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Wednesday 05 June 2013

Public Image Ltd: Resurrected Post-Punk Colossus Exist Where 'New Influences Can Poison Your Well'

Public Image Limited (PiL) is now the vehicle of just one remaining member from its original 1979 incarnation. Long gone are the innovative and pulsating bass lines courtesy of Jah Wobble, and also missing are the spindly psychedelic guitar weaves of the much maligned Keith Levene.



Now it's just John Lydon alone who has resurrected the post-punk colossus and breathed new life into it, courtesy of last year's This Is PiL.

The album took the band's experimental ethos down new musical avenues, proving true talent may occasionally take a wrong turn, but it rarely travels the length of a cul-de-sac.

Lydon had emerged, in 1978, after the break-up of the Sex Pistols with PiL's debut, Public Image: First Issue. 

PiL had a more experimental sound: Wobble's "droning, slow-tempo, bass-heavy noise rock, overlaid by Lydon's distinctive, vituperative rant."

The band's early work is often regarded as some of the most challenging and innovative music of the post-punk era

.

It's with PiL that Lydon feels at his most creative: 

"I can't write for the Pistols. Emotionally, I'd be imitating myself, so respect it for what it was. 

"PiL is expression of freedom, and you can't go backwards once you've done that. Any new ideas go into PiL. 

"My inspiration is everything that the human being gets up to. I don't listen to any music when I'm in PiL-zone, because influences can poison your well. 

"Otherwise, I listen to anything. I used to think I liked Kylie Minogue until Jason Donovan said he once went out with her. That can put the mockers on anything." 


Their 1979 album Metal Box was ranked number 469 on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The NME described PiL as "arguably the first post-rock group."

The new PiL line-up (consisting of Lydon, earlier members Bruce Smith and Lu Edmonds, plus multi-instrumentalist Scott Firth) played to generally positive reviews in late 2009. 

The tour also spawned a live album release, ALiFE.

The early reformation work funded the recording of This Is PiL.

In late 2011, the band's own label PIL Official Limited was registered as a private limited company in the UK.
  
PiL released the vinyl-only EP One Drop in late April 2012, followed by the new 12-track studio album 

"What people have to understand is that each and every PiL album is completely different to the last and they have to be viewed that way. 

It's like a jigsaw that makes up the full picture."

PiL play Brighton Dome on Thursday 27th June. See brightondome.org for more details.
  


by: Mike Cobley


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