Research by Karsten Roekens and Scott M, plus contributors…
Keith Levene confirms rumours that he will be appearing on Martin Atkins' Pigface album 'Easy Listening For Difficult Fuckheads' set for release January 28th.
In a bid to try "bury the hatchet and move on" (they had not spoken in 20 years!) Atkins decided to contact Levene in Autumn 2002 via email. After some cagey initial responses he asked Levene if he would be interested in playing on a track for the forthcoming Pigface album. Atkins then supplied a backing track which Levene played on and sent back. Levene later stated he based his contribution on the Beatles 'We the Love We Knew' which he "couldn't help" playing when he heard Atkins backing track.
'Daily Telegraph' - Jah Wobble interview.
'Uncut' magazine - Keith Levene interview as part of an article on the first Clash LP.
'Another' website - Jim Walker interview.
'The Independent On Sunday' - Jah Wobble interview.
'The Guardian' - Jah Wobble interview.
Jah Wobble's 'Ode To Joy' begins at London, Cargo. The 8 date tour is an interpretation of Beethoven's famous 'Ode To Joy' theme "as never heard before" featuring Deep Space, Molam Lao and Philip Jeck (see Wobble Gig List for full info).
Martin Atkins releases the new Pigface album 'Easy Listening For Difficult Fuckheads' which includes a surprise guest appearance from Keith Levene; playing 12 string guitar on the track 'Closer To Heaven'.
Unfortunately Levene's contribution isn't prominent and he even admitted: "I can't hear the fucking thing!" Atkins later confirmed to Fodderstompf that he did use the contribution and explained: "Naaaaaa, it's in there. I liked it so much I had some sitar laid down with it and the result is a combination of the two… It felt great to hear Keith's unique guitars again. Maybe I second guessed myself and heard it in my head louder than it is on the track…"
Levene later included the original unmixed version on a (commercially unreleased) MurderGlobal pre-release CD, re-titled as the 'The Love We NEW'. Atkins also released several mixes and remixes of the 'Easy Listening For Difficult Fuckheads' album; which included variations of 'Closer to Heaven'. One at least must surely feature Levene's contribution… ? (see collaborations discography for full info).
'Prick Magazine' - Martin Atkins interview (US Tattoo magazine). Atkins: "The PiL logo was such a great piece of art that I thought 'Absolutely! I'm going to get a PiL tattoo on my arm!' I nearly, nearly, nearly got the tattoo, and as soon as I left, the band went a little pop, John went a little mad, and I'm like: 'Thank God I didn't get a PiL tattoo!''
Fodderstompf.com - Mark Gray interview. PiL clothes design; circa 1978-80.
'Blogcritics' website - Martin Atkins interview.
'Godsend' website - Martin Atkins interview.
Fodderstompf.com - Nick Launay interview. PiL engineer, producer and member; circa 1980.
'Ray of Gob' a Madonna v Sex Pistols MP3 mash-up of 'Ray of Light' and 'God Save the Queen' by Go Home Productions begins doing the rounds. It is later reported that John Lydon is such a fan of the mix he approaches Madonna's management to try get an official release. Go Home also do a second mash-up in June featuring 'Music' and 'Submission' entitled 'Sub-Music'.
'In Music We Trust' website - Martin Atkins interview.
BBC 6 Music, Tracey MacLeod Show, 'My Life in CD' - Jah Wobble interview. Wobble picks various important records from throughout his life, including 'Public Image'. He also picks the likes of Jim Reeves, Desmond Decker, Anita Baker and Miles Davis…
'The Times: Formula 1 Handbook' - John Lydon interview, and front cover. Lydon talks of his love of Formula 1 and racing on his PlayStation!
The Sex Pistols are fashionably ignored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Shame, in favour of The Clash and The Police. John Lydon comments: "The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is fast becoming a spectacle. It's just a place for Bruce Springsteen and his pals to jam. They can stick it up their arse!"
MARCH 13- APRIL 20
Martin Atkins' Pigface begin their 38 date 'United' North American tour at Milwaukee, The Rave; along with My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, Zeromancer and Bile. Footage from the tour is later featured on the DVD 'United I Tour 03', released December 2nd.
'Pittsburgh Post Gazette' - Martin Atkins interview.
John Lydon continues work on new solo material at his own 'Rotten Studios'. Up to six tracks are now completed, with another four partially finished. Since Lydon has no record contract he is sporadically working on material between other commitments and is in "no rush" for a release.
Around this time he gets back in touch with 'Flowers of Romance' producer Nick Launay who he wants to mix some of the tracks. Although preliminary work did begin on the mixes, the idea of working with Nick was later shelved.
'Art Interviews' website - Martin Atkins interview. The interview is later re-published in December by 'Dark Matter' website.
'What's Up', El Paso - Martin Atkins interview.
John Lydon spotted at the 29th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, USA.
The release of the soundtrack album to the French film 'Fureur', scored by Jah Wobble. The soundtrack features 7 new tracks, plus 3 tracks from the 'Molam Dub' album (see wobble discography for full info). Wobble later joked the film was nothing more than soft-porn masquerading as art.
'Rag Magazine' - Martin Atkins interview.
Former PiL drummer Richard Dudanski plays a Joe Strummer memorial gig at London, Tabernacle Arts Centre with the reformed 101'ers.
APRIL / MAY
Rumours begin to circulate about a Sex Pistols North American tour in August and September.
XM Satellite Radio, Washington DC, 'Genetic Blueprint' - Martin Atkins interview.
'Uncut' magazine - Keith Levene "I Thought You were Dead" interview. In the short interview Levene is brutally honest about his relationship with the late Joe Strummer and is equally honest about MurderGlobal: "I'm forty-fucking-five years old, and I don't even want to be doing this. I want to be a fucking film director. But the reason I'm doing this is because Murder Global is a fucking great band. The name means everything to me. Murder Global is what's happening in the world today and exactly what's happening with my music. It's not a negative statement, it's a positive observation. I really wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think it was worth it…"
BBC2, 'The Whistle Test Years'. Includes PiL's performance of 'Careering' from 1980.
'Chicago Tribune' - Martin Atkins interview.
BBC Radio 3, 'Andy Kershaw' - Jah Wobble and Deep Space in session. Molam Lao are due to be part of the session, however a BBC mix up with taxi's sees them miss the whole session.
It is announced that John Lydon will give the 'keynote speech' at the 'North By Northeast' (NXNE) music industry convention in Toronto, Canada, June 6th. Despite hysterical US press reports over a SARS breakout Lydon confirms he will be attending no matter what.
'Toronto Sun', Canada - John Lydon interview. Although focusing on NXNE, Lydon states he is sporadically working on new solo material, but dismisses previous plans for an internet only release: "The Internet is a waste of time... I'm certainly not going to put my products on a thing like that... There might be a record company that suits my purpose, there might not be..."
John Lydon delivers the keynote speech at the 'North By Northeast' (NXNE) music industry convention at the Toronto, Holiday Inn, Canada. "Here we are at this record company sponsored conference and my best advice is don't trust the record company..." The 'speech' is more of an informal talk and totally improvised. It also includes an audience Q&A where he comments that if he "ever" reactivated PiL it would be with an entirely new line-up.
Lydon confirms there will be a Sex Pistols tour later in the year, but dates are still being finalised.
'Jam!', Canada - John Lydon interview.
'Blistering.com' website - John Lydon interview. He comments: "I don't have a record label and it doesn't look like I ever will, not in any shape or form…"
'Ink 19' website - Martin Atkins interview.
Keith Levene makes an extremely rare live appearance – guesting on bass guitar – with Plakka at the 'N16 Fringe Festival' in London, Stoke Newington.
Plakka are an 'experimental' London based band who Levene has been helping out. He tells Fodderstompf that although he is considering producing their debut LP/EP – (via his MissingChannel studio and production company) – he isn't involved with them; and is really only playing as a favour to a friend in the band. He states he is more interested in getting the MurderGlobal album completed.
Jah Wobble's Deep Space release 'Five Beat' on 30 Hertz (see wobble discography for full info). This is the third studio album the "Avant Garde Boogie Band" have released.
Sex Pistols to play Baghdad? John Lydon breaks the news to the F&F website about plans for the Sex Pistols to play Iraq: "If the people of Iraq are being offered democracy, then they should understand it to its fullest extent, and that is the SEX PISTOLS..."
He also officially confirms the Sex Pistols North American tour dates, and states that despite claims elsewhere Japanese dates are still a possibility.
CBC Radio 3, Canada - John Lydon interview.
JUNE 28 & 29
Jah Wobble plays Roskilde Festival in Denmark together with Bill Laswell.
Martin Atkins begins the 'International Asshole Tour', a series of DJ and spoken word performances in North America.
'LA Times' - John Lydon interview. The article mentions that Lydon has 8 songs completed for his new solo album, and that he will be working with former PiL producer Nick Launay on some of the tracks: "It's serious hard dance. I use the word 'dance' very flippantly. It's just solid. Not rock…"
'Rhythms' magazine' , Australia - Jah Wobble interview.
'Vh1.com' website - John Lydon interview. He dismisses any talk of a new Sex Pistols album: "There's no need. None at all. We do things like that if we feel right about it. We're under no obligation to no one... never have been. What we do is correct and truthful, and we don't fake it. And to force out a second album would be faking it."
'Toronto Star', Canada - John Lydon interview.
'Billboard' website - John Lydon
interview. He is quizzed about the proposed Sex Pistols show in Iraq… "Wanting
to play Baghdad certainly makes for a good soundbite, but how serious are
you to see it through?"
"I'm deadly serious. Deadly serious. It's very close to happening. Let's be logical, for what reason on earth would the people over there want to blow me up? That's the bit that's not understood. Unlike forcing Metallica on the Iraqi prisoners, I'm giving them a choice. They don't have to come. The show will be free of charge. It would be a mean-spirited to be charging them in U.S. dollars. I will do it. I see no reason not to. They could use a good bleeding view of how the world is."
'Siouxsie and The Banshees: The Authorised Biography' by Mark Paytress is published. The book features extensive new interviews with John McGeoch about his time with the Banshees.
'MSNBC News' website - John Lydon interview.
'Record Productions' website - Jah Wobble interview.
'Asleep By Dawn' magazine, Philadelphia - Martin Atkins interview.
'Playboy.com' website - John Lydon interview.
'USA Today' website - John Lydon online chat. Asked when a new PiL album will be released he states: "The new PiL album isn't coming. I've got a new solo album and it will be excruciatingly different for the cliche ridden." He also mentions plans for a book on PiL and a separate book on the "political process".
Thefilthandthefury.co.uk (F&F) website - John Lydon interview. Part 1 of a special interview split between F&F and Fodderstompf. This first installment mainly centres on the Sex Pistols and the North forthcoming American tour. A separate in-depth interview regarding PiL and his new solo material will follow on Fodderstompf.
Lydon reveals the Pistols basically
put the tour together themselves: "If we can put a tour together
like this without any record company money, and without any need for product.
Well, it's self explanatory, hello, young girls and boys, you too can
do this. Fucking ignore the system, use it when it suits you."
He also reiterates his wish to play Iraq and reveals that talks are underway;
if through "unofficially official" channels!
Pigface release the remix album 'Headfuck', containing four new mixes of the Atkins/Levene collaboration 'Closer to Heaven' (see collaborations discography for full info)..
'LongIsland' website - John Lydon interview.
'Newsday' website - John Lydon interview.
ABC, 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' - John Lydon interview. John explains why the Sex Pistols – who were originally billed to play on the show – can not appear due to visa problems with Glen Matlock and Paul Cook. Both are still in England, only five days before the band are due to start their North American tour! Despite this, Lydon is confident the tour will go ahead as planned, and promises the Pistols will play on the show in September.
'New York Post' website - John Lydon interview.
'Clevescene.com' website - John Lydon interview. He comments: "I'm really proud of my new solo stuff. It's like dance music: if you've got a body like a sack of potatoes. I'm going to be working on a book about PiL. Then a serious debate book. Anything to have a row with Bill O'Reilly. I'd love to put that idiot in his place. I also DJ at soul clubs, under different names, because it tends to get judged against me like 'Oh, that Rotten's trying to get into dance music. 'Hello - know my history, mate. I probably fucking invented dance music with PiL!"
Sex Pistols begin an 11 date tour of North America at the Boston, Fleetboston Pavilion.
After serious visa problems Paul Cook only arrives in the States two hours before the gig is due to start! While Glen Matlock only arrived the previous day. There's no time for rehearsals and the Pistols have to jump in at the deep end, yet again… The result is a looser more fluid Sex Pistols more in common with '76 than '96; with many people commenting the tour is the best they have ever played.
Former PiL drummer Richard Dudanski plays a further Joe Strummer memorial gig at Centro de Interpretacion del Sacromonte in Granada, Spain.
Having had to play an early show at the Jones Beach Theater, the Sex Pistols hold a special after-show party at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. John Lydon was closely involved in its organisation, and later stated, that although he had initially been unsure about it, he did feel going there gave him some kind of closure on Sid.
'The Plain Dealer', Cleveland - John Lydon interview.
'The Washington Post' - John Lydon interview. He describes PiL as currently "in hiatus" and goes on to say: "People are now asking me if I'll reform it. I don't see how. It's too large a time scale and too varied in its works, but at the moment I'm in the middle of recording a solo record... It isn't like a rock band thing. It'll be more like deejay-oriented I suppose, for want of a better term." He also comments he is considering releasing and distributing the record himself: "I don't think I'm gonna use a label at all…"
Martin Atkins meets John Lydon backstage after the Sex Pistols show in Chicago, and has his kids picture taken with him.
'The Arizona Republic', Phoenix - John Lydon interview.
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band state they have a "definite maybe" from John Lydon about appearing on the tribute album 'Alex', due for release in 2004. However, no official approach was ever made to Lydon, and the album is later released without any contribution from him.
'No Brain No Headache' website, France - Martin Atkins interview.
San Diego, 91X, 'Brand X Morning Radio' - John Lydon interview.
San Diego, 'City Beat' - John Lydon interview.
'San Diego Union Tribune' - John Lydon interview.
ABC, 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' - Sex Pistols Will Play! John Lydon interview and Sex Pistols live appearance.
Sex Pistols North American tour ends at Tempe, Marquee Theatre, Arizona. After the show Lydon spends an hour in the car park talking to fans until Police intervene.
Sci-Fi Channel, USA, 'The Belzer Connection'. John Lydon sits on the panel of the debate show discussing the so-called 'Diana Conspiracy'. The show was actually taped as a pilot back in autumn 2002.
'Zero' magazine, San Jose - John Lydon interview.
Keith Levene plays a second show with Plakka at Stoke-Newington, The Umpire, London. "Helping out" on bass duties.
The release of a new independent British film entitled 'This is Not a Love Song'. Oddly enough the PiL track doesn't actually appear in the movie. Apparently this is the first full-length film to be premiered simultaneously online and in the cinema.
Blacksmoke the new "multimedia art collective" (band and label) founded by Jimmy Cauty (formerly of KLF) have a special two track session broadcast on BBC, Radio 1 'The Breezeblock'. One of the tracks 'Blacksmoke Rising' uses a John Lydon vocal: broadcast without his knowledge, or consent!
The vocal, with a completely different backing track, had been recorded about five years previously for a proposed project between Lydon and Cauty entitled 'In the Year 2525'. The project was eventually shelved over problems with the backing track. Lydon later told Fodderstompf:"The music wasn't right, and I couldn't be bothered to educate them." Another track supposedly featuring Lydon entitled 'Sailing By' was also mentioned on the Blacksmoke website, but has yet to surface…
Keith Levene plays a third show with Plakka at Stoke-Newington, The Umpire, London. Again helping out on bass guitar.
Levene tells Fodderstompf he is currently concentrating on playing bass. And that the change of instrument has made him rethink his "whole musical approach" and completely re-inspired him.
Jah Wobble and the Invaders of the Heart release 'English Roots Music' on 30 Hertz (see Wobble Discography for full info). The album is a Wobble-style update on traditional English folk music.
It is announced that Martin Atkins' Underground Inc will be releasing Keith Levene's 'Killer In The Crowd' EP in early 2004. The EP was given a very limited private release the previous year via the MurderGlobal website (see Levene discography for full info).
Levene is continuing work on a full-length MurderGlobal album now entitled 'The Perfect Crime', which is also set for release via Invisible Records / Underground Inc.
Jah Wobble is a panelist at the 'Music Works: Cross-Media Convention' at the Radisson SAS Hotel in Glasgow, Scotland. Reports that he ran screaming from the building are still unconfirmed... no actually they're 100% true!
On the behalf of his label 30 Hertz Records Wobble was asked to take part in a discussion about piracy and bootlegging. Wobble's anti-music business, and pro-piracy, views are not completely shared by the panel! (He had toyed with the idea of coming dressed as a pirate). His mischievous nature soon sees things get out of hand and the talk ends with him running out the building screaming: "The auditors are coming!" to complete silence from the rest of the convention!
'MK' magazine, Chicago - Martin Atkins interview.
NOVEMBER 7 - DECEMBER 14
Martin Atkins' Pigface begin their 'United II' North American tour at Columbus, Alrosa Villa; along with Dope, Professional Murder Music and Rachel Stamp.
Fodderstompf delay the publication of the in-depth John Lydon PiL interview due to a forthcoming PiL special by 'Mojo' magazine. The Fodderstompf interview will now be published in January 2004.
Keith Levene plays a fourth show with Plakka at Stoke-Newington, The Umpire, London. Again, helping out on bass guitar.
Radio 1, 'One World: Rough Trade Records Special' featuring a rare media appearance with Jeannette Lee (now a co-director of Rough Trade). Jeannette – along with founder Geoff Travis – narrate the two hour special. Although discussing the development of Rough Trade through punk, no mention is made of Jeannette's involvement with PiL.
Fodderstompf.com - Keith Levene interview. PiL guitarist and founder member etc etc; circa 1978-83.
In the long-awaited interview, originally started in 2001, Keith reveals he is to work with Martin Atkins again on a new record. He also talks about his switch to bass, and covers PiL in-depth. He is hopeful the MurderGlobal 'Perfect Crime' album will now come out on Atkins label, but sees it as a completely separate release to the new collaboration. In the meantime he has been putting out a 12 track MurderGlobal pre-release: "It's a great pre-release because it ain't the album, and if you like the stuff it'll really make you want the album…"
John Lydon's autobiography 'Rotten, No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs' is republished in the UK by Plexus. The layout is based on the US edition and now features a totally new cover. John Lydon knew nothing of the re-issue or changes until after the book was published.
'Cambridge Press' Vol. 22/3. The Academic Journal includes an 18 page article on John Lydon / PiL entitled 'Know History!: John Lydon Cultural Capital and the Prog/Rock Dialectic'! The article (favourably) argues Lydon's effect in shaping popular culture; as well as discussing the relationship between prog rock, punk & post-punk.
An earlier version of the article was previously published at the 'No Future Conference at the University of Wolverhampton in September 2001.
The release of 'Really Sorry' the DVD version of the Flip skateboard video released last year. Linked and narrated by John Lydon.
Jah Wobble releases 'Elevator Music' a special download-only album for eMusic.com. The album is set to be given a full CD release via 30 Hertz in 2004.
E4, 'The Bronx Bunny Show' - John Lydon interview.
'CA Bands' website, Sacramento - Martin Atkins interview.
BBC 6 Music, 'Liz Kershaw Show' - Keith Levene interview. He also picks some records including The Jam and some Trojan reggae.
'NME' run an article about Kurt Cobain's favourite 50 albums. He is said to have picked PiL's 'Flowers of Romance' and the Sex Pistols 'NMTB'.
'Maximum Ink' website, Wisconsin - Martin Atkins interview.
Reports appear in 'The Sun' newspaper that John Lydon has been lined up for the new series of 'I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here'. A UK celebrity reality show filmed in the Australian jungle which is due to begin in January 2004.
'Mojo' magazine (January issue). Extensive PiL article 1978-83 (including front cover) featuring new interviews with John Lydon, Keith Levene and Jah Wobble; along with rare pix by Dennis Morris. 'Mojo' also state their next issue will feature a separate John Lydon interview about his current plans. Sounds familiar… ?
Jon Savage picks 'Home is Where the Heart is' as part of a 'post-punk best of' article.
Go Home Productions – who were also responsible for the Sex Pistols v Madonna MP3 mash-up's – make 'PiL's, Thrills and Britneyache' available for download. The track is mash-up of PiL's 'Socialist' and Britney / Madonna: 'Me Against The Music'!
BBC 6 Music, 'Janice Long'. The show features a repeat of 'Careering' and 'Poptones' from the PiL 1979 John Peel Session; as part of Radiohead's 'Dream Ticket' selection where artists pick their favourite recordings from the BBC archives. Tom Yorke comments that 'Poptones' is "almost better than the original…"
'Flashnews' website, San Diego - John Lydon interview.