2009 Chronology

Research by Karsten Roekens and Scott M, plus contributors…


January 2

Financial Times - Jah Wobble 'Chinese Dub' review.

January 11

The Guardian - Jah Wobble 'Chinese Dub' review.

January 19

BBC Radio London, DJ Ritu Show - Jah Wobble interview.

January 19

BBC Radio 4 Loose Ends - Jah Wobble interview. Wobble speaks about his forthcoming 'In Search of Sid' Sid Vicious radio documentary.

January 20

BBC Radio 4 'In Search of Sid' Sid Vicious radio documentary narrated, written and produced by Jah Wobble. After feeling that Sid's memory had recently been abused – and sensationalised – by those who never knew him; Wobble wanted to re-address the balance by speaking to many of Sid's friends. The 30 minute show features interviews with Sid's teenage mates Vince Bracken (aka The Steel Leg), Billy Dolan and Terry Penton. And also includes interviews with Marco Pirroni and Viv Albertine; as well as archive interviews between Anne Beverley and Jon Savage, and Roberta Bayley and Sid.

January 29

Full release of Jah Wobble's 'Chinese Dub' album. The album was originally made available via the 30 Hertz website in November 2009 (see Wobble Discography for full info).

The album is produced by Jah Wobble, and includes singers Mongolian/Tibetan Gu Ying Ji and Wang Jingqi, from the Mao ethnic minority of China, part of Yunnan Province (both handpicked by Wobble on a visit to China in 2007). Internationally acclaimed guzheng player Zi Lan Liao. Flautist Clive Bell, and Wobble himself. The Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra also feature.

January 22

The film 'Waltz with Bashir' - which features 'This Is Not A Love Song - is nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category; it already won a Golden Globe Award. The animated Israeli film directed and written by Ari Folman tells the story of a young soldier during the nightmares of the 1982 Lebanon war.


Record Collector - Jah Wobble 'Chinese Dub' review.


Simon Reynolds publishes 'Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews' his companion book to Rip It Up and Start Again. The book features an interview with Jah Wobble and two of Simon's recent PiL review articles.

March 1

Pirate Cat Radio (San Francisco & Los Angeles) airs a 2 hour special to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of 'Metal Box'. The show plays the album in full – sourced from an original vinyl copy – together with new specially recorded interviews with Jah Wobble, Richard Dudanski and Martin Atkins.

March 10

Rhino Records issue 'Album' on 180g vinyl in the US (see Discography for more info).

March 28

Radio 4, Inheritance Tracks - Jah Wobble interview.

April 1

BBC1,'Queens of British Pop'. John Lydon speaking about his respect for Kate Bush.

April 1

BBC 6 Music, Cerys Matthews Show - Jah Wobble interview.

May 3

It is officially announced that Jah Wobble's autobiography – 'Memoirs of a Geezer: Music, Life, Mayhem' – is scheduled for a September release via Serpent's Tail.


Songlines world-music magazine award Jah Wobble & The Chinese Dub Orchestra their 'Best Cross-Cultural Collaboration'. "I’ve won? I’ve never won anything in my life!"

May 15

Jah Wobble takes part in a spoken-word event with 'Englands Dreaming' author Jon Savage at The Brighton Festival.

May 26

4 Men With Beards issue 'Second Edition' and 'Flowers of Romance' on 180g vinyl in the US. The label previously re-issued 'Metal Box' in the US in 2006 (see Discography for more info).

May 29

BBC 6Music, Gary Crowley - Jah Wobble interview. In the the hour long special Wobble picks a selection of tracks and talks about his career; including meeting John Lydon and recording 'Metal Box'. He also receives his Songlines Music Award live on air.


Official CD release of Jah Wobble's 'Car Ad Music'. The album was released as download only in 2004. (see Wobble Discography for full info).


Martin Atkins' Pigface release the new studio album 'Pigface 6' via Full Effect Records. This is the first Pigface album not to be released through Invisible.

July 4

Keith Levene relaunches his MurderGlobal.com website. The site states: "Keith is concentrating on his own projects under the Murder Global banner which is made up of a team of like minded individuals. With new releases in the pipeline and other innovative concepts, Murder Global is a space well worth watching!" - MurderGlobal, 2009"


The official Slits biography 'Typical Girls? The Story Of The Slits' by Zoë Street Howe is published by Omnibus Press. The book includes interviews with Keith Levene and also reveals Levene made a brief appearance on the track 'Instant Hit' which was written about him. Viv Albertine: "You hear him at the end talking. He doesn't know that. That little bit at the end had been recorded at Ari's house with a little tape recorder, he didn't know that..."


John Lydon officially begins preparation to put PiL back on the road. Promoters Live Nation make the approach and the band are lined up for three shows at London's Brixton Academy in December. Lydon and manager John Rambo Stevens begin to plan the mammoth task of putting PiL back together for the first time in 17 years. They start planning the line-up and set list then begin recruiting band members and crew. Virgin Records show no interest in helping to back and/or promote the PiL shows (but later decide to re-issue 'Metal Box' and 'Plastic Box'). Lydon later confirms that the Country Life Butter TV advert greatly helped him put up the deposit with the promoters and finance the PiL tour.

Lydon already knows which former members he wants to recruit. He makes contact with Lu Edmonds (guitar), Bruce Smith (drums) and Jah Wobble (bass). All three members are said to be delighted to be asked and all preliminary agree to appear. Reportedly both Wobble and Lydon mutually agree that Keith Levene should not be approached.


Jah Wobble is given a take it or leave it offer to appear with PiL. Initial talks between Lydon and Wobble had apparently went well, however, disagreements from Wobble over the set list, band members and appearance money result in the offer from Lydon being withdrawn.

Lydon already has a replacement bass player lined up. Scott Firth is recommended via tour manager Bill Barclay. Firth is a multi-instrumentalist who had previously played with the likes of Little Axe, Ruby, Morcheeba, as well as Steve Winwood and The Spice Girls! When Firth tells Lydon he also plays double bass he is sold. Lydon suggests making the double bass an integral part of the set. When the band begin rehearsals in November tracks like 'Religion' and 'Flowers of Romance' are completely transformed.


Initially PiL were being lined to play three shows at London's Brixton Academy in December, however, it is quickly decided to expand to a short UK tour. Dates in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow are finalised along with a London date at Brixton.

August 3

'New Yorker' magazine features a retrospective article on the infamous PiL appearance on American Bandstand in May 1980.

August 23

Green Man Festival, Wales - Jah Wobble spoken-word appearance.

September 2

An official PiL website appears at www.pilofficial.com. Sparking rumours of a PiL return. At present the site only has a holding page with a PiL logo and the wording "I could be right. I could be wrong. It's coming some time maybe...".

September 5

The Sun - John Lydon interview. The article leaks details of the PiL tour.

September 7

It is officially announced that Public Image Ltd will return in December 2009 for 5 live UK dates in Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester and London. Their first shows in 17 years. The official website states: "The shows will mark the 30th Anniversary of the release of 'Metal Box' but PiL will NOT be limited to tracks from one album and the tour will showcase their whole career."

PiL founder John Lydon will be joined by former members Lu Edmonds (Guitar & Misc) and Bruce Smith (Drums), plus new recruit Scott Firth (Bass).

September 7

The first ever official PiL website is officially opened. www.pilofficial.com

September 7

Jah Wobble's autobiography – 'Memoirs of a Geezer: Music, Life, Mayhem' – is published via Serpent's Tail. Read the Fodderstompf review here. The book receives several high-profile reviews including The Independent and The Metro newspapers.

September 9

Pre-sale begins via www.pilofficial.com for the December shows. General sale begins September 11th.


Talks continue with the band regarding plans for the December shows. PiL together with manager John Rambo Stevens have drawn up a (long) shortlist of potential tracks; including some Lydon solo material. They are reluctant to drop anything so it is decided to play them all!

September 7

BBC 6 Music - John Lydon interview. He reveals he hopes to work on new material with the band and confirms that Jah Wobble was originally approached to appear. John Lydon: "John's a great mate of mine but we see different paths for each other."

Speaking of his choice of former members Lydon comments: "Lu can play every wacky instrument that's come out of the middle east. I see him as somewhat of a musical genius. Bruce is everything from jazz to soul, to R 'N' B to hard rock, the full rounder, not the hardest of hitters but absolutely rhythmically perfect."

September 7

The Guardian - John Lydon interview. "The Sex Pistols were too rigid. PiL allowed me to express proper emotions".

September 11

It is announced PiL have added a second date at Brixton Academy on December 22nd. This later is changed to 2 nights at Camden, Electric Ballroom.

September 12

NME - John Lydon interview. "You've got these PiL-esque bands who pick certain periods and claim that's the sound and the other stuff isn't. Once you make that faux pas, you're fucking with it."

September 13

Sunday Mail, 7 Nights Magazine - John Lydon interview and front cover. Lydon reveals that the death of his father the previous year and his brother Jimmy's battle with throat cancer had helped inspire the return of PiL: "The death of my father and my brother’s illness deeply upset me. It brought me straight back to Death Disco. I’ve never been able to cope with such loss very easily.".

September 13

PiL launch an official YouTube page. www.youtube.com/pilofficial

September 21

PiL launch an official MySpace page. www.myspace.com/pilofficial

September 25

Yorkshire Evening Post - John Lydon interview. He comments that PiL fans can expect a long and varied set: "There have been some 37 people that I've worked with in PiL. I think by now I know the best combination for this current event." "It will be the full gamut of PiL, every emotion possible. It's a seriously solid show; it's a good two hours. It will be an agonising treat for the old vocal cords. There's some serious challenges to musical perspective going on. I'm tempted to drag my violin and saxophone on stage but I don't know if I've got the wind."

He also comments that the previous year's Country Life Butter TV advert helped finance the return of PiL. When asked why the delay in putting PiL back together: "There were billions, thousands of reasons for and billions, thousands of reasons not. Mostly there's a lack of financial support from the record label. Everything I do I have got to scrape the pennies together to get going – so thank you very much, Country Life!"

September 21

PiL launch official Facebook and Twitter pages.

September 28

BBC Radio 2, Radcliffe and Maconie Show - Jah Wobble interview. He mentions he was approached by PiL, but will not be joining the band for financial reasons.


Mojo Magazine - John Lydon interview.


Uncut Magazine includes a 3 page 'Making of ' feature on the 1984 Time Zone - World Destruction single. John Lydon, Africa Bambaataa and Bill Laswell were specially interviewed.


Q Magazine - John Lydon interview.

October 4

Camden, The Roundhouse - Jah Wobble spoken-word event and book launch. He also hosts a book signing at Rough Trade East in Brick Lane.

October 13

Radio 2, Johnnie Walker Show. The 'Radio Rewind' segment features an interview with John Lydon from Radio 1, Rock On October 28th 1978.

October 20

Clash Magazine website publish a preview of their forthcoming magazine interview with John Lydon regarding the PiL tour.

October 30

Two additional PiL London shows are announced at Camden, Electric Ballroom, December 22nd and 23rd.


Jah Wobble releases the limited edition 10" vinyl single 'Get Carter' via Pressure Sounds. The track is cover version of the title track from the cult 60s film of the same name. (see Wobble Discography for full info)


PiL begin rehearsals at Putney in South London. They build the set to last over two hours.

November 1

The Observer Music Magazine - John Lydon picks some of his favourite songs including Roxy Music, Can, Kate Bush, The Kinks and Talvin Singh. He says this getting PiL back together: "I always wanted to get back to what we did with PiL, but I got caught up in other things. The Sex Pistols were back on the road and no regrets: those people are my mates. Then it was all the TV work, which I loved."

November 1

XFM, Razor Cuts - John Lydon interview.

November 2

Radio 2, Radcliffe and Maconie Show - John Lydon interview.

November 5

Evening Standard - John Lydon interview.

November 5

Islington Gazette - John Lydon interview.

November 5

Camden New Journal - John Lydon interview.

November 6

Clash Magazine - John Lydon interview.

November 9

A download-only EP of the December 1979 BBC, Radio 1 John Peel Session is released via Virgin / EMI. PiL are not notified by Virgin of its release.(see Downloads discography for full info).

November 9

Virgin / EMI announce they will re-issue 'Metal Box' and 'Plastic Box' on December 14th. John Lydon only finds out when a journalist mentions it during an interview.

'Metal Box' will be re-mastered and – like the original 1979 vinyl LP – come as 3 separate discs. The 4CD 'Plastic Box' compilation was first released as a limited edition in 1999 and features 64 tracks in total; spanning from 1978-1992.

November 13

London Tour Dates Magazine - John Lydon interview.

November 14

Daily Star - John Lydon interview.

November 15

BBC 6 Music, Music Week - John Lydon interview.

November 25

The Telegraph - John Lydon interview. He reveals rehearsals are going well and that new bassist Scott Firth has slotted in perfectly calling him: "Genius at work". He adds that PiL also intend to perform material from his post-Pistols solo career, including Leftfield Lydon 'Open Up’.

November 26

Absolute Radio, Christian O'Connell Show - John Lydon interview. Video clips are also posted online.

November 26

The Skinny - John Lydon interview.

November 26

Big Issue Magazine - John Lydon interview.

November 30

It is announced PiL will be recording shows in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and London to be available as instant live CD's in conjunction with ConcertLive.Co.uk.

The limited edition 4 CD set – entitled ALiFE 2009 – will feature the whole show recorded over 3 discs, plus a bonus disc including a John Lydon video interview and pictures of the band. The CD's will be available at all gigs and via Concert Live.

December 1

BBC Radio 4, Today Show - John Lydon interview.

December 3

BBC2, The Culture Show, December 3rd 2009 - John Lydon interview, plus live footage of the band performing 'Rise' and 'Religion' at rehearsals in London.

An expanded 30 minute version of the interview is broadcast in January 2010.

December 3

BBC website review the forthcoming CD re-issues of Metal Box and Plastic Box.

December 4

BBC One, The One Show - John Lydon interview. John is interviewed in his old house in Finsbury Park.

December 6

Absolute Radio, 'John Lydon's Unknown Pleasures'. John selects some of his favourite music, including PiL tracks. Picks include Mae West, Bee Gee's, T-Rex, Alvin Stardust; plus 'Albatross', 'Fat Chance Hotel' and 'Disappointed'.

December 7

BBC Radio London, Robert Elms Show - John Lydon interview.

December 10

Pre-sale begins for the ALiFE 2009 instant live CD's. You can pre-order now and pick the discs up after the show.

December 11

The Independent - John Lydon interview.

December 12

Sky News - John Lydon interview, plus live footage of the band performing 'Public Image' at rehearsals in London. 'This Is Not a Love Song' is also filmed.

December 14

www.pilofficial.com launch the first official PiL merchandise webstore; including T-shirts and posters for the upcoming PiL tour.

December 14

Virgin Records re-issue both Metal Box and Plastic Box on CD. Metal Box comes as a 3 disc set featuring the re-mastered album. See Discography for more info...

Virgin Records do not officially contact PiL to let them know the CD's are released and are reluctant to send out any review copies. PiL decide to promote the CD's themselves on the rear of the forthcoming 'ALiFE' live CD's stating "Virgin Records advertising courtesy of Public Image Ltd".

December 15

ITV, London Tonight - John Lydon interview, plus live footage of the band performing 'This Is Not A Love Song' at rehearsals in London.

December 15

Birmingham, 02 Academy. The live return of PiL for the first time in 17 years (see Gig List for all dates). The 2 hour set covers virtually every aspect of their career; plus some bonus John Lydon solo tracks. The show is widely acclaimed by fans and critics and the gigs are hailed as the "best live PiL ever" by many fans (myself included). John Lydon opens the show stating: "Public Image. Proper music for proper people…"

A Concert Live instant live CD is issued of this show. (See Discography for full info…). Read Fodderstompf review here...

Set List:
The Rabbit Song (intro) / Public Image / Careering / This Is Not a Love Song / Poptones / Albatross / Tie Me To The Length Of That / The Suit / Death Disco / Four Enclosed Walls / Flowers of Romance / Psychopath / Disappointed / Warrior / USLS 1 / Banging The Door / Chant / Bags / Memories / Annalisa / Religion / Sun / Rise / Open Up

December 15

BBC 6 Music - John Lydon interview.

December 15

The Scotsman - John Lydon interview. "This is the best gel of personalities for the music. Out of all the people I have worked with, Lu and Bruce are closest to the work we will be doing. They can play the full gamut of PiL, whereas some other members of PiL, who might be closer to me as a friend, really wouldn't be able to catch up with the newer or stranger stuff."

December 16

Leeds, 02 Academy. ALiFE 2009 Concert Live instant live CD is issued of this show. See Discography for more info...

December 16

Positive reviews for the opening night of the PiL tour in Birmingham appear in several newspapers and websites including The Guardian, Birmingham Mail, and The Independent.

December 17

Yorkshire Post review the previous night's show in Leeds. The Times also review Birmingham Academy. Another 4 star review.

December 18

Glasgow, 02 Academy. The show was not recorded by Concert Live as they do not normally record in Scotland.

December 19

Manchester, Academy. ALiFE 2009 Concert Live instant live CD is issued of this show. See Discography for more info...

The gig receives a belated review in the Morning Star, January 10th 2010.

December 19

Big Wheel Magazine review the Glasgow, December 18th show.

December 20

The Independent on Sunday give Birmingham yet another positive review.

December 21

London, Brixton, 02 Academy. ALiFE 2009 Concert Live instant live CD issued of this show. See Discography for more info...

London is gripped by snow and ice and John Lydon announces that if anyone missed the show due to the weather their ticket will be valid for the December 23rd Camden show.

December 22

London, Camden, Electric Ballroom. The two Camden shows were not recorded by Concert Live due to vehicle access restrictions outside the venue.

December 22

Reviews of the Brixton gig appear in The Telegraph, NME.Com and The London Evening Standard.

December 23

London, Camden, Electric Ballroom.

December 31

The Guardian F&M Playlist pick PiL's 2009 version of Religion as their top live track of the year. Commenting: "PiL's pre-Christmas shows proved that John Lydon should not be remembered either as panto punk or eccentric butter salesman, but as arguably Britain's greatest musical adventurer of the last 30 years. By the time this song closed the set at stomach-churning volume, one could only wonder at the extraordinary severity and extremity of his vision."



1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 |
| 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 |
| 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 |

Chronology | Fodderstompf