Research by Karsten Roekens and Scott M, plus contributors…
PiL are dropped by their American label Warner Brothers. Warner's later refer to PiL as "unproductive money wasters." The band take with them an advance of $60,000 dollars (already spent of course!).
The release of Creation Rebel/New Age Steppers - 'Threat To Creation' album. Levene plays guitar on the track 'Last Sane Dream'. A dub version of 'Devious Woman' with Levene's guitar more prominent (see Levene discography for full info).
Report in 'Sounds' magazine that PiL have disintegrated" after unsuccessful attempts to record new material with producers Adam Kidron and Ken Lockie.
PiL deny that they have split up in the NME, and announce a new member, Ken Lockie (ex-Cowboys International) on keyboards. Regarding the 'Sounds' article, Lydon snaps, The tosspot was desperate for a story, so he made one up".
The rumours of the band's demise are most likely the result of their inactivity since the Ritz show. A statement issued by Virgin cites the cause of this inactivity as being: "The unavailability of certain new innovative synthesised and other electro-music technology."
Jah Wobble releases 'Fading' on 12" single via his own Lago records (see wobble discography for full info).
Brian Brain at Workhouse studios, London to record 'Funky Zoo'.
Lydon is offered £10,000 for an acting role in a new film by Italian director Roberto Faenza. PiL are offered the soundtrack.
Brian Brain begin their 4th US Tour.
Brian Brain - New York, Mudd
While they are playing their cover version of 'Careering' (with Martin Atkins on vocals) John Lydon turns up at the front of the crowd to ogle him!
On Keith Levene's request, after the show Bob Tulipan asks Atkins to rejoin the band to work on the fourth studio album; which they are due to start recording. Keith Levene: "Virgin actually pulled our advance, they said 'You have to deliver the record.'... so we had to resurrect the band. I told this guy Bob Tulipan, who was working with us, 'Find Martin Atkins.'... Three days later, he was around… I tried to get [bassist] Bill Laswell to play with us... but we couldn't afford to pay him what he wanted..."
Bob Tulipan has been working with PiL since the previous year, and is now co-managing the band. Prior to this period PiL were notoriously hands-on, and very anti-management. Tulipan is pretty much the first outside management they ever have. Co-managing the band along with PiL, and sharing responsibilities. Though of course, PiL remain as hands-on as ever…
Tulipan's assistant Maureen Baker is also working with the band. As well as helping with management Maureen is a photographer who PiL come to admire, and work with extensively. Pretty much becoming their official photographer at the time. Maureen's PiL pix were used all over the USA; and some also later turned up in the 1983 Japanese Tour Programme. As a sign of their mutual respect, when the band returned to playing live, they even allowed her on stage with them as they performed.
The trio of Lydon, Levene & Atkins start to record a new PiL album at Park South Studios in Manhattan (often mistakenly called South Park Studios). Bob Tulipan, who is now acting as PiL co-manager, had secured a cut-price deal for studio time via an attorney he knew called Bob Kalina; who owned Park South.
The band begin working with in-house engineer Chris Jorgenson, however, things don't quite work out and assistant Bob Miller is soon given the job by the band. Miller is later asked to co-produce the record along with PiL, and in turn is looked upon as a full member of the company, effectively becoming "PiL Technical Production Manager". As well as producing and engineering he will work 'Front-of-House' sound for their upcoming live gigs, and later the 1983 Japanese and European Tours.
Ken Lockie who has joined up with the band in New York, via his connections with Keith Levene, is also present in the studio but doesn't seem to be involved. Martin Atkins: "I don't have, nor do I remember, any musical contributions from Ken."
John Lydon begins work on the film 'Order of Death'; co-starring with Harvey Keitel. Initial filming takes place in New York, followed by six weeks in Rome.
'Melody Maker' reports that the film is tentatively titled 'Psycho Jogger.' However, this was never the case. The film is based on the Hugh Fleetwood novel 'Order of Death', but is later re-titled in several countries: 'Order of Death' (UK), 'Corrupt' (USA) & 'Copkiller' (Europe).
Further shootings for 'Order of Death' in Rome; Lydon is accompanied by Jeannette Lee.
While Lydon is in Rome, Levene continues to work on new material at Park South studios in New York. He writes 'The Slab' (aka 'Order of Death') for use in the film: "Humming through the phone with Lydon".
After shooting for the film is finished, Lydon and Lee spend a few days in London before Lydon returns to New York. Jeannette Lee decides to stay in London and effectively leaves PiL. Levene: "John came back and Jeannette was officially not in the band anymore. We made this tune 'Where Are You' and it was totally about Jeannette."
PiL set up two new offshoot companies: 'Public Enterprise Productions' (PEP) (Pep-PiL, get it?) & 'Multi-Image Corporation' (MIC). Not a great deal will come of the two companies before Lydon and Levene split. However, years later Levene's 'Back Too Black' & 'Violent Opposition' records will credit 'Multi-Image Corporation' on their sleeves.
Multi-Image Corporation was originally set up by Levene & Bob Tulipan as a PiL multimedia side project; which was to work with computer graphics, video and other electronic projects.
Public Enterprise Productions was to be a label which would release future product; via distribution from Stiff Records. Bob Tulipan helped set up the PEP distribution deal with Bruce Kirkland President of Stiff Records America. However, although PiL were without a US record label, Keith Levene had (incorrectly) led him to believe Virgin no longer had claims on PiL's future output. Since this was not the case the idea had to be shelved. Around this time PiL also tried to set up their own publishing company, but again, having already having a deal with Virgin, it tuned out they were not in a position to do so.
PEP is also set up as a concert promotions department for PiL's upcoming return to live shows; handling ticket sales and gig promotion etc. A New York Public Enterprise Productions address was later used on Brian Brains' 'Funky Zoo' single, and an LA address was later used for mail order tickets for the November Pasadena show.
'NME' - Lydon interview. John insists that PiL are back as a working unit.
Speaking later in 'Sounds' Lydon states he was misquoted over anti-Italian comments in this interview. He comments: "They ask a precise question and you give a precise answer. Then they put these little bits inbetween which you never said… I don't have anything against the Italians. I have many good friends over there. These things make me angry".
Through Atkins, Brian Brain's bassist Pete Jones receives an offer to join PiL. He flies to NY and immediately begins recording with the band at Park South Studios. The day he arrives he records 'Mad Max' with the band. Other tracks recorded around this period include, 'Blue Water,' 'Lou Reed Part One,' 'Lou Reed Part Two,' 'The Slab,' & 'Miller Hi-Life'.
Atkins and Jones effectively push Ken Lockie out of the band... Jones states: "Lockie was ousted while I was there, I clearly remember the conversation Levene had with Atkins and I. The discussions were whether we needed someone live to play synth parts, to which Martin and I stated quite clearly that we didn't!! As the live set was mostly old PiL stuff you can see there wasn't a need for a synth. It was also a good opportunity to settle an old score for the time when I was in Cowboys Int. and Lockie treated me like a twat. He was in the studio on the day I arrived in NY to record 'Mad Max' but seemed very much a hanger on."
'Sounds' announce that Ken Lockie has now left PiL.
MTV, JJ Jackson Interviews... John Lydon and Keith Levene interview. Keith elloborates on PEP and Multi-Image, and the pair set out their hopes for the 'Commercial Zone' album. Keith also reveals that Warner Brothers deliberately tried to stop distribution of 'Second Edition'. He mentions that an excecutive who tried to defend the band was sacked.
New York, Roseland Ballroom,
This is PiL's first live performance in 16 months (or over 2 years not including The Ritz). Posters stating "You are now entering a Commercial Zone" are posted at the entrance. Pete Jones: "Keith didn't want to become a rock and roll band and he saw every gig being an event… The idea was that each gig was going to be a Commercial Zone" and we had posters made stating, "You are now entering a Commercial Zone" to put up at the entrance to the gigs. I only ever saw them once…"
Bob Tulipan had specifically approached top New York promoter Ron Delsner for cash to develop a show and stage-set to play Roseland. Delsner trusted Tulipan and believed in PiL's ability to pull off a special show. So Tulipan and Delsner's assistant Peter Kapp negotiated a deal, and the influx of cash allowed PiL to continue working on their record.
John and Keith designed a stage-set for the gig, then put the show together. PiL had liked Bob Miller's studio sound and bass effects so much that he mixes "FOH" sound at the show (and also their other future live gigs). A sign at the gig states that PiL's forthcoming 12" single will be released with Stiff.
The band are joined backstage by actor Harvey Keitel. Martin Atkins: "Well, John Lydon worked with Harvey Keitel on 'Copkiller' and Keitel came to the PiL show, and John fucking made him pay to see us!"
Channel 5 News in New York broadcast an interview with Lydon; along with footage of 'Public Image' from the soundcheck at the Roseland Ballroom.
Jah Wobble releases his 'Long, Long Way' single on his own Lago records (see wobble discography for full info).
Boston, The Channel, USA.
This gig sees PiL start their first run of regular live shows since 1980 (well, regular in PiL terms). Not really intended as a "tour" they play a series of sporadic shows around North America; which will (loosely) run till the end of the year. Frequently scheduling dates at the weekend so they can continue to record in New York during the week. The idea is to play special, one-off shows, bypassing the usual venues and promoters. Keeping as much control as possible; and basically co-promoting the shows themselves; via PEP.
With John & Keith's approval, Bob Tulipan directly books arrangements with various alternative concert promoters. Often using inexperienced or up and coming promoters; sometimes little more than fans who had managed to raise enough cash. This "guerilla" method cuts out established promoters such as Bill Graham, Avalon & Jam Productions, and allows the band to purposely play more unusual venues. Helping to make the shows special events. They prefer to play venues with large open areas where the crowd can stand up and be near the band. Venues larger than would normally have been booked by the established promoters, but using flyposting or word of mouth they generally sell out.
Bob Tulipan: "I put together a tour myself, no agents or co-promotion, with alternative promoters in alternative venues so each gig was a special experience. People like Gerry Gerrard later of Nine Inch Nails, Mark Kates later of Beastie Boys. It all was a guerilla street approach with amazing results. No traditional sit down venues, all great special events… There were some amazing events including The Galleria in San Francisco, The Showbox in Seattle, The Granada Theater in Chicago, etc etc. All big one off shows in unusual venues…"
Keith Levene: "The reason you wouldn't see PiL everywhere was that we didn't want people to look in any fucking paper and think 'Oh, there's PiL you can see them anytime', we wanted people to say 'Oh fuck man there's a PiL gig!' And if people bought loads of tickets we would have made sure there was two PiL gigs in wherever that place was. That was our outlook to gigs, and we kept it with the 'Commercial Zone' thing more because we were in control of it..."
'The New Music', Canada. Report from Toronto, Concert Hall, including live clips of 'Where Are You' & 'Public Image'.
Brian Brain release 'Funky Zoo' on 7" & 12" single. The last release to feature the original Brian Brain line-up (see Brian Brain discography for full info).
Public Enterprise Production (PEP) is credited on the cover for mail order, with a NYC address. Pete Jones later explained: "The address on 'Funky Zoo' was an office that our "manager" at the time was using. Bob Tulipan and his sidekick Maureen Baker were based there. So this was purely an accommodation address for any correspondence for PiL/Atkins. Martin was living in different locations and at the time of 'Funky Zoo' based in NY. So the address was handy for the Brian Brain stuff".
'Sounds' magazine (Germany) review NY, Roseland Ballroom, 28th September 1982.
Bartok, featuring Jah Wobble, Rat Scabbies (Damned), along with John Grant & Simon Werner (The Straps) release a one-off single 'I am the Bomb', through On Records (see wobble discography for full info).
The first ever Jah Wobble & The Invaders of the Heart gig at London, The Venue.
PiL hold a press conference at Le Dome in Hollywood. They announce the imminent release of a new mini-album, 'You Are Now Entering a Commercial Zone', plus a new single 'Blue Water'. They also announce the formation of the two new PiL offshoot companies: Public Enterprise Productions (PEP) & Multi-Image Corporation (MIC).
Regarding the fact that PiL had returned to making music, and apparently given up on the idea of working with video and film, Lydon explained: "We spent a year studying the art of video and found it out to be a total phony." He also commented: "I find it bloody irritating that people pay more attention to the sociological phenomenon of Public Image than the music we play. But that is the avant-garde for you..."
PiL press conference at San Francisco, 181 Club publicising tomorrow's show at The Galleria. Levene talks about PEP / MIC. "There are much more interesting things to do than video…" An article, including quotes etc, later appears in Brave Ear Fanzine.
'Sounds' magazine (Germany) - Lydon interview.
PiL press conference at LA, Le Dome, publicising the Pasadena shows.
Pasadena, Convention Centre,
The whole gig is bootlegged on a triple album called 'Force'.
Pasadena, Convention Centre,
This show is bootlegged as 'Live In Pasadena' LP. The gig is also bootlegged on video by a member of the audience.
'NME' - Jah Wobble interview.
Keith Levene marries his girlfriend Lori Montana (bass player of Pulsallama). John Lydon is Levene's best man. The marriage breaks down a couple of years later and Keith marries journalist Shelly daCunha.
Jah Wobble - Groningen, Vera, Holland (broadcast on Dutch radio).
WZBT, Gettysburg College Radiom, USA - Keith Levene interview. Despite the interviewer arranging the interview via Stiff Records America, Levene shoots down the idea of any deal with Stiff and PEP:"Stiff have nothing to do with us at all, the only connection is we pay rent at the same building they have their offices…"