Why Glen Matlock and Dad Fell Out Over Sex Pistols’ TV Carnage
Glen Matlock said he didn’t speak to his father for a year after the Sex Pistols’ notorious appearance on TV in 1976, but not for the reason most people might expect.
The chat show spot, during which host Bill Grundy lost control of the situation and strong language was broadcast into British homes for the first time in the early evening, was a turning point in the Pistols’ career. But in a recent interview with Big Issue, Matlock discussed the unexpected fallout with his parents.
“My mum worked at the gas board,” he recalled. “After the show, they started calling her ‘Mrs. Sex Pistol,’ which didn’t go down too well. She took it out on my dad, so he was annoyed with me. Not for swearing on the telly, but for my mum being upset. ... My dad wasn’t anti-what I was doing. He was just anti-getting grief from my mum. We didn’t speak for a year.”
Matlock went on to regret leaving art college once he decided to take the Pistols seriously. “Maybe I could have been the first Damien Hirst, or he would have been the second Glen Matlock,” he reflected. “I said, You can give my place to somebody else; I’m joining a rock ’n’ roll band! I thought they were gonna say, ‘Oh, no, we need you.’ But they said, ‘All right then.’”
He said he still relished his involvement in England’s mid-‘70s punk scene, noting that “there was a whole slew of people who went on to do things. At gigs, you’d see Mick Jones or Viv Albertine and we’d congregate. It was a great time. More than the Sex Pistols, I’m proud and privileged to be part of a happening bunch of people.” He added that being surrounded by creative people with ambition had been good for his attitude.
"I started reading more diligently, picking up your Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Kerouac," he said. "All those books involved yearning for something a bit more. I realized that there’s a big world out there and I’d rather be part of that than the little two-up two-down I was brought up in. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it didn’t seem a very wide horizon."