Vacancy filled He was a teenage Sex Pistol, and a 50-year-old Sex Pistol, too. Now he’s a Philistine and he was “Born Running.” Ed. note: This article originally appeared in the Summer 2010 edition of Youngstown Pulse Magazine. By B.J. LISKO Youngstown Pulse Magazine LONDON — Same old shit. Glen Matlock doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Never has. Years after leaving one of the most influential and crucial bands in the history of not only punk rock, but music in general, the Sex Pistols, Matlock wrote a book on it, re-joined the group for numerous tours, yet still your average Joe relates Sid Vicious to the band as its bassist. Matlock was the chief songwriter musically for the group when it formed in 1975, and despite the Cook/Jones/Lydon/Matlock tags at the end of most of the songs off the group’s only studio release “Never Mind the Bollocks,” it was Matlock who penned all of “Pretty Vacant” — music and lyrics minus one line. It was Matlock who wrote the structure for “Anarchy in the U.K., and “God Save the Queen.” Matlock was the spark plug musically for the band that supposedly couldn’t play. His bass lines from that period of time can only be heard on “Anarchy in the U.K,” when it comes to the record. The numerous live bootlegs of the band show that not only could the band play, Matlock ran circles around most other bassists in the rock genre period. Sid Vicious will forever be linked to punk as the image, but that’s where his legacy ultimately ends. His musical contribution was nil. He was the poster boy of the “cartoon strip” according to Matlock’s book “I Was a Teenage Sex Pistol” that the band became once taking over on the four string. For a guy who has every right to be angry, Matlock, now a certified Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer, is incredibly humble and grateful for the career he has been able to have. “That’s why I wrote my book, really,” Matlock says. “I know everybody takes with what we all say with a pinch of salt. I try not to live in the past or cry over spilled milk, and I don’t really think about it anymore.” Why should he? Matlock is certainly a Sex Pistol, but he’s also had a musical career most could only dream of. He went on to form Rich Kids after leaving the Pistols (who also did a recent one-off reunion to raise money for band mate Steve New who has cancer), had stints with Iggy Pop, The Damned, Johnny Thunders, Ian Hunter as well as the more recent Dead Men Walking project with Slim Jim Phantom, Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding. Not to mention his Glen Matlock and The Philistines who are set to release their third full-length effort “Born Running” this summer. I catch Matlock via trans-Atlantic phone call a day before he is to attend the funeral for a man who caused him considerable headaches over the years, ex-Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. It was McLaren who made up the line that the band sacked Matlock for “liking the Beatles,” when Matlock left on his own accord. Matlock doesn’t know what to think of McLaren, even still. A silence deafens the call when I ask him how he feels about his passing. Mixed emotions at their finest. One thing that isn’t mixed up at all, however, is Matlock’s desire to write and perform. When he’s not playing with the Pistols or Philistines, he rarely stops, often doing solo acoustic tours as well. “I always saw myself more than anything else as a songwriter,” Matlock said. “That’s what has always been my driving force. Everything else is secondary to that. The acoustic shows put hairs on your chest. It’s like being a stand-up comedian. If it goes down well it’s an achievement. All the songs that I’ve done have started out an an acoustic guitar, but you’re hearing the bare bones of it. You haven’t really got a song unless you can play it in front of everyone by itself. A good song stands. And you get all the money yourself!” Music is what Matlock is. It’s what he does. It’s what he’s made a living at. Therein was the clash, no pun intended, with McLaren and the Pistols years before. McLaren was all for image, chaos and publicity, and Rotten’s ego had grown bigger than the band. Guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook were basically just along for the ride once 1977 rolled around. Matlock was in it for the songs and the chemistry the band had on stage in those early gigs. Years later he got his validation. In 1996 when the Pistols reunited for the “Filthy Lucre” tour, it was the original four — Rotten, Jones, Cook and Matlock. “I think the biggest thing really was out of all the bass players in the world they could’ve asked to do it, they asked me,” he said. “It did give me some kind of validation. Not in a nasty way, but it was great to do that again and to play. It was like the band just picked up where it left off in a way. When I originally played in the band the biggest crowd we played in front of was a few hundred. Now we’ve done parks and venues in front of thousands all over the world.” The most recent Pistols release, a DVD of a show at London’s famed Brixton Academy, “There’ll Always Be An England” showcases just that. And it shows the timelessness of the Pistols’ music. There are literally hundreds of bootlegs of the Sex Pistols. Most of them are the same recordings of the same 20 or so songs the band ever played or recorded. For a band that hasn’t written anything new in more than 30 years, it simply shows the influence the band has had, and continues to have even without writing a single new note. Simply put, the Sex Pistols started a movement inspiring the likes of The Clash, The Buzzcocks and countless others. “Maybe we was right all along,” Matlock said. “I always thought what we did was good. Back then, I didn’t really think past the end of week. But there was a feeling that we was on the cusp of something, quite what it was I don’t know. It was an exciting time.” Now Matlock is focusing on the Philistines and “Born Running,” specifically. His previous Philistines efforts have had a pop rock ‘n’ roll sensibility to them, even jazzy at times. But Matlock says the new material is some of the best he’s ever done. If that’s the case it’s going to join good company. “It’s a lot more heavy, kind of a rockin kind of thing,” Matlock says. “But then again, I don’t know. I was thinking of calling the album S.O.S. — same old shit,” he says with a laugh. Matlock is of course joking, but it’s easy to see why. “Everything with the Pistols over the last decade and a half is pretty blurry because they’re all the same songs,” he said. “The only way you can tell most of it apart is by the grey hairs and by the size of Steve’s gut.” The Sex Pistols were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, but at $25,000 a table for the ceremony, even for the honorees, the band certainly was not attending. Rotten sent a unilateral statement from the band calling the rock ‘n’ roll and the museum that represented it a “piss stain.” “It was rock ‘n’ roll bullshit,” Matlock said. “On the other hand, it would’ve been nice to get a badge finally. I’m not cut from the same cloth as John (Rotten). People get Grammys and difffent kinds of awards, I’d quite like one sitting on my mantle.” If Matlock is ever in Cleveland, they’re holding it for him. As a godfather of punk, he doesn’t see much happening in the genre he helped create, and it’s not like there’s a movement waiting around the corner. “I see a lot of rehashing,” Matlock said. “Everything is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Mabye I’m old, cynical and jaded. There’s lots of people that have a good track here or there. There’s no punk rock out there that I can see. Or if it is, it’s people pretending. Punk was always an attitude. It was people like Gene Vincent, Jim Morrison, Frank Zappa, they were punks somehow. They had that kind of take no bullshit attitude, and I don’t see so much of that these days. As the world turns, everything gets a little hipper but also a lot straighter at the same time. Everyone looks a lot more like a punk rocker than they used to.” Same old shit, indeed. For more information on Glen Matlock visit glenmatlock.com or sexpistolsofficial.com.