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Northern Ireland a scary place in the 70s, admits former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock


Glen Matlock

Glen Matlock

Glen Matlock

Former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock has spoken of his terror at touring Ireland in the wake of The Miami Showband massacre.

Matlock (65) said the visit in the 1970s was also “hairy” as the band’s hotel was covered in barbed wire for security and they had no idea about the implications of shortening Londonderry to Derry.

Bassist Glen said about touring the province after the 1975 UVF killing of three members of The Miami Showband: “I’ve been to Ireland a good few times — maybe 20 times in my career with different bands.

“We played there with the Pistols, we did the Electric Picnic. I like what I’ve seen and I think Dublin is fantastic — great Georgian architecture.

“I also played in Omagh and Armagh, and had to go across the border at the time of The Miami Showband thing.

“The hotel we stayed in was all barbed wire out the front, and it was a bit hairy.

“Then we got a bit lost driving up from Dublin, and we didn’t know… someone was asking where we were and we called it ‘Derry’.

“But if you don’t know, you don’t know.”

He added people “didn’t want to talk” about the showband killings, and said: “That was just after it, so it was a bit hairy.”

Glen is planning a new 2022 tour after going back on the road at the end of 2021 following a year-and-a-half unable to gig due to the Covid pandemic.

He said the “hairiness” of 1970s Ireland wasn’t his only brush with danger on the road.

Glen added about being confronted by an obsessed fan in the wake of John Lennon’s 1980 assassination by gunman Mark Chapman: “There was a guy in Liverpool, and we were polite to him, but he just wouldn’t let go, and he wanted more and more and more.

“He said quite loudly, ‘Don’t worry, Glen, I’m not Mark Chapman or nothing’, and he was slung out. It was a bit close to the bone.”

Glen spoke about The Miami Showband massacre after a recent Netflix documentary featured the tragedy — and after a damages settlement was last month agreed for survivors and relatives of the victims.

Des Lee and fellow Miami Showband member Stephen Travers escaped with their lives when their van was targeted by the UVF in 1975. On the night of the atrocity, the six-strong Miami Showband — one of the biggest acts on the Irish music scene in the 1960s and ’70s — had performed at the Castle Ballroom, Banbridge.

Visit for up-to-date information on Glen’s touring and releases.

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