In 1976, The Sex Pistols released an album that would change the face of music forever. Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols was released to both fanfare and horror from the UK’s establishment.
Both the album and the band’s legendary 1976 gig at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall are widely regarded as the catalysts that sparked the city’s burgeoning music scene. So what better way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of punk than by welcoming founding Sex Pistols member Glen Matlock back to Manchester for a catch up with Jake Shillingford (BIMM’s Group Head of Artist Development).
The BIMM in-conversation event took place at the Deaf Institute – a day after Glen’s triumphant solo show, which saw support from talented singer-songwriter and BIMM student Nish Goyal.
Jake and Glen reflected heavily on The Sex Pistols’ history, including that infamous TV interview which was broadcast almost 40 years ago to the day – December 1 1976 – on Bill Grundy’s Today show on Thames Television. It resulted in the band making the front cover of nearly every national newspaper – notably The Daily Mirror, whose headline ‘The Filth & the Fury’ subsequently became the title of The Sex Pistols’ rockumentary.
“We didn’t want to do the TV interview, but we were roped into it. We shocked the world of TV in 1976 and showed everyone what we were about. After that, we were called in for a meeting with EMI, we were on the front page of the news, it was crazy.” Glen revealed.
Here’s THAT TV clip
Jake also quizzed the bassist on the band’s notorious reputation as a live band and the group’s image, which was heavily influenced by their late manager Malcolm McLaren. Glen explained:
“When we played live, we played loud. What we were doing was a total antithesis of what was going on at the time. Johnny was a great front man. We were a tight band, we were into the music, and what we were doing and that was great. But it all became about the image. We got all caught up in the social stuff, that all became more important; the attitude, the image, the idea of what we were meant to be.”
Glen, who left the Pistols before their debut album was released, talked about how the journey into music has changed for modern musicians:
“See, there wasn’t something like BIMM when I was young. There was no music school unless you were a classical musician. So I was applying for art school. I was interested, I was fairly good, and I read that most of my musical heroes had gone to art school and formed bands there.”
On the subject of today’s musicians, Glen commented on the current trend of bands wanting success straight away:
“It’s about the little gigs. Learning to breathe and grow and mature. When the Pistols emerged, we had already done our homework and played the smaller gigs. We saw what the audience liked and reacted to. There is a danger now that people want to get there too quickly.”
BA1 Songwriting student Roy Muscutt shared his thoughts on the interview and the importance of punk 40 years on:
“Punk has had a massive influence and the chance to ask Glen a question was amazing. Pretty Vacant is still a fresh statement that has lasted the test of time and – being a punk music myself – it’s great that it is still respected and relevant today.”
BA1 Events Management student, Elliot Thompson was also present and praised Glen for connecting with the audience:
“Glen was a brilliant guest who connected with us as an audience and Jake asked great questions. I feel very Inspired. It was good to hear about the songwriting process and how he does it.”
It was great timing to have one of punk’s pioneers, talking to the BIMM students during the 40th anniversary year of Punk.