It isn't what they mention in The Guardian…

First published Fodderstompf, November 2006
© 2006 / F&F Publishing

Fodderstompf: It's never been fashionable to admit to liking PiL but it seems some people are just more honest than others… Now, of course, PiL just did what they did. They wouldn't have gave a toss about acceptance or influence. But as one of the following quotes states: "Respect soon has to be paid..."

We will add to them, so if you find any, get in touch

By Scott M, with thanks to Greg Whitfield & Steve Miller


"Public Image Ltd... The first three LP's are all classics. Buy them if in doubt. After that which is a major legacy, sporadic brilliance.

Rotten/Lydon is a martyr for us all whether he knew it at the time i would have to say he probably did. He stuck it so far up society's arse he had to leave the country to have a life.

Metal Box is godlike. Lydon is a genius and you could not invent him. I don't know him. Have spoken to him about 3 times ever but these records and his attitude changed my life forever.

Malcolm and John say a lot of the same things. The difference to me is i think Malcolm thinks it and John means it. Lydon is 100% attitude. He paid his price for people like me to have a life outside some poxy factory.

Rotten/Lydon changed the world for the best and left us with incredible music. Public Image respect soon has to be paid..."

Alan McGee (Poptones Records)
Fodderstompf, March 11th 2001

"We could never do a record on a par with 'Metal Box', let alone 'Flowers Of Romance' and I'm no Lydon. I can't keep up the attitude!"
Tom Yorke, Radiohead
Source: The Wire, July 2001

"I met John Lydon in the summertime. I was introduced to him by Bill Laswell, it was great meeting him 'cos I had most of his previous work. I have Sex Pistols records, PiL records and I saw him in 'Corrupt' [Order of Death] and on his videos. I've always thought he looked real good and I really liked the rhythms on all the PiL records."
Afrika Bambaataa
Source: unknown 1984 interview

"I have to say that PiL did have a profound effect on me."
Neil Barnes, Leftfield
Source: NME, 1999

"When we played Leeds sci-fi Futurama I saw this lot [PiL] and thought they were great despite the bad press they got. I've got 'Metal Box' and I think it's superb, the only thing is, I have to put various amounts of weights on my stylus to stop the thing jumping…"
Ian Curtis, Joy Division
Source: Extro sci-fi magazine, Vol.2/No.5, January 8th 1980

"I forgot to mention Jah Wobble among the bassists I love, but on this album [Metal Box] he's amazing. Whenever I hear the bass sound on this I go, You bastard! because it's so good. Our manager at the time, Rob Gretton, bought us this because he thought we should be educated about what was going on in the world of indie music. So cheers Rob, it's still great. "
Peter Hook, New Order
Source: Q magazine

"As a musician, 'Metal Box' has inspired me sonically. Jah Wobble's bass playing is awesome…"
Peter Hook, New Order
Source: Observer Music Monthly magazine, March 2005

AG: You like to play seated, right? Very stoic. How did that come about?
MI: At some point we saw a Public Image video. Jah Wobble was sitting down, and me and Wayne watched it and were like, "That's really cool." I think around 1989, at the height of my Jesus and Mary Chain infatuation, it seemed like that would be cool if I sat down. Totally the opposite of someone like Flea, this maniac jumping around. And that suits his personality. But I think I'm more on the John Entwistle side of things.
Michael Ivins, Flaming Lips
Source: Anti Gravity Magazine, 2006

"What we loved about people like PiL was the way they were unafraid to experiment…"
Molly Schnick, Out Hud
Source: BBC Collective, March 2005

"We just wanted it to sound like PiL... ['Sonic Youth' debut album 1982] "
Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth
Source: Filter magazine, August 2006

"When I was pretty young, I heard 'Rise' on TV, but it's the earlier PiL stuff I love. It's Jah Wobble's bass that does it for me, because I used to go to reggae festivals when I was growing up around Hackney they always had these big soundsystems. You can hear the reggae/dub influence really well on 'Metal Box'. I always try and get our bass player to turn it up to get the vibe going. It's not instant music but once you get it, you find yourself hooked."
Luke Smith, Clor
Source: NME, September 28th 2005

"Lydon's finest ever moment wasn't the first four Pistols singles - it was PiL's 'Metal Box'. It's still ahead of its time today. Lydon, Levene and Wobble are all amazing musicians and to be this great after the Pistols was a miracle. Lydon was a martyr: he is in exile in LA to this day because he told the truth. He's England's national treasure."
Alan McGee
Source: NME, September 28th 2005

"When you listen to PiL that's deep, strange and scary. It makes you think… 'Why would anyone make this'?"
James Murphy, LCD Soundsystem (DFA Records)
Source: Jockey Slut magazine, April 2003

"Public Image, I wasn't ready for it. He sounds like he was from hell on that record, in the best, best sense…"
Jim Kerr, Simple Minds
Source: Vh1 Classic, October 15th 2005

"I really liked 'Rise' PiL, I remember when it came out. But I DJ'd a lot about 5 years ago and I remember just hearing the track again, and I thought I've got to play it. A lot of people were playing sort-of uplifting house, and I decided to drop it into one of my sets. It's a great song, it's got a kind-of certain 80s sound, but it's really uplifting, with Lydon's chaos, and intelligent vocal over the top. Music seems to lack characters like him these days I think…"
Liam Howlett, The Prodigy
Source: Vh1 Classic, October 15th 200

"Metal Box was the soundtrack to my mis-spent youth…"
Paul Kaye (aka Dennis Pennis)
Source: unknown 90s interview

"You could only take the punk thing so far. You had to try to listen to new things. I'm talking about the influence of PiL. 'Death Disco' had a reggae bassline, disco drumming, 'Swan Lake' on the guitar and then Lydon singing lyrics about his mother dying. It's the most bizarre mix up. It's inspirational really."
Bobby Gillespie, Primal Scream
Source: interview by Kris Needs, circa 1991

"I saw Public Image in 1980, and got caught in the mosh pit... The show changed me..."
Source: unknown 90s interview (unconfirmed)

Apparently, Peter Buck of R.E.M stated the reason they named their publishing company R.E.M./Athens, Ltd. was a homage to Public Image, Ltd...
Peter Buck, R.E.M
Source: unknown interview (unconfirmed)

"With us then it was Wire, Magazine, John McGeoch (PiL, Banshees, Visage) was a big influence on James [Bradfield], Jah Wobble was a big influence on the bass sound and Gang of Four were a big influence as well. It was all the music we grew up listening to…"
Nicky Wire, Manic Street Preachers
Source: ireallylovemusic, 2004

Hero: Public Image Ltd
I'd say Public Image Ltd, the whole group rather than just John Lydon, because it was a combination of the people. When the first single came out I was blown away by the transition; when 'Metal Box' came out there was nothing even close to it. It was all about basslines, the production stripped right back to a simple form and arranged so it didn't get clogged up, very sparse. PiL really affected my adolescence: what I got into places I went to, people I met. It got me into the whole Wild Bunch thing in the early '80s.
3D, Massive Attack
Source: Mojo magazine, February 2002

"My two heroes growing up were Ian Curtis, the singer of Joy Division, and John Lydon, from the Sex Pistols and Public Image. I liked the Sex Pistols, but Public Image spoke to me more."
Source: New York Magazine, January 2006

"I'd never seen the Sex Pistols, so I was really excited to see John Lydon's new band. It was their first UK gig, and it was even more exciting that it was on Christmas Day when there was nothing else to do. I was 18 and living in a squat in West Norwood, so me and about eight friends had to walk all the way there because there weren't any buses.
The gig was packed with punks, but the sound was completely different. Jah Wobble's bass-playing was incredible after the five-chord limitations of most punk songs. He added this whole new dimension of funk and reggae. John Lydon was dressed in a checked suit, throwing weird arm shapes like Ian Curtis. Walking back afterwards seemed to take an eternity, but it was worth it after seeing such an amazing gig."
Alex Paterson, The Orb
Source: Daily Telegraph, June 29th 2006

"Public Image was my thing, so I always wanted to be like Johnny Rotten, John Lydon."
Gavin Rossdale, Bush
Source: Chicago Now, November 2nd 2009


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