Sex Pistols ex Glen Matlock launches operatic punk album

Glen Matlock
Glen Matlock (Image credit: David Mallows)

Former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock has launched an operatic punk album.

Titled The Anarchy Arias, it was recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra along with opera singers and sees them perform 13 classical renditions of punk classics including Oh Bondage! Up Yours! by X Ray Spex, Neat Neat Neat by The Damned, No More Heroes by The Stranglers and God Save The Queen by Sex Pistols.

Matlock reveals the album was inspired by his string quartet version of Pistol’s track Pretty Vacant which he recorded in 2015.

He says: “About a year and a half ago I got involved with doing Pretty Vacant with a string quartet. I really enjoyed it.

“The guy behind the Arias heard it, and thought it might be good for all kinds of punk things. So that’s what they did. I then heard some tracks, and I really liked it. I thought some of the orchestrations were fantastic. It was really well done.”

It’s not the first time Sex Pistols tracks have been covered by an orchestra. The London Symphony Orchestra recorded EMI and God Save The Queen for the The Great Rock’N’Roll Swindle soundtrack album.

Matlock adds: “I’ve always liked that version that Jerzimy did on the Swindle soundtrack of Anarchy In The UK, with a French accordion, in waltz time. All those things work, and they’re not necessarily what you think.”

As for The Anarchy Arias, Matlock says: “There’s certainly a lot of tongue in cheekiness to it. At the same time I am of an age where you had things like Deep Purple In Rock, with a symphony orchestra, or Procol Harum doing Conquistador with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra – or Frank Zappa with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Festival Hall.

“And always in the back of your mind, as a songwriter, you wonder what your stuff would sound like with an orchestra. And it’s a little bit of an accolade to hear it done that way. I think any good song can be played in any idiom.”

The Anarchy Arias will be released on June 9. Find the tracklist below, along with a video for Pretty Vacant.

The Anarchy Arias tracklist

  1. Pretty Vacant (Sex Pistols)
  2. No More Heroes (The Stranglers)
  3. Should I Stay Or Should I Go (The Clash)
  4. Ça Plane Pour Moi (Plastic Bertrand)
  5. Teenage Kicks (The Undertones)
  6. The Sound Of The Suburbs (The Members)
  7. Ever Fallen In Love…(With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) (Buzzcocks)
  8. God Save The Queen (Sex Pistols)
  9. London Calling (The Clash)
  10. Babylon’s Burning (The Ruts)
  11. Oh Bondage! Up Yours! (X Ray Spex)
  12. Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division)
  13. Neat Neat Neat (The Damned)

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Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.