Research by Karsten Roekens and Scott M, plus contributors…
PiL are scheduled to appear on BBC's 'Old Grey Whistle Test', but postpone because two of the members are "ill". The appearance is rescheduled for February 5th.
Australian TV, 'Countdown Ends the Decade'. John Lydon interview as part of a retro on the Pistols.
The first of two nights at the Le Palace. 'Careering,' 'Chant,' 'Poptones,' & 'Attack' from this show are later included on the official 'Paris Au Printemps' live album. This gig was Martin Atkins live debut.
PiL voted Number 7 for 'Best Group' in NME Reader's Poll for 1979.
Sometime early in the year Virgin boss Richard Branson offers Lydon big money to team up with Steve Jones and Paul Cook again; Lydon refuses point blank.
Jah Wobble and Martin Atkins recording at Gooseberry Studios, London with engineer Mark Lusardi. Atkins: "Wobble told me we were working on new PiL stuff - it turned out that we were working on his solo debut. John laughed when I told him..."
As it happens Killing Joke use the same studio that day, a band that Martin would later join in 1988. Jaz Coleman: "We had met Martin in 1980 at Gooseberry Studios when we were recording the 'Psyche' / 'Wardance' single, and musically found a lot in common." Atkins, "They were half an hour late with their session. So we're all in the same studio together, even if it was for just a few seconds."
Muziekkrant OOR magazine (Holland) - Extensive 4 page Lydon interview, plus front cover. When asked of his involvement with the 4" Be 2" 'One of the Lads' single, Lydon explains: "I didn't produce the record at all, that's a complete joke! I was asleep. I bought a big bottle of champagne for the occasion and emptied it all on my own. When I woke up the record was finished."
BBC TV, 'Old Grey Whistle Test'. PiL's first real live UK TV performance. The band perform 'Poptones' & 'Careering.' John reads the lyrics straight from the 'Second Edition' LP sleeve. Ann Nightingale who introduces the appearance describes it as, "the most powerful performance I've ever saw on Whistle Test", but Lydon later joked, "We were all on something and none of it was legal!"
'NME' three page Jah Wobble interview. Wobble, "PiL only sound so radical, I suppose, because so many bands sound so ordinary". He also reveals the 'secret' of his bass sound, "My sound? I use a 15 inch speaker and turn it against the wall, putting mikes around the room so they pick everything up. That's my huge trade secret, it isn't hard".
During a dawn raid on Gunter Grove police, looking for drugs, find an illegal tear gas spray and charge Lydon under the 'Firearms Act'. The police break down the door and reportedly greet the occupiers with the line, "We're the old bill and you haven't got a front door any more". Lydon hears the ruckus at confronts the police at the top of the stairs with a ceremonial sword until they can produce the relevant search warrants.
The self-defence pepper spray, the size of felt tip pen, was given to Lydon by a fan in Paris earlier in the year, where they are perfectly legal. He is bailed and later appears at court where the Judge excepts his explanation that after receiving the gift he simply put it a drawer and forgot about it.
Over the period 1979-81 Gunter Grove, and John in particular, become a centre for Police victimisation. It will eventually result in John selling up and relocating PiL to the states. Other supposed reasons for Police raids will include "looking for runaway minors". And a fruitless 1am invasion by the bomb squad supposedly to "seek and seize illegal weapons".
John's phone is also tapped. Retired MI5 agent David Shayler later confirms John was a target for MI5.
The release of 'Second Edition' (Virgin. VD 2512). A conventional double-album version of 'Metal Box'. The order of the tracks is slightly changed to accommodate the four-side format. It reaches no. 46 in the UK album charts.
NME - News report on one of the Police raids at John Lydon's house.
Island Records, who have persuaded Warner Brothers to license them the album, release 'Second Edition' in the States. An Island employee explains, "Chris Blackwell [Island boss] is very keen on John Lydon and PiL, and worked out this arrangement with Warners". Apparently at Warners insistence they only press 50,000 copies for the whole of the US. Lydon comments, "I think that's a very low number. There are more 50,000 towns in America. By limiting the product, they're going to lose money".
'Second Edition' enters the UK charts, peaking at 46 and remaining in the charts for two weeks.
The Hots split. Pete Jones joins Ken Lockie's Cowboys International for their European tour.
A small feature appears in Billboard Magazine announcing details of PiL's forthcoming 10 date US Tour, and their "intent to play unusual venues".
Lydon and Levene fly to the USA to promote the release of 'Second Edition', and to prepare for PiL's upcoming live dates. They conduct a series of interviews including; Rolling Stone, LA Times, and San Francisco Chronicle. They also appear at a press conference arranged by Warner Bros at The City in San Francisco. Lydon comments: "This is a farce. We feel like fools" but explains, "We need to promote our records, there is no point in hiding in closets and being arty". The US media have a difficult time separating PiL from the Pistols. Especially when they try to explain the idea of PiL being a limited company rather than just a group.
A brief clip of the press conference later turns up on San Francisco video fanzine 'Target Video 82'
Martin Atkins, accompanied by future PiL-bassist Pete Jones, release the 7"single 'They've Got Me in a Bottle' under the name of Brian Brain (see Brian Brain discography for full info).
While in LA, Lydon and Levene appear on the obscure radio show 'Hepcats from Hell'.
'Village Voice' publish an interview with Lydon.
Record Mirror' - Lydon & Levene interview. Taken from quotes at the recent 'Second Edition' press conference in SF. "We don't consider ourselves rock and roll at all. Rock and roll is shit and it has to be cancelled. It's vile, it's gone on for 25 years, it's dismal. A grandad dance…"
'Smash Hits' magazine - John Lydon interview and front cover. "All the idiots only learnt the first lesson of punk. First Lesson – Do it yourself. Second Lesson – Do it properly!"
Jah Wobble releases the single 'Betrayal' from his forthcoming album (Virgin. VS 337) (see wobble discography for full info).
Lydon interviewed in German 'Sounds' magazine.
PiL fly to the States to begin their first US "Tour". Warner Brothers actually wanted the band to play 40 dates. Not surprisingly, they flatly refused. Eventually, only ten dates are officially planned, but PiL play at least one extra "secret gig" to raise cash for themselves, and generally piss off Warners.
Originally PiL insisted on the right to book their own dates, and deal only with promoters they themselves chose to deal with directly. However, without PiL's knowledge, and much to their disapproval, Warner Brothers brought in Premier Talent to organise the shows, who basically squeeze out most local promoters...
Despite playing such few gigs it is probably still enough to kill off the 1980 line up, and add to their hatred of touring.
WBCN Boston, USA. Lydon, Levene, Wobble & Atkins radio interview and phone in.
WERS Boston, USA. Band interview and phone in. They are also due to appear on Matt Siegel's Channel 5 TV show 'Five All Night Live All Night'; but the interview is cancelled.
The start of PiL's US tour at the Boston Orpheum (see Gig List for full dates). They premiere a new song 'Home is Where the Heart is'.
York, Palladium, USA
In his 2001 'Perfect Sound Forever' interview Keith Levene stated this gig was broadcast on NY radio. Although this has never been confirmed.
York, Great Gildersleeves, USA.
This was a special low-key gig at a small club in the Bowery, New York City (capacity 300). Arranged by word-of-mouth a couple of days after their Palladium gig. Apparently the gig was arranged due to the fact the band were making no money from the US tour. Levene later claimed they had done other similar shows during the tour; he also described the Gildersleeves show as the "best" the band ever played....
5 songs from the gig were filmed by local filmmaker / producer Paul Dougherty; who edited the footage down to a 25 minute video film. The untitled film, simply known as the 'PiL Tape', was later presented in public by Dougherty in 1981. Although Dougherty had full permission to film the band, it was never intended for an official release (and subsequent bootleg recordings of the video were leaked without his permission). Tracks on the film are: Careering / Public Image / Another / Low Life / Bad Baby. For full info on the Gildersleeves video footage, read our Paul Dougherty interview.
Agora Ballroom, Atlanta, USA.
The gig is later released on a bootleg CD 'Metal Tape'.
Melody Maker - Atkins interview. Atkins: "I tried to join PIL when John first left the Pistols, I came down from Durham for the auditions, which I read about in the music papers. But I had to go back early and so I fluffed that one. I tried again when Richard Dudanski joined. When he left I called Keith, who said 'Come along', and since then I've done John Peel with them, two gigs in Paris and a track on the 'Metal Box'. It was just me pestering really, and everybody eventually being happy with the arrangement."
Melody Maker - Jah Wobble interview and front cover.
Having made contact with the band back in March during their previous US visit, Michael Wadliegh, director of the Woodstock film, offers PiL one-third of the soundtrack to his forthcoming werewolf film 'Wolfen'.
Talking about the project, Levene explained what Wadleigh had in mind for the score:" He wants us in our music to possibly find sounds for what a wolf sees and hears and smells when it sees a human and so on. We might just end up doing vocal sounds through John and treating them."
'Hymies Him', which later appeared on the 'Flowers of Romance' album was originally written by Levene as a pilot track for the score. However, inevitably, the project eventually falls through. According to Levene, "Tom Waits and other people came into it and it wasn't what we had in mind... they wanted us to ask for a certain amount of money and I still think that's well, prattish - THEY should make US an offer. But they insisted, so I said 'A million would do quite nicely, thank you'. I haven't heard anything from them since." 'Wolfen' finally comes out in late 1981 without any PiL involvement.
'Rolling Stone' - Lydon and Levene interview conducted in March by Mikal Gilmore (Trivia note: Journalist and writer Mikal Gilmore is the brother of infamous American serial killer Gary Gilmore).
'Sounds' - Wobble interview. Wob takes Sounds to Wapping and speaks of PiL, Sid, and Virgin Records amongst many other things… "PiL seems to really raise hatred in people... it's just, like, a natural music!"
Auditorium, Los Angeles
The show was originally set for April 17, but postponed due to problems between the promoters and the tour agents. The Olympic Auditorium was normally known for sporting events, but the request to play there came straight from PiL, and their original wish to play "unusual venues".
The gig is bootlegged as a double album called 'Profile', which is reviewed favourably in 'Melody Maker'. The album is later repressed in various formats.
KROQ LA, USA. Band interview & phone in.
Jah Wobble's first solo album 'The Legend Lives On - Jah Wobble in Betrayal' is released (Virgin. V 2158) (see wobble discography for full info). The album was largely recorded during 'Metal Box' sessions. Wobble: "The studio was hired but nobody went in. I couldn't understand that at all, so I worked in there instead…"
Infamously two of the tracks use PiL backing tracks: 'Not Another' (Another) and 'Blueberry Hill' (The Suit). 'Beat The Drum For Me' also originates from the 'Metal Box' sessions; and most likely features Dave Humphrey on drums.
KTIM, San Francisco, USA. Band interview & phone in. During the interview Martin Atkins complains that PiL are "unprofessional". Adding that, "We don't manage ourselves. We mismanage ourselves. We constantly underachieve…" Although this may sound like a serious riff within the band, it's really just a moan. Throughout the interview the band joke around and take the piss. Wobble calls pretending to be an irate fan, and later Atkins calls pretending to be a gay man with a crush on Wobble! During the call Lydon makes a reference to Atkins being "The embarrassment of our little group". A comment which is often taken completely out of context.
San Francisco, South of Market
The last date of the US Tour. The venue and date are changed three times before the show is actually played. After their March press conference PiL had shaken hands on two Californian dates with local promoters C D Presents. However, interference from Warners Brothers and Premier Talent – the tour agents hired by Warners, together with well known promoter Bill Graham – almost wreck the shows. For more information see this article from Damage fanzine, by Shoshana Wecheler.
'Second Edition' peaks at US number 171.
NBC, 'American Bandstand'. PiL's, hilarious, and now infamous, 'performance' on the prime time US pop show is broadcast on National TV. Pre-recorded on 3rd May, PiL mime to 'Poptones' and 'Careering.' Presenter Dick Clarke introduces the band as, "a memorable moment in rock n roll, something special and interesting". The longstanding mainstream music show is thrown into chaos as Lydon invites almost the entire audience up to dance with the band on stage. John barely pretends to mime, and the band swap instruments. Lydon later commented, "I forgot the words to the song, and I was miming really badly, so I had to act quick. And did. Perfect!"
When asked to introduce themselves to Dick Clark Wobble replies, "Wobble. THE Jah Wobble". The pair have actually already met backstage, apparently Clark walked in on Wobble while he was trying to have a quick sleep. "I'm Wobble, who are you" he's reported to have asked, "I'm Dick Clarke" he replies, "Good" wobble snaps, "Well fuck off"! Rumour has it that Dick Clark had asked Larry White before the show "What can I expect from this asshole?" Surely a case that you should be careful what you wish for! Despite the chaos, Dick Clark later protested, "(Lydon) told me he was going to be rambunctious. I said 'be my guest'. We were in total control." Yeah, Dick it looked like it… Clark later votes the appearance the Top 8th ever on 'American Bandstand'.
Brian Brain at Street level studios to record 'Jet Boats Up The Ganges' and 'Another Million Miles'.
'Sounds'. "PiL in Hollywood" - three page Lydon interview and front cover.
'Impulse Magazine' (Canada) - Wobble / Lydon interview. Although largely positive, Wobble shows signs of disillusionment with PiL and their approach to live shows. He angrily explains that Lydon and Levene left the stage unannounced before the end of the New York Palladium gig and returned to the Hotel . "Martin [Atkins] and I played for the remaining twenty minutes by improvising and jamming rhythms..."
Canadian magazine 'Macleans'. Lydon interview.
'Trouser Press' - Lydon & Levene interview. "We don't make music, it's noise, sound. We avoid the term 'music' because of all those assholes who like to call themselves 'musicians' or 'artists', it's just so phony. We don't give a shit about inner attitude, just as long as it sounds good..."
Brian Brain at Ask Studios Kingston, London to mix the album 'Unexpected Noises'.
It is announced in the UK music press that Martin Atkins has left PiL in order to concentrate on his own band, Brian Brain. Atkins releases a statement which mentions that "Jah Wobble might be leaving as well." To counter this, Virgin records issues a statement verifying Wobble's continuing membership in PiL.
Of Atkins departure Levene comments: "When it comes to members of PiL, Martin Atkins is no longer with us. But he was never part of PiL he was just like a hired drummer, and as we won't be playing live ever again, we no longer need one. As for the rest of PiL, it consists of me, John, Jeannette Lee, Dave Crowe and Wobble. As a thing PiL is internally changing. What America amounts to is that we don't ever want to do gigs again and we definitely don't want to be a rock and roll band because of it. About two of the gigs were good, and all the others were just hell. Sometimes we ended up by abusing the audience by playing rinkydinic tunes and they didn't know the difference. Other times we just did the set and it was awful. That was America really, all they want is rock and roll stuff."
Jah Wobble attends a Killing Joke concert at Rheinterrassen in Bonn, Germany. When Killing Joke spot him at the entrance they demand: "Make sure that he pays, he's got enough money!" Wobble is currently recording some tracks in Cologne with ex-Can members Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit. Holger Czukay later remarked: "The first mix we did at Conny Plank's studio was 'Twilight world'. He (Wobble) said the whole sound lacked rhythm and life. I had worked on it while he went to a gig, and he comes back and speaks to me like that. I just told him to show me... I thought he was going to blow the whole studio up!" Czukay also commented on the collaboration between the PiL and Can members; "Lydon wasn't interested, but Wobble was. I provided a French horn and we entered a studio in London and recorded 'How much are they?' The EP is finally released in June 1981.
'ZigZag' magazine - Jah Wobble interview. Speaking of PiL"s future touring plans he comments: "No more for at least a year or two. Maybe just the odd occasional gigs, maybe a sprint around Britain or something. It just confirmed everything I think about touring. Ten proper dates were set up and a little club date in New York. It was just getting to be too much when we stopped, because we'd never done it before, and it was blindingly intense, and you're gonna lose that intensity. I'm glad we stopped, because once we got to L.A. I was getting really pissed off with it."
Pete Jones and Martin Atkins meet to discuss playing live with Brian Brain. They come up with the idea of recording all drum parts on tape as Atkins can't play drums and sing at the same time!
Brian Brain at Street level studios to record drum backing tracks for live gigs, plus synth and a few effects.
NBC, 'The Tomorrow Show'. "I only know what I don't like" ! Lydon and Levene's now infamous appearance on Tom Snyder's US talk show.
It's safe to say there's some tension between both parties. It's clear Snyder has no understanding of PiL, or Lydon. The barely disguised mutual hostility eventually breaks down during a commercial break where Snyder rips into the pair. Or at least tries. When the show resumes Lydon drops Snyder in it by telling the audience about Snyder's"tantrum". The notorious appearance gains PiL some major press coverage, but not for the first or last time, Warner Brothers are less than impressed…
During the show Levene states that PiL will not play live anymore because of their experiences on their US tour, and will concentrate on the "company side of things". Lydon claims that PiL are presently working on their own film (though this seems to have been more wishful thinking, as nothing ever surfaces...).
First rehearsal of Brian Brain's live line up. Atkins & Jones are joined by Bobby Surgeoner on guitar (ex-Cuddly Toys).
Lydon and Levene help record the single 'Launderette' by rock journalist Vivien Goldman, at Berry Street Studios and The Manor, Oxfordshire. The single is finally released in August 1981 (see Lydon discography for full info). Musician David Toop who was involved in the session later recalled, "That 'Launderette' session was pretty ridiculous - John Lydon, Keith Levene, Adrian Sherwood, Robert Wyatt, George Oban, Vicky from The Raincoats, Steve Beresford, Vivien and me - all in one studio trying to make a silly single. A war of attrition." Guitarist Steve New, as "Schooz", is also credited with playing drums at the sessions.
Probably around the same time Steve New, Lydon and Levene record the PiL track 'Pied Piper' with engineer Mick Glossop, which later turns up on the 'Machines' compilation LP see compilation discography for full info).
Brother Jimmy Lydon's band 4"Be 2" release their second single 'Frustration'. John Lydon allegedly produces the single (see Lydon discography for full info).
'NME' - Keith Levene interview and front cover. In the extensive interview Levene states that PiL is "internally changing" but Wobble is still a member "at the moment".
Jah Wobble leaves PiL reportedly "disillusioned" by the 'scene' in and around the band along with their reluctance to play live. Lydon and Levene later counter his depature was prompted by his use of PiL backing tracks on his solo album 'Betrayal'. Which they claim he used without permission.
Speaking of Wobble's departure, and the story over the backing tapes, Levene states: "We can all do solo work, yeah, but it comes under PiL, not Jah Wobble. We always knew that Wobble was making the record, but we didn't know anything about it, so I don't see that it connects with PiL at all whereas I see any of the stuff I do as always connecting with PiL... I didn't like him using backing tracks from PiL that I didn't want people to hear." Lydon also claims: "Not only did Wobble use PiL backing tracks for his own solo albums, which are terrible, but he also got into this whole condescending attitude of playing for the kids. It was against everything we started out to be…"
Wobble: "In spring 1980 I went to the studio with engineer Mark Angelo Lusardi and took the backing tracks PiL didn't use. With the tapes under my arms I drove from the Manor to London. In those Oxfordshire studios, where the bulk of 'Metal Box' was recorded, we had to pay one-bloody-thousand pounds a day. I only took those backing tracks on which I played and which they didn't use. I wanted to do something with it, release it. I wasn't paid properly. If I was lucky it was 60 quid a week. Everything was a complete fuck-up. I thought John and Keith would laugh about my 'Betrayal' album…"
I Wanna Fanzine (Vol. 1, Dayton, Ohio) publish review of Detroit, Motor City Rollerink, April 28th 1980.
Dave Crowe also leaves the organisation. Regarding Crowe. Levene explains: "John had known him for years, so like any excuse would do to get him in the band, so we made him a secretary and he ended up keeping accounts and receipts together and so on. But the PiL thing is that each person must take initiative and must have ideas and just go about them, not like the way Wobble did in a mercenary way... using the company, you know? Crowe ended up wanting to be told what his job was, and ... he was creating a lot of head problems, which weren't there."
'Rolling Stone' features a review of Lydon and Levene's appearance on 'The Tomorrow Show'. The magazine also includes the following quote about PiL, "I've never seen skinny guys eat more than they did,' said a Warner Bros staffer after accompanying three members of Public Image Ltd to a Boston baseball game during a break in the group's recent East Coast tour. Singer John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten), bassist Jah Wobble and drummer Martin Atkins stayed for the whole game. Though Lydon declined to root for the hometown Red Sox, he did keep the Fenway Park food vendors busy, wolfing down a total of eight hot dogs and a like number of beers. And on the way out, he visited a concession stand and bought more than $150 worth of miniature bats, baseball caps, jerseys and other souvenirs."
Brian Brain's first gig at The John Bull pub in Chiswick, London, supporting Temporary Title. The gig earns the band £15. The show is later described as "An absolutely hilarious and riotous gig", especially due to the Banana fight at the end. During which the Pub gets trashed, and covered with 50kilos of banana sludge!
Jah Wobble releases the 12" mini-album 'V.I.E.P' (Virgin VS 36112) featuring further material from the 'Betrayal' sessions (see wobble discography for full info). Speaking of 'Blueberry Hill' from the EP Wobble explained: "We started to drink a lot one night at the studio... we started mucking around with some old analogue drum loops. We were having fun and we decided to make 'Blueberry Hill' and to mutate 'Blueberry Hill'. The publishers were not happy as I recall..."
'Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Life' (a.k.a. Seaside Special) and 'Blood Repression' possibly also originate from the PiL sessions at the Manor.
It is finally announced in the music press that Jah Wobble has officially left PiL. Wobble comments: "Yes, I've left. So what? Aren't there more important things to write about, like two million unemployed?
'Creem' magazine in the US review publish an interview with Lydon.
'Stereo Review' magazine in the US review 'Second Edition'.
'Down Beat' magazine in the US review PiL's gig at LA, Olympic Auditorium 4.5.80.
Brian Brain - London, Canning
Town, Bridge House, UK.
Atkins throws bananas into the crowd with "Buy my album, make me rich" written on them... Eventually he phones the police for help!
Record company press release states that Martin Atkins has just helped out ex-The Hots singer John Milner on his forthcoming single 'Strontium Sauna' to be released later in the year. The single never happens, but the track (re-titled as 'Afterglow') will become the b-side of John Milner's "I feel free" single in 1983.
Second day of the 'Futurama 2' Festival at Queens Hall, Leeds. Amongst the bands playing are Brian Brain and 4"Be 2". The Brian Brain gig was broadcast on London's Capital Radio a few days later. Pictures from the gig can be found at newwavephotos.com.
Brian Brain - London, Camden
Music Machine, UK.
Secret Records night, the band are reportedly recorded for a live budget LP 'Live Secrets'.
PiL enter Virgin's Townhouse studios to mix 'Home is Where the Heart is'. Tape operator Nick Launay is given the job after Lydon gets pissed off with the original engineer (and locks him out the mix room!).
'Home is Where the Heart is' was first premiered by the band on their recent US Tour. When the track is eventually released in 1981 - as the B-side of the 'Flowers of Romance' single - it is credited to Lydon/Levene/Wobble & Jim Walker. However, it was simply a publishing mistake and should actually be credited to Martin Atkins, who did play on the finished track. 'Home is Where the Heart is' is reported to be an unfinished Metal Box outtake dating back to1979 completed in 1981 (at the beginning of the 'Flowers' sessions) with Wobble's bass overdubbded by Levene as a tape loop after his departure. Atkins also re-records the drums (his first duty on being re-hired for 'Flowers...').
'Home is Where the Heart is' appeared for the first time on CD as bonus tracks on the 'Flowers of Romance' re-issue in 1990.
John Lydon fly's to Ireland to hang out with his brother Jimmy's band the 4 Be 2" who are to play shows in Dublin and Cork.
John and Jimmy Lydon record an interview for the Dave Fanning Radio Show on RTE.
Lydon is involved in a fracas with two bartenders in the Horse & Tram pub in Eden Quay, Dublin. He is followed back to his hotel by an off-duty policeman and arrested. The landlord claims that Lydon had assaulted him after being refused service. Lydon counters this by stating he was punched in the back of the head while leaving the pub. Lydon is the only person injured in the incident. Lydon: "I was smashed in the back of the head... I have never been in any sort of affray like that. I've been beaten up by National Front supporters, but I've never been in anything like that."
He is intially released and attends the 4 Be 2" show at Trinity College Dublin. Later that night he is re-arrested by police and taken to jail.
John Lydon appears in custody at the District Court in Dublin where he is charged with "Common Assault". He is refused bail and taken to the notorious Mountjoy Prison. The case is adjourned until Monday.
John Lydon is found guilty of "Common Assault" and sentenced to three months in prison. However, he is released on £250 bail, plus £100 security bond, pending an appeal.
The Telegraph - Newspaper report on Lydon's Dublin court case and the "scuffle" at the Horse & Tram Pub.
Virgin records issue a various artists compilation called 'Machines', which includes the previously unreleased song 'Pied Piper', recorded, most probably, sometime during the summer with Steve New (see compilation discography for full info). The track is later also included on 'Plastic Box'.
Brian Brain at Magritte Studios to record their version of PiL's 'Careering' for the forthcoming 'Culture' EP.
Ex-PiL drummer Jim Walker plays his first gig with The Straps, having joined the band the day before! "I think the first time I actually saw The Straps was onstage at the Music Machine... with me on drums!" Jim will stay with The Straps until summer 1982, but simultaneously he will also collaborate with Jah Wobble in The Human Condition.
PiL book into Virgin's Manor Studio in Oxfordshire with engineer Mick Glossop and begin work on their third studio album, set to be titled, 'Flowers of Romance'. The first track to be recorded for the album is 'Hymie's Him', which was originally written as the "pilot track" for the score of the Michael Wadleigh film 'Wolfen'. Levene also re-records the bass for 'Home is Where the Heart is' around the same time. Keith Levene: "We were booked into The Manor for ten days and it was like we knew we were doing a new album, and we couldn't do anything for days... We did get one track down, 'Hymie's Him', that was the first definite thing we got laid down."
Realizing that the band needed someone "who could really play drums" Levene asks Martin Atkins back on a day-to-day basis to help them commence work on the album. Atkins is preparing for an upcoming Brian Brain tour of the USA. Atkins: "They fired me before 'Flowers of Romance', then I get the phone call as if nothing happened... I was excited to hear what they had done in the preceding two weeks up there - NOTHING!"
Another track recorded at The Manor is 'Twist and Shout', which is simply Lydon and Jeanette Lee singing over a Beatles backing track! Brian Brain bassist Pete Jones, who is accompanying Atkins, remembers: "We listened to a tape of Lydon wailing along to a Beatles record, the original vocals had been removed and John's fingernails on chalkboard screeching sounded better by far." Fittingly, 'Johnny Remember Me' gets a similar treatment, with both songs still in Martin Atkins' possession to this day...
With the creative process stuck at The Manor, PiL decide to move to The Townhouse Studios in London. Nick Launay who worked with the band on 'Home is Where the Heart is', is recruited to engineer and produce the album. During the recording he will become considered a "full member". It is here the bulk of 'Flowers of Romance' is recorded... Martin Atkins contributes drums to 'Four Enclosed Walls', 'Banging the Door', 'Under the House' & 'Flowers of Romance'. Three further tracks recorded at The Townhouse, 'Vampire', 'Woodnymphs' and an early version of '1981' still remain unreleased to this day...
Martin Atkins and Brian Brain fly to New York to begin their first US tour starting that night! (see Brian Brain gig list for full info). While PiL continue to record their new album. Atkins: "I just let all of these ideas flow, then left them with the ideas and went off to tour the USA." Although PiL offered engineer Nick Launay the chance to join them on a full-time basis during the Townhouse sessions, their working relationship is over as soon as 'Flowers of Romance' is completed at the beginning of November. Launay: "The only thing I did since finishing the album was to go back in a month later with Keith and John to remix the song 'Flowers of Romance', which is a much better mix."
Jah Wobble interviewed in 'International Musician And Recording World'.
The release of 'Paris Au Printemps' (Virgin. V 2183). Live album drawn from PiL's two January shows in Paris, with all the title's translated to French. PiL claim the album is released primarily to counter the many existing PiL bootlegs.
Lydon comments, "The reason we released this live album is because of the amount of bootlegs that are going around at astronomical prices. So to stop that piece of nastiness we released this one. We taped it off the desk, the only cost involved is literally the tape..."
NME review 'Paris Au Printemps'.
Brian Brain, featuring Martin Atkins and future PiL bassist Pete Jones, release the 'Culture' EP, featuring a cover version of PiL's 'Careering' (see Brian Brain discography for full info).
Lydon and Levene, with Jeannette Lee providing her own suggestions but no musical input, continue work on the 'Flowers of Romance' album at the Town House Studios. The remainder of the album is completed in a second 10 day stint of sessions. Regarding her role in the recording of the album, Lee explains, "Just the fact that I'm there means I'm contributing to the clash of personalities."
'Paris Au Printemps' enters the charts, peaking at 61 and remaining in the charts for two weeks.
Radio 1, 'Rock On'. Lydon and Levene interview to promote the 'Paris Au Printemps' album. They also premier the title track of the now completed 'Flowers of Romance' album, though is has not yet received its final mix.
Lydon's appeal against his three month sentence for "Common Assault" in Dublin is heard. He is acquitted following a ten minute hearing in which the Judge states he is "Satisfied of the petty nature of the incident".
Basement 5 (with Richard Dudanski on drums) support Ian Dury at the Michael Sobell Centre in London. 'Zigzag' editor and Basement 5 manager Kris Needs: "Robin Banks, John Lydon and Topper came to say hello." Dudanski leaves the band two weeks later.
Jah Wobble and engineer Mark Lusardi at Gooseberry Studios, recording the track 'Nocturnal' (later released as the b-side to 'Fading' in 1982).
BBC Radio 1, John Peel's Festive 50. 'Death Disco' is voted #62, 'Careering' #34, 'Poptones' #33 & 'Public Image' # 11.