and Earl Slick. He even offered up his bass-playing skill to the reunion of British rock heroes Faces, indicating just how well regarded he is within the industry. 

His former Sex Pistols bandmates were acutely aware of what he brought to the band, and duly, he has been re-invited to the fold at every one of their reunions, including the iconic 1996 ‘Filthy Lucre’ tour.

A real appreciator of music, this was one point that always caused tensions between Matlock and the rest of the Sex Pistols. Their infamous manager Malcolm McClaren even sent a telegraph to the NME claiming that he was “thrown out…because he went on too long about Paul McCartney….The Beatles was too much.” Matlock contests this, maintaining that he left by “mutual agreement” because he was “sick of all the bullshit”.

However, now that he is free from the confines of Sex Pistols, Matlock has been able to discuss all kinds of music without fear of retribution from his ‘punk’ counterparts. Whilst speaking to NME for their ‘Soundtrack of My Life’ column in 2021, he revealed his love for The Kinks and discussed how they define his hometown, London.

Matlock explained that the first song he fell in love with was The Kinks’ groundbreaking 1964 hit ‘You Really Got Me’, before taking a trip down memory lane and discussing his childhood.

Matlock said: “I remember buying it out of my own pocket money from a washing machine shop in Harlesden, northwest London. There wasn’t a record shop but you used to be able to go and buy the ‘Top Twenty’, they had little pegboard cubicles with the numbers of the chart positions in; meanwhile the mums and dads were queueing up to pay for the rental of their TV or radio that week. Times were different back then.”

He then disclosed that it is a Kinks song that reminds him of home, and unsurprisingly it is the quintessential ode to London, ‘Waterloo Sunset’. Ostensibly a tour de force in songwriting, courtesy of Kinks frontman Ray Davies, ‘Waterloo Sunset’ will long be hailed as one of the ultimate love letters to the capital of England.

The former Sex Pistol expressed: “It’s a song about London and the cherry on the cake of Ray Davies’ fantastic songwriting prowess. Where I live, every now and then I see Terence Stamp walking down the street, who’s supposedly the Terry in the ‘Terry and Julie…’ lyrics, loosely. I was on the Bakerloo Line getting on a train once and there was Terence Stamp, but he looked like a hippy with shorts and Jesus sandals on. He sat down near me and nobody said anything. When he got off early, [another commuter] asked me, ‘Who was that?!’ and I said, ‘You don’t know who that is? That’s Superman’s dad!’”

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