Reunions, Video — June 1, 2012 at 7:49 am

Video: Jah Wobble and Keith Levene revisit PiL with ‘Metal Box in Dub’ in London

Photo by Gerald Jenkins

This week saw the release of the first album in 20 years from Public Image Ltd. — but John Lydon’s reconstituted crew isn’t the only live act carrying the PiL torch these days. Two members of the band’s most famous lineup — bassist Jah Wobble and guitarist Keith Levene — have reunited after 30 years, playing a handful of “Metal Box in Dub” shows in the U.K. this year that spotlight PiL’s classic 1979 sophomore album.

The duo — who released a new EP earlier this year — performed at London’s Village Underground last Friday, enlisting a masked Nathan Maverick of The Sex Pistols Experience on vocals, Marc Layton-Bennett on drums and Sean Corby on trumpet. Wobble’s website only lists one future “Metal Box in Dub” show — at Willow Man Festival in Northallereton, U.K., on June 24 — although a web search reveals an unconfirmed show June 18 in Berlin as well.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Lydon takes issue with the “Metal Box in Dub” project:

“Wobble had the opportunity to come back and work with us, but [money differences made] it impractical. It’s very unfair of him, and it was a shock to me. He’s behaving very silly…. Bear in mind, when I started PiL, nobody in the world knew any of them people. I gave them careers.”

Below, you can check out a few video clips from Friday’s performance in London, including “Poptones,” “Memories” and “No Birds,” courtesy of uploader .










  1. “Bear in mind, when I started PiL, nobody in the world knew any of them people. I gave them careers.”

    Too funny. People already knew Keith from The Clash, and it’s hard to believe Wobble wouldn’t have just gone and done remarkable stuff one way or another. Read any interview with Mr. Lydon over the last, oh, forever years, and see how often he credits anyone but himself for anything. He has his brand down to a science. I guess it pays the bills.

    If anyone thinks PiL owes it’s legacy solely to the largesse of Mr. Lydon, here’s a thought experiment: imagine that the first 2 PiL albums were That What is Not, and 9. Would anyone be talking about PiL today? Would anyone be talking about how the band changed the sound of music, essentially inventing post-punk?

    The truth is that Mr. Lydon has become the William Shatner of rock. He is the very thing Johnny Rotten warned us about, both pompous and sad.

    Mr. Lydon owes more then he’ll ever know, or ever admit, to Keith Levene and Jah Wobble.

  2. And if it were’t for Malcolm, Mr. Lydon would more than likely be hustling chips from the back of a shop somewheres. It all trickles down, son.

  3. Keith and Jah have rights to the legacy of those early PiL albums as much as Lydon. Looks like they are doing it justice with a trumpet player to boot.

    Hey James. It hurts me to think that 9 and That What Is Not are the last pieces of music John McGeoch put his name on. Anyway, your point makes a lot of sense.

    • “Hey James. It hurts me to think that 9 and That What Is Not are the last pieces of music John McGeoch put his name on. ”

      Those weren’t bad albums as such (well, at least there were some good songs in there) and I think McGeoch’s legacy will hold up quite well regardless.

      But those albums just were not, in any way, groundbreaking. I do have to wonder if McGeoch would have done something more adventurous were he not with Lydon.

  4. This is great, but Lydon at least HAS THE NEW ALBUM, WITH NEW MUSIC, out in shops.

  5. John Lydon is a completely washed-up has-been and beyond pathetic, and THAT is coming from one of the biggest PiL fans in the world up to about 1996, when he reformed the Sex Pistols, something he said he’d NEVER do during the entire history of PiL. His voice is beyond terrible these days as well. AND he sounds a bit jealous about the Levene and Wobble reunion (two people who supposedly hate each other these days, according to Lydon)

    I would have been overly thrilled about a new PiL record about 15 years ago, yet I haven’t even listened to it, nor do I even care to buy it.

  6. Credit to Keith Levene and Jah Wobble for the recent album they did with Lonelady. That was very good and if I’m honest is far better than PiL’S This is PiL. John Lydon’s vocals just sound too loud in the mix and the music is weak. There are fragments of greatness on This is PiL, but it needed musician who ready pushed the limits.

    Of course Levene and Wobble have Nathan who is looking alot better being himself. They will get bashed because he does sing in the Pistols/ PiL tribute act. yet if he can write decent lyrics and be just Nathan they could be onto a winner. Good luck to Levene, Wobble and co.

  7. i do recall being at laugharne festival and hearing a new song that nathan wrote for JW & KL and it sounded very ear catchy i liked it, keith said they went into the studio to record it a couple of months ago. hopefully there will be more. its nice to be able to see both PIL & MB i think despite who favours either

  8. Chris Jackson

    Just read the news about the forthcoming album by the two powerhouses, Keith and Jah. Hallelujah I say. Its something to definitely look forward to, especially since it appears there are no further Metal Box in Dub shows on the horizon. Damn!!! Why didn’t I make one of those historic shows this year? Yet another in a long series of missed opportunities in my life.

  9. steve baxter

    Am I an idiot or is that lydon singing. I have enogh audio to support that theory. That is his voice. Please tell me different.

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