1983 Chronology

Research by Karsten Roekens and Scott M, plus contributors…



Jah Wobble - London, Brixton Ace. Parts of the show are filmed for use in ITV's, 'Whatever You Want'.


New York, Brooklyn Zoo, USA.
'Chant' and 'Religion' are filmed at the soundcheck for this show by Italian TV.


'Musician' magazine - Lydon interview.


The last Brian Brain gig featuring Pete Jones at Trenton, City Gardens, USA.


Pete Jones officially leaves Brian Brain. Jones remembers: "The idea was muted that Brian Brain would support PiL, but idea was shelved rather quickly".


Jah Wobble releases the 'Bedroom Album', a collection of home recordings from 1981-82 (see wobble discography for full info).


World premiere of 'Order of Death' in Rome; the film starring John Lydon and Harvey Keitel. The film is titled 'Copkiller' in Europe, 'Corrupt' in the US and 'Order of Death' in the UK.


RAI TV, Italy - John Lydon interview.


Paramount Theatre, Staten Island.
Parts of the show are later released on a bootleg LP 'Where Are We' with the running order of the songs changed around.


Boston, 9 Lansdowne, USA.
After this show PiL part company with manager Bob Tulipan. Keith Levene – with help from Tulipan's assistant Maureen Baker – books the next shows himself (first one Lupo's in Providence: March 29). These turn out to be the last few shows with Keith Levene.

Bob Tulipan: "The last gig I set up I think was Boston, 9 Landsdowne, however, I wasn't there as I had to deal with some family matters and that's when Keith made his move and dumped me. I was going to sue, but I pretty much determined the band would self destruct and a law suit wouldn't make sense… It's just too bad because I had just arranged for the band to do a series of innovative major arena shows where we would headline a two or three bill concert; that turned the arenas into a giant ballroom with the floor space left without seats, dj's, video projection, etc…

"It all fell apart after Keith married Lori and things started to get a little stressed. For the first time the band had actually played numerous successful shows and was doing great in the studio but Keith thought I had too much power and unfortunately felt threatened, rather than understand with me it's all about teamwork, creative direction and art.The band tried it themselves with Keith trying to get Maureen to take over my role and with Keith booking the band himself. Totally a wrong move a step backwards. John just sat back and let Keith rule. Maureen saw the writing on the wall and left…"


PiL continue to record at Park South Studios in New York. A new song 'This is Not a Love Song' is now scheduled as a new single. Another new song,'Solitaire', is also recorded.

PiL "Management" shifts over from Bob Tulipan to order White; who was their US tour manager in 1980.

PiL begin to negotiate with promoters about a Japanese tour.


New Haven, Toad's Place, USA.
The last PiL gig with Keith Levene; or Pete Jones.


Pete Jones leaves the band and fly's back to London, much to Atkins surprise and disappointment. Jones had increasingly become jaded and disillusioned with life in and around PiL.


In need of a new bass player, engineer/producer Bob Miller suggests Lou Bernardi and arranges a meeting at the Holiday Inn in Atlantic City, New Jersey. When an unsuspecting Martin Atkins arrives he finds Bernardi to be one of the members of a covers band playing a version of 'Rock the Casbah' in the hotel lobby. Martin is shocked: "I just thought, oh shit! But he was a great bass player." Bernardi accepts the offer to join PiL and the band starts rehearsing for the upcoming tour of Japan.


Jah Wobble plays various gigs throughout Northern America (see Wobble Gig List for Full Info).

MAY 14

It is announced in the UK music press that Pete Jones has left PiL.

MAY 16

Jah Wobble - Minneapolis, First Avenue Theater, USA.
Apparently around only 20 people are in the audience, but an artist then known as Prince turns up for a jam.

Writing years later on 'The List', Wobble explained: "We had just finished our set and Prince came backstage and asked if it was ok to get up on stage and play a tune or two. He also had a chat with me and asked me if he could hold my bass. I recall that he licked the 'E' string and said "nice and greasy, just the way I like it." He went onstage (with a drummer that he had with him I think, but maybe it was a keyboard player), and he asked for us to join him onstage. I can't remember what the tune was… I assume it was a funk thing…"


The personal and professional relationship between Lydon and Levene completely deteriorates with things finally coming to a head over the mixing of 'This is Not a Love Song'.


Atkins and Lydon now find themselves without a band for the forthcoming Japanese tour (due to begin the following month). With time fast running out musicians are quickly hired from auditions by Bob Miller and PiL. The line-up of Lou Bernardi (bass), Joe Guida (guitar) & Tommy Zvoncheck (keyboards), often dubbed the "Cabaret Band", are essentially unknown outside the New Jersey bar scene and session work.

Lou Bernardi – who was recommended by Bob Miller – had already been hired for the Japanese tour back in April; while Zvoncheck & Guida were associates of Bernardi. Atkins & Lydon are so concerned with the band's look they ask them to wear Tuxedos; as a tongue-and-cheek joke.


'NME / Sounds' - News reports that Keith Levene has quit PiL: “Sources close to PIL suggest that Levene was increasingly at odds with the others, and decided to leave before the Japanese tour..."

Levene explained later: “We were going around being everything we always swore we would never want to be. I was aware of it. I had to see the scene through, but I had to say goodbye in the end. I never said I quit. I told Martin, 'You do know, don't you, that I m not going to Japan with you and I don t want to work with you again, or see you again…'"


Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, USA.
Warm-up for the Japanese tour and the premiere of the new PiL line-up. The first gig without Keith Levene and a major turning point for PiL. The gig poster states "singing some Rotten Songs…" they encore with 'Anarchy in the UK'… 'Albatross' & 'Solitaire' are also given live debuts. Video footage from the show is later featured in the official 'Live 83' video.


Prior to the forthcoming tour, 'This is Not a Love Song' (PiL's first single in two years) is released in Japan by Nippon Columbia on 12". The single will not be released in the UK till September.


PiL fly to Tokyo for their first Japanese tour. They are offered $9,000 (plus expenses) for the tour, and have the opportunity to use new groundbreaking digital recording equipment for a proposed live album.


PiL begin their Japanese tour at Nakano Sun Plaza, Tokyo (see Gig List for full dates).


Nakano Sun Plaza, Tokyo.
This show is filmed and released as an official Virgin video, 'PiL Live'. This is also one of the two shows recorded digitally for a live album, 'Live In Tokyo'.


Nakano Sun Plaza, Tokyo.
This is the second show to be recorded for the 'Live in Tokyo' LP.

JULY 4-5

New Music Seminar at Hilton Hotel, NYC. Keith Levene takes part in a round table discussion with other musicians. On the subject of music videos he underlines the "creative possibilities of mini films”.


'NME' - Jah Wobble interview.


'Whatever You Want' TV Show. Jah Wobble interview, plus 'Slow' & 'Get Carter' recorded live from London, Brixton Ace, 27th January 1983.


PiL decide to drop guitarist Joe Guida from the live band since they don't feel he is fitting in. They then audition new guitarist's at Top Cat rehearsal studio in New York for the upcoming November European dates.

Robert Poss of the band Western Eyes gets the job but is dropped again a week later, after two or three rehearsals: "I was given a pre-release cassette of 'Live In Tokyo'... It turned out that PiL wanted a guitarist who would precisely mimic note-for-note the "Live In Tokyo" guitar sounds... It would have taken me a long time and too many rehearsals to master all of the stuff apparently, and they decided it was easier and less tedious to rehire their old guitarist [Joe Guida] for the tour." Robert Poss would go on to form the critically acclaimed Band Of Susans in 1986.

Speaking of the decision to fire, then re-hire, him Guida later told Fodderstompf: "The way I see it, PiL auditioned half of New York and hired me, then auditioned the other half and re-hired me. Why on earth would my pride be hurt?"

It later transpired that John Lydon had (apparently) already approached John McGeoch for the guitarist job (ex-Siouxsie and the Banshees) McGeoch: "I met John Lydon in New York in 1982* [sic], which he denies. He asked me to join PiL like this: "I hear you want to work with me?" / 'Could be'. / "Don't could be me!" / So I didn't 'could be' him!"


PiL keyboard player Tom Zvoncheck is replaced by Arthur Stead.


The release of 'This is Not a Love Song' on 7" & 12" (Virgin. VS 529). The last PiL record to feature Keith Levene.


'Smash Hits' review 'This is Not a Love Song'.


The recording of the video for 'This Is Not A Love Song'. Directed by PiL manager Larry White.


'This Is Not A Love Song' enters the charts, peaking at number five and remaining in the charts for 10 weeks. This will be PiL biggest UK hit; so far...


The release of 'Live in Tokyo' LP (Virgin. VGD 3508). Issued as two 12" 45 rpm records.


'Record Mirror' review 'Live in Tokyo'.


The release of the 'PiL Live' video, recorded July 1st 1983 at Nakano Sun Plaza,Tokyo (see video discography for full info).


'Live In Tokyo' enters the charts, peaking at number 28 and remaining in the charts for six weeks.


John Lydon holds a press conference at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London to announce PiL's forthcoming UK & European tour; and to promote the 'Order Of Death' movie. As part of the press pack journalists are given PiL lollipops!


ITV, Thames News. John Lydon interview recorded at the Virgin press conference. Presenter Frank Bough (later ousted as a pervert and drug fiend!) sarcastically remarks about Lydon, “What a pleasant young man".


BBC 1, 'Breakfast Time'. Another interview with Lydon recorded at the press conference.


'Time Out' - Lydon interview.


Press reports indicate that Lydon/PiL still intends to use the Park South Studio material for an album release. Lydon states: "[the record is] nearly finished… After this excursion around the country we'll be finishing it in London."

Also around this time Keith Levene returns to London. Without Lydon's approval, Levene has been working on the Park South tapes on his own over the summer in NYC; and now delivers them to Virgin. Levene:"John said 'Fuck it, I hate this record.' Richard (Branson) went along with it and what they did was re-record the record…"


Channel 4, 'The Tube'. PiL perform 'Flowers of Romance', 'Anarchy in the UK' & 'This is Not a Love Song.' This is the first time the UK public get to see the 'new' cabaret PiL. Lydon moans about having flu, and frankly, the band are awful. The 'punx' in the front row pogo to 'Flowers of Romance' then sing-along to 'Anarchy in the UK'. Which sums it all up really...

Unfortunately this version of 'Anarchy in the UK', complete with keyboards, appears on a semi-legitimate Sex Pistols album called 'Live Worldwide' on Chaos records, credited to the Sex Pistols (see miscellaneous discography for full info).


Jah Wobble's 'Snake Charmer' EP is released on 12". The EP also features The Edge from U2, and Holger Czukar from Can. Former PiL drummer Jim Walker also plays on the record (see wobble discography for full info).


PiL make their first in-concert appearance on European TV recorded the previous night from the West German Rockpalast TV special at Bochum, Zeche. An entire one hour show is devoted to the live performance intercut with an interview with Lydon.


'SPEX' magazine (Germany) - Keith Levene interview.


'Melody Maker' - Lydon interview.


PiL begin their first ever UK tour at Brighton, Top Rank (see Gig List for full dates).


After it's official UK premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival 'Order of Death' begins running in selected theatres throughout the UK.


Melody Maker - Lydon interview and front cover from Royal Lancaster press conference. When asked regarding the 'Live in Tokyo' album he responds: "I mean, that ain't no big deal, that's just a live album. You can't expect, like, an entirely new set of songs that aren't released officially, that's just like cutting your own throat!"

They also review the 'Order of Death' film.


Sounds - Lydon interview. Also from the Royal Lancaster press conference.


WDR TV in Germany broadcast PiL miming in the studio to 'This is Not a Love Song'. This footage appears to have been recorded at the same time as the recent 'Rockpalast' appearance.


The 'Order of Death' is reviewed on BBC 1, 'Film 83'. Well known UK film critic Barry Norman refers to Lydon's voice as a “speak-your-weight machine". He sums up by calling the movie “stupid".


'NME' - Keith Levene interview. Levene mentions that he has completed mixing the PiL album off his on back: "The record is finished, I finished it. I guess that was against PIL's will, but they weren't doing anything about it..."


Keith Levene issues a limited release of the PiL album (recorded over the past 2 years at Park South Studios) entitled 'Commercial Zone'. The album is released on Levene's custom label PiL Records in a plain white sleeve (re-released the following year in a black sleeve). Lydon and Atkins distance themselves from the album and are said to be livid with its release (See Miscellaneous Discography for more info).


RAI Uno, Italy - Lydon interview.


'Muziekkrant Oor' (Holland) - Lydon interview.


PiL European Tour begins at Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands (see Gig List for full dates).


PiL sign a 3 album deal with Elektra Records in the USA.


Fanzine Radio, Sweden - Lydon interview.


'The Face' - Lydon interview. John refuses to talk about PiL: "Make it up, I'm sure you can" he tells interviewer Patrick Zerbib; who then resorts to a complete hatchet job on Lydon and PiL.


'Sounds'- Jah Wobble interview. Speaking of his work with The Edge on 'Snake Charmer' Wobble comments: "I think The Edge just approached it a bit differently, as an extension to his normal duties if you like. If you're working in the format [...] you've got certain restraints. For a start you're thinking all the time of what the vocals are doing, trying to fit the guitar around that. But this album didn't start from that basis, so The Edge was able to flow a bit more".


'SPEX' magazine (Germany) - Lydon interview.


Loughborough, University.
The show is bootlegged on an album called 'No More Limits'.


The second leg of the UK Tour ends at Top Rank, Cardiff, Wales.


'NME' - Jah Wobble interview. .


BBC Radio 1, John Peel's Festive 50. 'This is Not a Love Song' is voted #12.



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