Page last updated at 09:02 GMT, Thursday, 11 February 2010

Public Image star Jah Wobble said no to reunion tour

By Ian Youngs
Music reporter, BBC News

Jah Wobble
Jah Wobble is hitting the road with his own band this year

Original Public Image Ltd bassist Jah Wobble has explained why he turned down the chance to join John Lydon on the band's current reunion tour.

Wobble, who played on the group's first two albums, said Lydon was using the comeback to make money and was not playing at the right venues.

But the bassist stressed that he was "not bothered" about what Lydon had done and had "no axe to grind".

Original guitarist Keith Levene was also absent when the group returned.

Lydon took to the stage alongside two later PiL members for the group's first dates in 17 years in December, and they will play at a string of festivals this summer.

Wobble says the original line-up could have reconvened under the right circumstances, but that will now never happen.

John Lydon in Public Image Ltd
John Lydon brought the band back to life in December after 17 years

"I was asked last July and I definitely did think about it and talk about it to an extent, but it just wasn't the right move for me," he says. "It just wasn't the way I would do it. I don't care, I think it's great and I'm not bothered at all."

Lydon formed PiL after the Sex Pistols split in 1978, and their early releases are considered seminal by many, having influenced bands from Primal Scream to Massive Attack.

Wobble, born John Wardle, says he wanted to record a new album and discussed that prospect with Lydon.

"I suspect with John it's about two things - raising money efficiently and quickly and reactivating the PiL brand as his vehicle," Wobble says of the comeback. "That's just business."

The fee Lydon offered the bassist to go on the road was not appropriate for such a tour, with tickets costing up to £39, he said.

I wasn't jut going to go along with any old thing even when I was a teenager so I ain't go along with him now
Jah Wobble

"That's another thing - I wouldn't make the ticket price that high," he says. "That's when I thought this is primarily a money thing.

"I wasn't just going to go along with any old thing even when I was a teenager, so I ain't go along with him now."

Re-creating the second album Metal Box without Levene, who also had a spell in The Clash, is "pretty tough", Wobble believes.

The pair fell out and Wobble now says Levene is "not somebody I would want to go on holiday with in Tenerife for a week".

"But he really did have something. And it's a testament to how good he was that you can't think of a guitarist now who could replace Keith. That's a tall order."

I actually think now is a great time to come back and shake things up politically a bit
Jah Wobble

The resurrected Public Image Ltd began their comeback at the Birmingham Academy in December before touring the UK.

Wobble says he wanted to return with "really special" gigs in unusual venues, rather than the usual circuit.

"No disrespect to the Academy scene - I'm going to the Academy to see Tinchy Stryder with my two boys - but I think PiL is quite a special thing," he says.

"You shouldn't just take it to Academies or Apollos. You should put some special show on somewhere, really special. You go and do some very different venues. We could have done anything, I still think that.

"I actually think now is a great time to come back and shake things up politically a bit. You could get people going a bit and have a bit of fun with people."

With PiL there's something about those personalities that could have still happened, but now it couldn't
Jah Wobble

Although he says he is "still pals" with Lydon, he will now never rejoin the Public Image fold, he says.

"With PiL there's something about those personalities that could have still happened, but now it couldn't."

He believes that in a year's time, everyone "will have accepted that that original line-up will never get it together again".

Wobble, whose Invaders Of The Heart band enjoyed success in the 1990s, released his autobiography, titled Memoirs of a Geezer, last year.

He will be playing live with his own band later this year and is preparing to release two albums, Japanese Dub and Welcome To My World.

Print Sponsor

Public Image Ltd reform for tour
07 Sep 09 |  Entertainment
The great Sex Pistols pantomime
09 Nov 07 |  Entertainment


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific