Research by Karsten Roekens and Scott M, plus contributors…
Jah Wobble tells Fodderstompf the recent Solaris shows were such a success that there are now plans to record a studio album in Rio this year. He is also hopeful of a US tour sometime in the spring or summer. However, other commitments mean – that apart from a one-off show in Italy – the collaboration will go no further.
A live album taken from the October 2001 UK tour – recorded at Kendal, Brewery Arts Centre and Brighton, The Dome – is set to be released on 30 Hertz in March.
ABC, 'Politically Incorrect', USA - John Lydon's seventh appearance on the topical debate show since 1997. Other guests include Peter Boyle, Tom Wilkinson and Tara Setmayer.
John Lydon confirms that promoters have approached the Sex Pistols about playing live, but nothing has been decided. He tells Fodderstompf: "Until you hear it from me there is NO show!"
'LA Obscene' website - Pete Jones interview. The former PiL bassist states he's working on new material: "less structured, obtuse, a real mish mash of stuff really…"
Keith Levene continues work on his MurderGlobal project. Dan Hyams – the bass player he had been rehearsing with – is no longer involved and Keith has decided to completely go it alone. Tracks currently in progress include: 'Killer in the Crowd', 'Object B' and 'Ghost March'. Keith describes his latest two tracks – 'O Ho' and 'Far Cry' – as some of his best work to date.
He has no release date for the Murder Global material, but is plodding away, and once he feels the tracks are ready he will release them. "But only then..." He again states there are no plans (ever) for a tour, but it's a possibility he may play some one-off shows after the MurderGlobal record is released.
'Mojo' magazine - John Lydon interview. John has a brief interview excerpt – given at last year's Q Awards – as part of a feature about rock stars picking their "heroes". Reluctant to pick anyone, John chooses between his Dad and Gandhi. John is also included on the front cover.
As part of the same article 3D from Massive Attack picks PiL as his heroes: "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…"
Sex Pistols rumour control hot's up… Virgin Records announce they will be re-releasing 'God Save the Queen' 25 years to the day on May 27th; and will be following its release with a new best-of compilation, and a definitive Sex Pistols box set. John Lydon will be actively promoting the releases. Strong rumours continue to circulate the band will be playing live in the summer. However, nothing has been confirmed.
Jah Wobble & Temple of Sound give their 'Shout at the Devil' collaboration a full release. The album had previously only been available via the 30 Hertz online-shop (see wobble discography for full info).
Jah Wobble's Deep Space begin a short UK tour at Norwich, Arts Centre. They will continue to sporadically tour the UK & Europe throughout the year (see Wobble Gig List for full info).
'Music OMH' website - Jah Wobble interview. When asked about the possibility of a PiL reunion, Wobble jokes: "No. Life moves on. Well, okay... my minimum fee is £10,000 per show. £2500 per rehearsal. All sums would be payable in advance. There would be a maximum of nine rehearsals, not exceeding five hours in length. Also a maximum of ten shows. I want my own hotel and a blue Mercedes, and driver on 24 hours call. If that was sorted we could all be chums - yes even with Keith. While I chat between songs with Keith, the thought of the money would be like those pictures that are stuck to the ceilings above dentists chairs..."
Siouxsie and the Banshees accept an "out of the blue" offer to reform for Coachella Festival in April. The band approach John McGeoch to play guitar. Drummer Budgie: "We talked to John but he refused to rejoin, because he knew how it would be and he was right … it was difficult, too restrictive and too steeped in the past. The wise old John..."
John Lydon travels to London for two weeks of promotion for the upcoming re-release of 'God Save the Queen'. Many of the interviews will be held back until May.
On arriving at Heathrow Lydon is quizzed by waiting reporters about his involvement with the re-release: "Virgin were going to do it anyway because they are corny, unlike me. So I am here to collect the cash, and celebrate my Jubilee. I may have problems with the Royal family but they are MY royal family."
Various newspaper articles with Lydon, including the 'Daily Mirror' and 'Daily Record'.
Some press reports state John is in the UK to record a new version of 'GSTQ'. However, the plan is actually to remix a version of the track with Neil Barnes, formerly of Leftfield. Virgin Records had previously approached Leftfield in 1993 – on the back of the successful 'Open Up' single – to remix 'Pretty Vacant' and were flatly turned down. This time Barnes is directly approached by John Lydon.
In between his press commitments John will be entering the studio to work on the remix, which is taken from the original 1977 master tapes.
Channel 4, 'Richard and Judy' - John Lydon interview. The show is a special on the Royal Family and the Queen's Golden Jubilee. John is brought in as the token anti-royal. However, he surprises the bemused Richard and Judy by agreeing that there should be British royalty, albeit run very, very differently.
'Daily Star' - John Lydon interview.
'Islington Gazette' - John Lydon interview. John gives his old local paper the exclusive on plans for a special Sex Pistols show sometime in the summer. John hints he'd like it to be held in Finsbury Park.
John Lydon is due to be a guest on the Radio 2, 'Johnnie Walker Show'. However, the appearance is cancelled as Walker is away on holiday, and Lydon had not been informed he would be speaking to a stand-in.
'Channel 5 News' - John Lydon interview.
Keith Levene launches his new MurderGlobal website. The site is still work-in-progress. Over the coming months he will add new pix; as well as some solo material from the 'Violent Opposition' album.
Martin Atkins announces on his Invisible Records website that he is beginning to compile a book. While going through his archives he finds various pieces of memorabilia. Some of which he will be auctioning via E-Bay, including various PiL items; such as backstage passes, badges etc.
Alan McGee launches 'Death Disco' a new club night at the London, Metro Club. The previous year he DJ'd a touring club night 'Radio 4', and also runs the 'Poptones' record label. Safe to say he's a PiL fan…
Jah Wobble's Solaris release 'Live in Concert' (see wobble discography for full info). A live album taken from the October 2001 UK tour. Mainly recorded at Kendal, Brewery Arts Centre and Brighton, The Dome. Solaris featured: Jah Wobble (bass), Bill Laswell (Bass & Electronics) , Jaki Liebezeit (Drums), Graham Haynes (Cornet) & Harold Budd (Piano).
The CD is initially only available via 30 Hertz, with a full release following in July.
Channel 4, 'The Big Breakfast' - John Lydon interview by "sock puppets" Zig & Zag. Until he arrived for the interview John had no idea Zig & Zag were puppets!
Radio 2, 'Jonathan Ross' - John Lydon interview. John confirms he is in the middle of trying to organise a Sex Pistols show to celebrate their Jubilee. He states he is planning "one big show" with all new bands, and wants it to be an "all-nighter". Thankfully he also shoots down rumours that The Clash will be involved.
Channel 4, 'How To Have A Number One' - John Lydon interview. Or how not to, as the case may be… !
Martin Atkins announces the foundation of his own distribution company "Underground Inc" which will incorporate Invisible Records along with several other labels.
MARCH / APRIL
Press reports state the Sex Pistols have approached HM Queen to perform at her official Golden Jubilee celebrations at Buckingham Palace!
'Mondomix' website - Jah Wobble interview.
Speaking of the forthcoming MurderGlobal tracks Keith Levene tells Fodderstompf: "The new record is really surpassing Levene Quality Control. I'm really getting excited now as the ideas flow through so much more quickly as always happens when working on a good project that begins to take on its own life."
'NME' - John Lydon interview. Special 50th anniversary issue. John totally dismisses the publication and its writers: "They came across to me as the kind of lonely kids who were bullied at School and here was their big vendetta…"
The release of 'Third Edition' a bootleg PiL white label credited to "Musique Concrete SA". The 10" single mixes the backing track from PiL's 'Careering' with the vocal from Neneh Cherry's 'Buffalo Stance'. Unusually for a white label it comes packaged in a quality cardboard sleeve; and continues the PiL pastiche of the title by using a pic of Neneh Cherry done in 'Second Edition' style artwork (see bootleg discography for full info).
Radio 1, 'Chris Moyles' - John Lydon interview. Part 1 of an interview pre-recorded in LA.
Jah Wobble is a guest DJ at Alan McGee's 'Death Disco' club night at the Metro in Oxford Street, London. He plays The Who and some "heavy Moroccan trance" that clears the dancefloor! Earlier the same night Wobble appeared with Deep Space at the Ether Festival: London, Royal Festival Hall.
'The Independent' - John Lydon interview. A fuller version of the interview later turns up in 'Esquire' magazine.
Channel 4, 'Rise' - John Lydon interview.
Radio 1, 'Chris Moyles' - John Lydon interview part 2.
'The Sun' - John Lydon interview (done back in March). John and Rambo playfully terrorise reporter Dominic Mohan, and practically refuse to let him leave! Mohan comments in the article: "It is the strangest and most difficult interview I have ever done - and that's saying something."
'Kiss Kiss' by Holly Vance, mixed by Jah Wobble, reaches number 1 in the UK single's chart!
Jah Wobble begins writing the score for the French film 'The Fury'. Boxing scenes will be staged to go with Wob's music.
TalkSport, 'James Whale Show' - John Lydon interview and phone in; along with Chas from Madness.
John Lydon holds a press conference at the London, Cobden Club, announcing a special "one-off" Sex Pistols anniversary concert at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London, July 27th. Details of the forthcoming Sex Pistols releases are also confirmed.
The Guardian, 'Friday Review' - John Lydon interview. Asked about the forthcoming Sex Pistols show he states: "I'm not interested in reforming the Pistols beyond this. I've got too many other interests…"
CBC Radio, Canada, 'As It Happens' - John Lydon interview.
'The Daily Mail' publish a full page hack report on John Lydon's personal life stating that he has made a "fortune speculating on the property market"!
'Mojo' magazine - John Lydon interview. When asked if there are any plans for reviving the original line-up for PiL's 25th anniversary in 2003 he responds: "Well, they tried to get me hooked up into that shit, but come on boys, you ain't cutting it if you go and do that. PiL was about getting rid of all that. You can't go back and do that again. I put them together. I'm sorry, it's not arrogance, but I was driving the truck… I don't know if I have the time or the money to sit down and re-form PiL while the Wobble's, the Atkins, the Levene's are egotisticising about the universe. They're all over the internet yakking about how they were the original geniuses behind it all. They missed the fucking point. I shared equally, you cunts. Get it right. I could have treated them as rented coat-hangers…"
'Mojo' also includes a review of Wobble's 'Shout At The Devil' CD, along with a brief interview.
John Lydon is scheduled to be a studio guest on Sky Sport's boxing coverage at the London Arena. Colin Dunne – who is on the bill – is an old sparing partner of John's mate Rambo, and all three are now friendly. Since the show will be broadcast live, Sky producers get cold feet and John does not appear on the coverage. However, he is spotted in a ring-side seat.
Despite not featuring during the live coverage, John and Rambo were interviewed with Colin on a pre-recorded fight preview show earlier in the day. Colin wears a Sex Pistols T-shirt, while 'Warrior' is played over the segment.
Keith Levene announces plans to release his first record in 13 years. A (as yet untitled) 5 track EP which will only be available through the MurderGlobal website. The initial release date of June 16th is given. However, it will actually be mid-August before the CD is officially available. Keith has given the EP a working title of 'First Kill'.
Sick of record company delays Keith has decided to take the bull by the horns and release the EP himself. He is hopeful a full album on a major label will follow sometime later in the year.
'Seven' magazine - John Lydon interview by Kris Needs. Speaking of the 'GSTQ' remix John reveals: "Virgin were going to release it anyway… So I suggested remix. I wanted to do it myself but Virgin weren't into that. They didn't want to give me that kind of control for whatever reason…"
Needs also speaks to Neil Barnes about the remix: "I did think about it for quite a long time before I took it on, but in the end I just thought 'why not?' …John asked me. It wasn't a record company thing. That also affected my attitude."
'Q Magazine' - John Lydon interview. Readers "Cash for Questions" interview. Referring to the planned film of his autobiography John states: "At the moment, there's real problems with that because the swing has gone towards it being a Sex Pistols story and that's of no interest to me. So we're back at the starting blocks. And I won't put it out if it's not right."
'Virgin Radio' - John Lydon interview. Two hour special. The first hour is an extensive interview, and the second sees him picks various records from throughout his life.
Re-release of the Sex Pistols 'God Save the Queen' single, including the new dance remix. Lydon states: "I'm very proud of it, and working with Neil Barnes – and you must understand this – it's the Sex Pistols AND Neil Barnes' remix. It's a wonderful piece of work. Kudos to Neil. It's worth having friends."
The single will be followed by 'Jubilee' a singles compilation and a Sex Pistols 3CD box set on June 3rd. The single peaks at number 15 in the UK charts.
Fodderstompf gives the first ever review of Keith Levene's 'MurderGlobal' CD EP. "No he's not dead! Far from it. Keith Levene is back, and he still only knows what he doesn't like.." Read the review here.
The release of 'Sorry' a skateboard video by the Flip team. John Lydon links and narrates the 60 minute video. As well as being a skate team, Flip also have their own range of clothing. Despite press reports, Lydon is not sponsored by the company, and simply likes the clothes. Wearing various shirts throughout much of the Pistols press. He also wears "Sorry" shirts at the press conference, and on stage at Crystal Palace: "John Lydon is 'sorry' to no one. Ever!"
Around this time Flip also release a PiL logo style T-shirt – but given that they forgot to ask permission – the shirts aren't in the shops for long!
BBC, Play UK - 'The Punk Years'. 10 part punk documentary series aired back-to-back over two nights. The series includes new interviews with John Lydon, Jah Wobble and Keith Levene.
TV adverts for the Sex Pistols 'Jubilee' compilation begin running. John Lydon features in the ads which were specially recorded back in March. The ads also turn up on a Virgin Records punk compilation released later in the year. "This is my Jubilee…"
BBC 1, 'God Save The Queen' . Golden Jubilee TV special featuring a new John Lydon interview.
'Uncut' magazine - John Lydon interview.
VH1, UK 'Punk Unpinned' - John Lydon interview. 'Rotten TV' also finally receives its UK TV debut the same night as part of VH1's 'Punk Night'.
The release of Martin Atkins 'Never Mind The Bhangra Here's The Opium Jukebox'. A bizarre tribute to the Sex Pistols album.
The full launch of Keith Levene's MurderGlobal website. The site was originally launched back in March, but is now vastly improved to incorporate the forthcoming EP release. It is announced the EP will be titled 'Killer in the Crowd', after the lead track, and will be credited to Keith Levene Murder Global.
Due to tinkering with the artwork the initial release date of June 16th is missed. However, interest is so high Levene starts selling pre-release copies.
'Mojo' magazine print a letter from Martin Atkins addressed to John Lydon; regarding John's comments in his May 'Mojo' interview. The letter reads:
"Dear John Lydon,
In response to your comments in MOJO 103, although I remain proud of my contribution to the group, I have a lot more going for me than having been the drummer, co-writer and co-producer in PiL for almost five years (79-85) and as many records. I next joined Killing Joke, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, started a couple of other bands – Murder Inc., Pigface and The Damage Manual, as well as Brian Brain – and doodled with the Opium Jukebox (the sitar-laen NEVER MIND THE BHANGRA tribute to the Sex Pistols is stunning!). I own my own studio and just produced the new Gravity Kills CD. My record label Invisible is a touchstone for independents over here in the US – we are about to celebrate our 15th anniversary and release our 250th CD and I also own an umbrella distribution company helping 15 other labels unite to fuck with the majors... You know, John, kind of like all the things we said we were going to do back in 1979... Good luck with the covers band and your next solo CD – whose wedding are you playing at?
Martin Atkins, Chicago"
'Carling Live' website - John Lydon interview. The quotes are taken from the May 16th Cobden Club press conference.
'The Sun' newspaper and 'Billboard' magazine (US) report that director Penelope Spheeris has been approached to work on the film based on Lydon's autobiography. Initial discussions with Spheeris actually started back in 2000 on John's 'Rotten Radio' show for eYada.com.
Jah Wobble's Solaris - Rome,
Villa Ada, Italy.
Solaris play a special one-off gig. They had hoped to record a studio album earlier in the year, along with further live shows, however, other commitments meant that this would be their last show to date.
BBC, Radio London, 'Danny Baker' - John Lydon interview. Lydon states he is considering working on a book about PiL. He also says he hopes to release two solo EP's in the near future, and has been in talks with Sanctuary Records. He later decides against the Sanctuary deal.
BBC 1, 'Liquid News'. John Lydon is a guest throughout the whole show.
Channel 4, 'Graham Norton Show'. John Lydon interview. Lydon completely upstages Norton and the show is heavily edited when broadcast later the same evening; with large parts of the ending completely removed.
John Lydon travels to Manchester to see David Bowie's gig at the Move Festival. After the show, singer Badly Drawn Boy tries to introduce himself but Lydon and Rambo have no idea who he is and don't like the look of him: so he is promptly told "Fuck off"!
Channel 4, 'Rise' - John Lydon interview.
'London TV News' - Sex Pistols interview from their rehearsals in West Sussex.
'Die Nacht', Germany - Sex Pistols / John Lydon interview.
'The Metro' - John Lydon interview. When asked if he received a reply from HM Queen about appearing at her Jubilee concert John comments: "No - I sent her an offer and it seems as though she has forgotten how to write a simple note back…"
'This Is London' website - John Lydon interview.
at the Palace! - Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, London.
The Sex Pistols own unique Jubilee celebration. The 90 minute set features practically every song the band ever played or recorded; along with a few surprises including the opening cover of Hawkwind's 'Silver Machine'! 20,000+ people go nuts on the hottest day of the year: "We were set for rain. There is a god, and he's right up my bum!" jokes Lydon. He later says the show was the most enjoyable the Pistols ever played.
The Pistols do not officially record or film the show for a commercial release. However, John Lydon has a cameraman on the side of the stage to record the show for his own personal use. 'Silver Machine' from this recording later turns up on the 2005 'Best of British £1 Notes' DVD compilation.
The Rapture who are on the bill play a re-worked version of PiL's 'Memories'. An imitation from New York?
The F&F fanzine makes a slight return as the official souvenir programme for the Sex Pistols Crystal Palace show. All four Sex Pistols are interviewed. The 36 page full colour glossy prog also features an introduction from John Lydon.
When asked what happened to the original idea of a Sex Pistols "all-nighter" Lydon explains: "We can't get the permits to run a rave. Can't get the permits to do anything. We're lucky to even get Crystal Palace, but that's because it's a field in the middle of nowhere! Nothing was made available, nothing at all. That's why we're grateful to Crystal Palace for having us, and it's coincidence, but lovely, that the word Palace is in there…"
Jah Wobble's Solaris 'Live in Concert' CD gets a full release. The album had previously only been available via the 30 Hertz online-shop (see wobble discography for full info).
BBC2, 'The History of Jamaican Music' part 2 - John Lydon interview. John discusses his 1978 trip to Jamaica to help sign reggae artists to Virgin Records. The show includes rare Lydon footage filmed by Don Letts in Jamaica.
'TrakMarx' website - Martin Atkins interview. Atkins reveals that he has contacted Keith Levene by email and is hopeful a possible collaboration may come about. He also explains his recent letter to 'Mojo' concerning John Lydon; and talks about his forthcoming book.
Ted Chau's Candyheads release their debut CD single 'Falling Down', via Libelous Media Records.
Keith Levene MurderGlobal 'Killer in the Crowd' is released via mail-order and the MurderGlobal website (see Levene discography for full info). The 5 track EP had been delayed since July 21st due to problems with the special gatefold sleeve; plus distribution problems. Read the Fodderstompf review here.
Although he views the EP as a low-key release, Keith still hopes to release the forthcoming MurderGlobal album on a major label.
'Sueddeutsche Zeitung', Germany - Jah Wobble interview.
The Sex Pistols are confirmed as headliners at the second annual KROQ / Levi's Inland Invasion at Blockbuster Pavilion, California, USA, 14th September. The bands will play to 64,000 people for the "low-dough" price of $35.
Fodderstompf.com - Tom Zvoncheck interview. PiL keyboards live; circa 1983.
John Lydon tells Fodderstompf that once his Sex Pistols commitments are over he will be pursuing various music, TV and film projects.
Sex Pistols - 'KROQ Levi's
Inland Invasion 2 Festival', Blockbuster Pavilion, California.
After the success of the Crystal Palace show the Pistols had been approached to headline the outdoor festival covering "three decades of punk rock", also featuring the likes of The Damned, Blink 182, Buzzcocks, Offspring, Bad Religion and Social Distortion.
Like the previous Crystal Palace gig the Pistols do not officially record or film the show for a commercial release. However, monitors and screens set up by MTV record the show.
On spotting a kid in the crowd wearing a PiL T-shirt Lydon jokes: "And to this guy here, I'll be back next week with PiL!"
HBO, 'The Sopranos' use Time Zone - World Destruction at the end of the show. Apparently the episode, which is entitled Candy, was written in the wake of 9/11, and the track was especially selected by the producers.
BBC 2, 'Great Britons - The Top 100' . John Lydon is voted the 87th Great Briton of all time! As well as a feature and interview with Lydon, the show also includes brief interviews with him discussing various other Great Britons.
John McGeoch's daughter Emily tells Fodderstompf that her Dad is currently doing music for TV. She also reveals that in 1995 McGeoch quit music to become a qualified nurse, but decided not to pursue the career and returned to making music.
ITV, 'Classic Rock Albums' - Sex Pistols: 'Never Mind The Bollocks'. Documentary on the recording of the NMTB album featuring an in-depth John Lydon interview. The show later receives an official DVD release, including extra footage, on December 2nd.
Chris Connelly releases 'Initials C.C.' a 2 CD compilation featuring a previously unreleased Damage Manual track: 'Ignore the Noise' (see Damage Manual discography for full info).
'The Independent' a movie featuring a cameo by John Lydon, filmed back in May 1998, receives a Region 2 DVD release in the UK / Europe. The film previously had a limited cinema release in the USA in November 2001.
The "comedy" directed by Stephen Kessler is loosely based on the life of independent movie producer Morty Fineman. John plays a town official called BaRuce Diamond. Janeane Garofalo, Jerry Stiller and Ginger Lynn Allen also appear.
'Speed TV' - John Lydon interview recorded at the Indy Cart Race in Fontana, California. Lydon is a big racing fan and is guest at the event through driver Jimmy Vasser. As well as his connection with Vasser, he speaks about the recent Pistols Jubilee gigs.
He was also shown on camera during the recent coverage of the US Formula 1 Grand Prix in September.
BBC Radio 2, Alice Cooper - 'Billion Dollar Baby'. Alice Cooper radio documentary presented by John Lydon. Recorded in New York the previous month.
"I know the words to every Alice Cooper song. The fact is, if you can call what I have a musical career, it all started with me miming to I'm Eighteen on a jukebox... You can be influenced by people that excel, but you should never copy. And that's why I made sure that the Pistols had a different approach."
Reports that the screenplay for the proposed film of John Lydon's book has been rejected, and a new writer will be drafted into replace scriptwriter Jeremy Drysdale. John still hopes Penelope Spheeris will direct, but is becoming frustrated with the project.
Channel 4, 'Back to Mine' - Moby picks John Lydon and PiL as part of his favourite artists. He states how Lydon was a major influence on him, and talks about his respect for John; and above all his lyrics.
NOVEMBER 28 / 29
Jah Wobble & Deep Space
- Istanbul, Babylon, Turkey.
During his stay Wobble also holds a workshop in assistance to the rehabilitation of street children.
'The Wire' - Keith Levene interview. Keith's first major music press interview in over 10 years. As well as covering PiL in-depth, the interview talks about the 'MurderGlobal' EP and mentions a new track: 'The Camera Dodgers' which Levene describes as the soundtrack for a small 20 minute digital video movie MurderGlobal is working on.
'Sunday Times' - John Lydon interview.
At an auction at Bonham's in London a signed envelope containing 12 pieces of John Lydon's orange dreadlocks from 1988 is sold for a staggering £235! Maybe when he dies they can make a Rotten-clone like in 'Jurassic Park'!
Rumours circulate that Keith Levene will be appearing on Martin Atkins new Pigface CD 'Easy Listening... For Difficult Fuckheads', which is set for release in January 2003…
Fodderstompf.com - Robert Poss interview. PiL guitar European tour rehearsals; circa 1983.