PiL's comeback album depends on US tour, says John Lydon

PiL are feeling a little cash-strapped and are hoping their US tour can fund their new album, the Sex Pistols frontman, John Lydon, has revealed

When Public Image Ltd launch their US tour next month, it isn't just John Lydon's credibility on the line – it's the band's overall future. If PiL are to record a comeback album, Lydon has revealed, it's up to the American gigs to fund it.

"It's sort of like the old days of PiL, when the [Sex] Pistols went kaput," Lydon told Billboard. "We've got no backing – no recording company, no sponsors, nothing like that ... The only way we can make money is the touring, and then we can make a new album."

PiL last visited America in 1992 – the same year they issued That What Is Not, their most recent studio album. Lydon dissolved the band shortly after. They did not reform until last autumn, after the death of Lydon's father. "I had to have a release from that," the former Sex Pistol explained. "That led me into going back and listening to Death Disco, a song I wrote about my mother's death. That gave me the lust to get up there, back on stage and express these feelings."

Lydon reunited with two of the group's late period members, Bruce Smith and Lu Edmonds, plus bassist Scott Firth. They played a handful of British gigs and quickly issued a live album, ALiFe. "We're almost physically attuned to each other on stage," Lydon said. "It's a wonderful give and take – no nastiness, no arguing. We experiment sonically. I just love the potential. We truly love what we're doing."

The new Public Image Ltd are now set for a 20-date US tour, beginning with the Coachella festival on 16 April. For the 30th anniversary of PiL's appearance on American Bandstand, where Lydon abandoned lip-sync to dance with the audience, the group will play the Jimmy Kimmel Live show. "We're not the kind to go up there and be miserable, fashionably," Lydon said. "It's about a celebration of life."

If all goes well, Lydon promised, a new record will "come at the end of all this". He has "never stopped writing", even drawing inspiration from the "poetic beat" of a newscast. "There's a rhythm to the way it's laid out," he said. "Movies can do that. Shakespeare and good poetry does that, and a bloody good book does that, or just a long walk."

"Not much has changed ... PiL is my heart and soul, always will be."


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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