Post PIL - Isn't life fun?

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Post PIL - Isn't life fun?

Bericht van Nespa op ma sep 07 2009, 11:01


http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/sep/06/john-lydon-public-image-limited



John Lydon: PiL lets me express proper emotions





He
was the sneering face of punk. Now John Lydon berates naughty kinderen in
the street. He reveals why he's reforming Public Image Ltd









John Lydon has announced that after 17 years he is reforming Public Image Ltd



On Christmas Day 1978, almost exactly a year after the implosion of the Sex Pistols
while on tour in San Francisco, the artist formerly known as Johnny
Rotten unveiled his new band, Public Image Ltd, at the Rainbow theatre
in London. The audience, John Lydon remembers with amusement, were
"nauseated, because the bass frequency was so low your bowels started
to vibrate". He lets out his familiar arch cackle. "Well, it's a
different experience at Christmas."Lydon has now chosen to
relaunch PiL, after a 17-year hiatus, with a series of pre-Christmas
shows. In the interim, he has reformed the Sex Pistols twice, but PiL,
he maintains, are his "first love". Over the course of eight albums and
as many lineups, PiL were as inspired and confounding as their
frontman. Their ferociously inventive early work has influenced bands
such as Massive Attack, the Manic Street Preachers, Primal Scream and
any number of this decade's post-punk revivalists. Their return should
be interesting. "It feels clean," says Lydon. "It's refreshing."Indeed,
a clean start was the original point of PiL. Lydon was sickened by punk
even at the height of the Sex Pistols' fame. "I don't like cliches, I
don't like entrapments, I don't like uniforms, and punk was getting
into a real problem with that. It's very sad seeing people filling up
the first 10 rows trying to look exactly like you." After the band
disintegrated, Lydon, broke and forbidden by former Pistols manager
Malcolm McLaren even to use the name Rotten, spent some time in
Jamaica, seeing how dub-reggae producers worked."It was the
spaciousness," he says. "For me, the best rock is not what you play –
it's what you're not playing." Back in England, he recruited a new band
(childhood friend Jah Wobble on bass plus former Clash guitarist Keith
Levene), named them after a Muriel Spark novel, and buried the myth of
the Sex Pistols with their first single, simply called Public Image:
"You never listened to a word that I said/ You only seen me from the
clothes that I wear."The PiL lineup that recorded the benchmark
post-punk albums First Issue and Metal Box will not, however, be
returning. "They're off on their own tangents," Lydon says vaguely. Are
they all still friends? "Wobble always, yes. Keith used to be, but he
went off into his own little universe and never came back." After they
departed (Wobble in 1980, Levene in 1983), PiL went through several
incarnations: on 1986's Album, Lydon worked with a bizarre selection of
musicians, including guitar hero Steve Vai, Cream drummer Ginger Baker
and even (although his contributions went unused) Miles Davis.The
current PiL features two late-1980s members: guitarist Lu Edmonds and
drummer Bruce Smith, plus one new arrival, multi-instrumentalist Scott
Firth. "We'll see where we can go," Lydon says. "Some things may be
quite similar. Some may not."Part of the impetus for PiL's
return seems to have been emotional. Last year, Lydon lost his father
and learned that his brother had cancer (now in remission) – events
that reminded him of the early days of PiL, when his mother and his
friend and former bandmate Sid Vicious died. His mother's passing
inspired Death Disco, a howling punk-funk exorcism that surely remains
one of the most harrowing songs ever to grace Top of the Pops. With
Wobble's enveloping basslines, Levene's unsettling guitar and Lydon's
knife-on-glass vocals ("like a bag of cats being slung down
a staircase" is his own description), PiL were sonically radical but
never cerebral. "It's not about being in or out of tune," he says. "The
Sex Pistols were too rigid. PiL allowed me to express proper emotions.
So I really wanted to get out and do [Death Disco] properly live again."Lydon
refuses to define PiL's sound or agenda. "When I finally cease working,
then you can make a judgment on what PiL is or isn't," he says tartly.
"For me, it's an unfinished work which is set to continue for
some time." Though a fiercely bright autodidact – a product of what he
calls Britain's "self-education system" – Lydon dislikes anyone he sees
as overtly intellectual or pretentious, which includes such esteemed
writers about his work as Jon Savage and Greil Marcus. Analysis, I am
slow to realise, irritates him intensely. I make the mistake of asking
him if he evolved the band by following his musical whims."Whims?"
he spits, sounding uncannily like Sir Alan Sugar in high dudgeon.
"Whims! That's the most ridiculous word to use. There's no whim
to any of it. All right? It's all about the emotions. I attack my
weaknesses head-bang-fucking-on, and it's quite painful for me at times
– and it's important."Well, I press on unwisely, the
later records, including hits such as Rise and Don't Ask Me, were far
more pop-friendly than the early ones. "I disagree entirely," he says,
with something like disgust. "I think that trying to label and
categorise is actually to the destruction of a band like Public Image.
You must not make such fake accusations. Otherwise you are missing the
point. Big time." So any attempt to analyse PiL's history is missing
the point? "Well, if you have the nerve and gall to tell me that you
know me better than myself, ab-so-lute-ly!"Oh dear. But
if Lydon is quick to take offence, then he is, thankfully, just
as quick to forget it. His annoyance abruptly subsides as he explains
that he is jittery about the wildfires ravaging California; he can see
the smoke from his window. He has lived in Los Angeles with Nora
Forster, his wife of 30 years, since the early 1980s, but still
maintains UK citizenship. Does he enjoy returning to Britain? "It's
always strange. It's brilliant the vibe you get off the cab driver – as
soon as he opens his mouth you feel great – and then you see the horrid
little streets and it all feels like a big toytown. And then you become
reacquainted with it and stop being so, well, spiteful to your past."On
a recent visit, he says, he berated some schoolkids for throwing stones
at passing buses. "Younger people at the moment are very mouthy and
aggressive," he complains, oblivious to the irony. "You're all
terrified of your own youth. You're not allowed to give them a clip
around the ear and send them home." But weren't people scared of him in
his youth? "Mmm. That was the power of words, but this lot use
violence."Lydon was never the folk demon he was seen to be
during the Sex Pistols' firework-like lifespan, but it has still been
strange to watch him become a cantankerous national treasure. Since his
improbable appearance on I'm a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! in
2004, he has hosted well-regarded nature documentaries and become the
face of Country Life butter. Despite his thirst for innovation (he was
an early adopter of hip-hop and techno), he sounds rather old-fashioned
at 53, brushing aside current bands ("a bit too manufactured"), digital
music ("far too cold and detached") and computers in general: "My
eyesight's gone. They drive me insane. How many mpegs of saucy
goings-on do you have to squint at before you learn this is no good?"
The only person, aside from his band and family, whom he expresses any
enthusiasm for is David Attenborough, who is "fantastic!"Yet
trouble continues to follow him around. Over the last couple of years,
he or members of his entourage have been accused of assaulting Roxane
Davis (an assistant on a US TV show he was appearing on) and Bloc Party
frontman Kele Okereke; and of having a run-in with Duffy at an awards
ceremony. "People are told that's what there'll be and therefore they
believe it," he says. "I've turned arrogance into an artform, where
it's so absurd that it becomes comedy. But I've never done anything to
hurt anybody or steal from anyone."It's strange how his tone
swings so often between imperious disdain and wounded sincerity. A
little later he adds: "I would like to be a good person." Does he think
he is? "Well, I'm going to work at it. You can always wake up on the
wrong side of the bed and boo-hiss everyone suffers. We can all be
temperamental."Is being on his bad side a frightening
experience? "It would be very hard to get there. You'd really have to
work at it. I can't carry on hatreds because they become almost
amusing. I don't actually hate Malcolm [McLaren]; it's just fun to hate
him. He's just one of those people." His voice softens into amused
melancholy. "I think what we're getting to here is so am I."We're
out of time. Lydon has to go. "Let's hope the Guardian's as poisonous
as ever!" he says cheerfully. I quickly remind him of a line from
1979's Chant, about urban violence: "It's not important/ It's not worth
a mention in the Guardian."The cackle rattles out again, this time with real relish. "Isn't life fun?" he says.




Zo wil ik ook 53 worden
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Nespa

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Re: Post PIL - Isn't life fun?

Bericht van Nespa op ma sep 07 2009, 18:34

Your alter-ego is a moron
30 years too late

Low Life
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