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John The Revelator
As PiL return with their best album since Metal Box, a typically forthright John Lydon treats Stuart Clark to his thoughts on David Beckham, the Pistols, The Clash, Ari Up, butter, PTA meetings & a whole lot more besides!
Stuart Clark, 06 Jul 2012
“You’re garbling a very old statement of mine!” he laughs. “Yeah, PiL is my heart and soul but the Pistols was my body and mind. I’m glad we did all those shows, Electric Picnic included – I wanna go back there with PiL! – but at this stage of my life I wouldn’t be able to write for the Pistols.”
Was he tempted to cut the middleman out completely by releasing This Is PiL online?
“God, no! That just strikes me as gimmicky. I’m a music lover first and foremost, which might surprise a few people. CDs are as new-fangled as I’m prepared to get! PiL has always been on the cheap. We’re a live band first and foremost, so our album is approached with that in mind. Most of the studio trickery we ignore. If you’re recording in a semi-live format, which is how we work, it’s all about where you place the mics and being as tight as fuck. Which as anyone who saw us last year in Tripod will know we are. That was an outstanding show, really great atmosphere.”
Lydon’s battle cry on This Is PiL is the, ‘I am John and I was born in London/I am no vulture, this is my culture’, line which kickstarts the dublicious ‘One Drop’. Indeed, the album has a pronounced reggae flavour all the way through.
“There’s more things going on than that!” he chides. “In particular, a homage to the ‘60s – I’ve Jack Bruce rattling around my head somewhere and some of them mod bands who kicked up a good bass end. The Who were a top group – there was a great, great concert in 1971 at The Oval with them and The Small Faces who I’ll always acknowledge as an influence too. I never, ever thought of myself as trying to be trendy. For me a record store was like being allowed into the crown jewels. I’d experiment all over the gaff.”
Captain Sensible said to us the other day that, hair length and trouser width aside, there was little difference between Hawkwind at their early ‘70s counter-culture best and the Sex Pistols.
“I don’t remember seeing him or any of The Damned at