John Lydon confirmed this week that he hopes to mount a more extensive Public Image Ltd. reunion tour next year, and may even record new music with the band, which is set to perform live for the first time in 17 years during a seven-date U.K. tour next month.
The occasional Sex Pistol sat for a number of interviews in the last week to promote PiL’s December tour — with a lineup featuring late-’80s members Lu Edmonds (a former Damned guitarist) and Bruce Smith (onetime drummer for The Slits), plus new bassist Scott Firth — that’s designed to celebrate the 30th anniversary the postpunk band’s classic second album, Metal Box, which also is being reissued in a new 3CD format next month.
Lydon told the Telegraph that he couldn’t reconvene PiL’s classic lineup of Jah Wobble, Martin Atkins and Keith Levene because “Wobble and Levene hate each other.”
“It’s not possible to put them in the same room — and how could you have one without the other? I worked so little with them, anyway. To go back with songs, you have to at the same time go forward. PiL is a shapeshifter, it adapts.”
PiL’s U.K. tour is being funded, in part, by Lydon’s proceeds from his appearance in a Country Life butter commercial (see video below), since, he claims, he’s receiving no support form his record label, Virgin. Appearing on Absolute Radio (see video below), Lydon slagged off his detractors: “The amount of silly ignoramuses out there yelling, ‘Cop out! Sell out!’ Well, yeah, Country Life butter is now completely sold out.”
In that interview, Lydon confirmed that he has bigger plans for PiL then just the seven-date U.K. tour:
“We just about might break even with this, but then I’d like to go out next year and tour properly in a bigger way. But I’d wanted to begin, like I do always with everything, in England. I’d like something like a stable band, but as you can imagine, it’s raising the money to guarantee a weekly wage.”
Lydon went on to say he’s “written loads of songs over they years” and is “gagging at the bit” to record them, but won’t do so as long as he remains signed to Virgin:
“Their lack of financial support on this is telling, I think — it’s telling me to tell them what to go do with themselves. So if I record live any new material, where’s my copyright? They’ll walk off with that, too, and they won’t release that just like they’re not properly releasing my records at the moment.”
As for the upcoming tour, PiL currently are in rehearsals — the Telegraph’s interviewer saw the band tear through “Public Image” — and Lydon told the newspaper “he intends to perform material from right across his post-Pistols career, including ‘Open Up,’ his 1993 hit with Leftfield.” The first taste of the new PiL comes Thursday, when the band’s performances of “Rise” and “Religion” will be aired on BBC2’s “The Culture Show.”
See full PiL tour dates and video of John Lydon’s interview after the jump…
Public Image Ltd. tour dates:
Dec. 15: 02 Academy, Birmingham, UK
Dec. 16: 02 Academy, Leeds, UK
Dec. 18: 02 Academy, Glasgow, UK
Dec. 19: 02 Academy, Manchester, UK
Dec. 21: 02 Academy, London, UK
Dec. 22: Electric Ballroom, London, UK
Dec. 23: Electric Ballroom, London, UK
VIDEO: John Lydon interviewed on Absolute Radio
VIDEO: John Lydon’s Country Life butter commercial
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS:
- Public Image Ltd. reissuing ‘Metal Box’ on CD, plus out-of-print ‘Plastic Box’ comp
- John Lydon reuniting Public Image Ltd. for 30th anniversary of ‘Metal Box’
- BBC releasing Peel Sessions, live sets from Gang of Four, PiL, The Specials
- Podcast marks 30th anniversary of Public Image Ltd.’s ‘Metal Box’
So Lydon’s having another reunion with himself. Boring! Fans know that Levene is the genius behind the original PiL and what went on after he left is just a really bad Johnny Lydon Band. Lydon KNOWS NOTHING of what Levene or Wobble is up to. So what – he’s thinks he knows what other people are thinking? I think not. A PiL reunion? It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got Levene!
Nonsense. I was at that gig last night and it was incredible. They bought new life to the Metal Box material (awesome Poptones, Careering and Albatross) This Is Not A Love Song shook the foundations and it was a tight, beautifully arranged and powerful PiL. Lydon is on form, the band sound great and they are working together nicely. Yes, Levine’s contribution to the early material is noteworthy, but no faulting John for sticking with it – arguably PiL’s finest moments came without the “classic” lineup – with many fans, including me, arguing that John Mcgeough was my preferred guitarist in the band!
Bloody awful! Who would want to see those old geezers? If Levene was involved, I would make an attempt to see the band.
I too was initially disappointed to learn that Wobble and Levene weren’t involved, but having seen the Manchester gig, I can tell you that this is a great live PIL line-up. Death Disco and Albatross were amazing. This is a very different animal to some of the cabaret PIL line-ups of the 80s. Very impressive indeed.
Blah,Blah,Blah…All these people who insult other people’s effort’s don’t have any right’s to moan and complain about something as good as John Lydon’s Pil. And all this Levene stuff. Sure,he helped shaped early Pil. As did, Jah,as did John. If he’s so Keith’s as great as some say?! What’s he done since?? I’m not taking away any thing from any ex-Pil members! They all done their bit. And I get sick hearing peole call any body a HAS BEEN! Better that than those twats with the negative comments..We can call those in question the NEVER BEEN’S! Shut up!
May the road rise and rise with John Lydon and Public Image Ltd.
Im with u Pete, what a shame others talk about the past… Yeah maybe you feel the need to demonstrate your knowlege, of original band lineup’s.. Boring… Boring… Boring… aint u clever. Leave John alone,hes a genius with the most original, inspirational talent EVER!!!! We still need u John, now more than ever!!!!