1990 Chronology

Research by Karsten Roekens and Scott M, plus contributors…



Channel 4, 'Survivors Guide' - John Lydon interview.


Drummer Bruce Smith leaves PiL due to personal problems. By his own admission he was a bit of a "party animal" and it seems things just finally came to a head. He will later rejoin the band for their 2009 return.


Channel 4, 'One Hour with Jonathan Ross' - Lydon interview. During the interview John reveals that a part in the Matt Dillon movie 'Drugstore Cowboy' was especially written for him, but he had to turn it down because of touring commitments. The part was later played by William Burroughs.

He also refers to Sid as, “bad rubbish who knew he had to do away with himself!" He later said the comment was a bid to try debunk the Sid / Junkie mythology; which he felt was being over glamorised at that point.

APRIL 30 - MAY 17

Wobble plays bass for 'Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Revolution' on their German tour dates.


Virgin Records America approach PiL to say they want to release a 'Hits Compilation'. PiL are sceptical about the project and only agree if they have control of the project. Allan Dias: "We didn't really want anything to do with"Greatest Hits" to be honest, but what were our choices? Let them put out some bland packaging of old songs, or you know, put our hands in there and make sure that the mixes or the tracks are like 12" singles, and all different. We did the whole lay out ourselves, and John got Reg Mombassa to do the cover."

Virgin also tell PiL they want a new "Hit Single" to promote the album. Allan Dias: "When Virgin said ok, we need a hit, we need a pop tune, it was a challenge for us. We all went away from that meeting thinking..."


Martin Atkins forms Pigface together with Bill Rieflin; the other drummer from the Ministry tour. Atkins: "Bill Rieflin and myself booked some studio time in Chicago, and the day after the last Ministry show we told everybody 'hey, we've started this thing, come on down to the studio.' Everybody on that tour came down... Actually I stole the name. Pigface was the name of a band I was in when I was 12 years old. We used to play music for strippers in the Northeast of England... Actually, it was named after the guitarist's wife."

MAY 27

Jah Wobble, along with Gary Clail, support the Stone Roses at Widnes, Spike Island.


PiL record 'Don't Ask Me'at Zeitgeist Studios, Los Angeles, with producer Tony Berg. The track will be the new lead "pop" track for the forthcoming 'Greatest Hits So Far' compilation. Allan Dias: "I sat down and wrote 'Don't Ask Me' specifically as a pop song. I even wrote the lyrics, John used about 80% of my lyrics. It was funny 'cos when we were going over it at his house, he turned and said are you sure I didn't write this! (laughs). Obviously he changed some words around, but I was chuffed man... "

Around the same time, John Lydon contributes backing vocals to the Edie Brickell track 'Strings of Love'. The track is also recorded by producer Tony Berg at Zeitgeist Studios, Los Angeles.


The release of a digitally remastered CD version of 'Metal Box'. The CD is packaged in a small metal tin (Virgin. MTLCD 1).

AUGUST 4 - 25

Revolting Cocks US tour, it is not known if Martin Atkins played on all dates or just guested in-between. However, after that he flies over to London to rejoin Killing Joke.


In a stormy three-day session, Killing Joke record the complete 'Extremities' album at Townhouse Studios and Terminal 24 Studios, London. The album is released October 29. Martin Atkins plays drums and co-produces the record. He also manages the group via his Invisible Records bureau in Chicago. Just prior to this Martin Atkins turned down an offer to drum for Debbie Harry!


Keith Levene and Jah Wobble perform live together for first time since they left PiL. The pair – together with the likes of African Headcharge, Bim Sherman & The Dub Syndicate – appear with Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound System at the London, Town and Country Club as part of the ON-U 'Pay It All Back Tour'. Also appearing in the largely improvised set are Gary Clail, Little Annie and Doug Winbush. Levene and Wobble also appear at a similar gig that later takes place at the Brighton Top rank


The release of 'Don't Ask Me' on 7',12", Cassette & CD single (Virgin. VS 1231). The single peaks at number 22 in the UK charts. The track was recorded earlier in the year at Zeitgeist Studios, Los Angeles, with producer Tony Berg.


'Sounds' review 'Don't Ask Me'.


'NME' review 'Don't Ask Me' and vote it their "Single of the Week".


'Select' magazine - John Lydon interview. John says he hopes that Lu Edmonds will be able to rejoin PiL. However, unfortunately this turns out to be impossible.


Martin Atkins at Chicago Trax Studios, mixing his first Pigface release 'Spoon Breakfast' EP, released 12/90.


The promotional release of the video for 'Don't Ask Me'; directed by Jesse Dylan; Bob Dylan's son.


ITV, 'Chart Show' broadcast the promo video of 'Don't Ask Me'.


BBC 2, 'Juke Box Jury'. The promo video for 'Don't Ask Me' is reviewed; and is voted a"Hit".


'Sounds' - John McGeoch interview. McGeoch looks back at PiL's recorded output: "People say they remember where they were when Kennedy was shot. Well, I remember hearing 'Public Image' like that. It was a huge leap forward in approach."


'Sounds' review 'The Greatest Hits So Far'.


Release of the compilation 'The Greatest Hits,So Far' (Virgin. V 2644). The album peaks at number 20. Lydon later claims it could have done better but Virgin didn't promote it properly, and didn't even press enough copies.


MTV US, 'Week in Rock' - Lydon interview.


MTV US, '120 Minutes' - Lydon interview. Includes slightly different version of the 'Don't Ask Me' promo video, with added captions.


The release of Edie Brickell and New Bohemians 'Ghost of a Dog' album; featuring John Lydon (very briefly) on backing vocals on the track 'Strings of Love' (see Lydon solo discography for full info).


John Lydon together with producer Martyn Ware (Heaven 17) and session musicians at a private studio in Kranzberg near Munich, Germany. Lydon records two reggae tracks ('Punishment' & 'One Fine Day') for a various artists compilation 'Music of Quality and Distinction 2'.

Unfortunately, his contribution doesn't make the album and still remains unreleased. Martyn Ware later stated the the tracks were left off as they didn't fit in with the rest of the album, though he eventually hopes they will get a release. (see Lydon solo discography for full info).


'NME' - Jah Wobble interview.


On the back of 'The Greatest Hits So Far' Virgin issue 'Box', a Limited edition 3 CD box set featuring picture discs of 'First Issue', 'Flowers of Romance' & 'Compact Disc'.


KROQ LA, 'Jed the Fish' - John Lydon interview. Lydon states says he hopes that the recording of a new studio album should begin in January in England, but there are "squabbling's" with Virgin who will be the producer.


BSB, 'Suggs on Saturday' - Jah Wobble interview.


BBC 2, 'Rapido' - Lydon interview filmed at the filming of the 'Don't Ask Me' promo video.


BSB, 'Global Jukebox' - Jah Wobble interview. The Invaders of the Heart also mime to 'Bomba' in the studio.


Channel 4, 'The Word' - John Lydon interview live from Universal Studios in LA. John reveals he is on the show to promote the re-release of 'Rise' as a single, but has just found out it will not be getting released due to budget restrictions. Among the pick of tonight's live quotes are:"You may think PiL are electronic, we're a big noise, but we're just cunts trying!"



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