Public Image Ltd set to reform

John Lydon, who describes PiL as his 'first love', has announced a five-date comeback tour

According to John Lydon, Public Image Ltd – his second most famous band – have only ever been in a hiatus, although at 17 years it's been a long one.

But now they are coming back. In an interview in today's Guardian, Lydon announces that he is re-forming the successful and influential band that he created in 1978, just a year after the disintegration of the Sex Pistols.

PiL, which influenced bands such as Manic Street Preachers and Massive Attack, lasted eight years with numerous line-ups, and even though punk trailblazers the Sex Pistols have re-formed twice for financially lucrative tours, Lydon says that PiL are his "first love".

The 2009 PiL will not contain original band members Jah Wobble or Keith Levene (ex-Clash) but will instead feature guitarist Lu Edmonds, drummer Bruce Smith and a new arrival in multi-instrumentalist Scott Firth.

PiL, which had chart success with singles such as Public Image and This Is Not a Love Song, are re-forming for a five-date tour beginning on 15 December in Birmingham. "We'll see where we can go," Lydon said. "Some things may be quite similar, some may not."

For many, Lydon will always be Johnny Rotten, and for many punk fans the world seemed to turn upside-down when he began appearing as a tweed-suit-wearing posh English landowner advertising Country Life butter.

It had been a big enough shock seeing Lydon on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here in 2004, but now here was an anti-establishment hero appearing with Morris dancers and being chased by cows, declaring that he bought the butter because he loved it on his crumpets.

But then, as he makes plain in the interview, the 53-year-old Lydon is getting on. He does not like computers: "My eyesight's gone. They drive me insane. How many mpegs of saucy goings-on do you have to squint at before you learn this is no good?" He does like David Attenborough: "Fantastic". And, seemingly totally unaware of the irony in what he is saying, he has trenchant views on the youth of today: "Younger people at the moment are very mouthy and aggressive.

"You're all terrified of your youth. You're not allowed to give them a clip around the ear and send them home."


Mark Brown

The GuardianTramp

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