Glen Matlock left The Sex Pistols because he was tired of posing, didn’t hate boring old farts enough (he admitted to liking Paul McCartney which was a major McLaren no-no), and wanted to play loud pop music.
Suddenly, with Steve New (who as a 15-year-old had once rehearsed with the Pistols) on lead guitar and Rusty Egan on drums, they had a loud pop band which sounded – hardly surprisingly – like a logical cross between the Pistols and Slik.
Their debut single, Rich Kids, got The Rich Kids tagged as one of the most promising new wave bands in late 1977. They were certainly one of the first to be aware of punk’s limitations and work on a notably different level than their contemporaries.
The melodies were simple, direct and insidiously catchy. The guitars were loud and abrasive. The lyrics were interesting (at times) but never particularly heavy.
An album, Ghosts of Princes in Towers, appeared in 1978. Produced by Mick Ronson, it showcased not a one-dimensional pop band but a multi-faceted group housing three distinctive writers.
The album suffered from too many ideas, though, and the UK rock press received Ghosts harshly. This, coupled with a growing animosity between Matlock and Ure, began splitting The Rich Kids apart.
Matlock strongly opposed Ure’s progressive leanings, and in early 1979 gave him an ultimatum: either the synthesizer goes or I do. Ure didn’t budge, and so The Rich Kids – one of the new wave’s most promising and intriguing bands – split up after just one LP.
Midge Ure subsequently toured the US with Thin Lizzy but declined a permanent position in the band. He then turned progressive again and joined Ultravox, effectively replacing departed frontman John Foxx.
Matlock and New put together a loose gigging band called The Jimmy Norton Explosion. Joining the two ex-Rich Kids were Danny Kustow, the fine guitarist from the then-crumbling Tom Robinson Band, and workhorse drummer Budgie, later of Siouxsie and The Banshees.
The group was never that serious, and when Matlock and New were offered positions backing Iggy Pop (then promoting New Values) they accepted.
In early 1980, Steve New resurfaced with Generation X.