“THE FIRST THING I thought was, He’s trouble, and I was right…” Indeed, rock’n’roll was never the same again after John Lydon came face-to-face with Glen Matlock and the rest of the Sex Pistols for the first time.
In the new issue of MOJO (February ’16 / #267), on sale in the UK now, we celebrate 1976: the year that British punk lit a cultural fuse and waited for the explosion.
With new interviews with the scene’s innovators, influencers and more, we examine how that seismic change in music came about with a month-by-month look at the fateful year, including Glen Matlock recalling the moment he first set eyes on the future Johnny Rotten.
“The first thing I thought was, He’s trouble, and I was right. But it was in a good way, at first,” he tells MOJO’s Pat Gilbert. “Even though he couldn’t sing in the accepted sense, there was something about the way he took the piss… Steve [Jones, guitar], Paul [Cook, drums] and me had a cocksure attitude, but we couldn’t put it into words. But he could. He had the gift of the gab.”
The rest, as they say, was history, meaning a good scare for the British establishment, some extraordinary records, a rocky ride for Matlock and more, though none of that would have happened, reckons the bassist, if Lydon’s audition had gone the other way.
“John had the gift of the gab.”
“The Sex Pistols wouldn’t have been the Sex Pistols if it wasn’t for us finding John,” he suggests. “But it wouldn’t be the Pistols without me, either – or Steve, or Paul. It was just one of those rare combinations in music that produce something really interesting. And it’s still getting talked about 40 years later.”
Get the new issue of MOJO, on sale from today (December 29), in the UK for the full look at 1976 – including more Matlock – plus our free Pretty Vacant CD which comes with the issue.
It’s a bespoke, 15-track collection of proto-punk nuggets boasting songs that helped to inspire a generation, starring The Stooges, MC5, Hawkwind, The 101'ers, Flamin' Groovies, New York Dolls and more.