Review Revue: PIL – Live in Tokyo

My god, have I really been doing this series for almost four years? I thought I had covered a release by this week’s artist before, so I went back to the archives and discovered it was my second Review Revue post ever, from September 27, 2007. Where does the time go? Well, almost four years and 180-something posts later, there’s still plenty of digging to be done in the KEXP vinyl archives, and plenty of vigorous debate to be unearthed and brought to light. If anyone deserves a second go-round it’s the band-member-firing, audience-expectation-frustrating, hyphen-use-inducing John Lydon’s argument-inciting Public Image Ltd.

Live in Tokyo was the first PIL album released after a very bitter split with founding member Keith Levene, and the second without founding bassist Jah Wobble. It would be the first of several more PIL albums to feature Lydon and whomever else he picked to play with him. (You know a band has personnel problems when there’s a Wikipedia page devoted to listing their members and when they served.) Needless to say, the KCMU staff had opinions on it – and some brazen soul even resorted to attacking the album with chewing gum.

“PIL — live in Tokyo, and some incredible music here – most old standards. Very impressive for a live record — very slick. Import.”

“Oh yeah, it’s all 45! rpm.”


“It’s OK, I guess. Where’s Levine? [sic] (He’s sorely lacking.) P.S. For production, The The Cure A Single. [I don’t know what that means.]”

“Levine [sic] is a hangin’ with Jalmadeen Tacuma [sic] these days. (Excuse my spelling.)”

“F-I-F-T-E-E-N D-O-L-L-A-R-S? Need I say more?”

“This is a lot better than the studio stuff.”

“Whine whine whine. That’s all this guy does.”

“This album is Pum-ped.”

“The studio stuff was much less DOR — Less boring.”

“Rockin’ disc — but what’s this ’45’ shit? Mr. Rotten’s been taking lessons in ripping people off from Malcolm McLaren or something.”


“Is Johnny’s hair ever gonna — change — ? Does it even grow?”

“Are people’s attitudes about importance of the hairstyles of new musicians ever gonna — change? — Do they even grow?”

“If you’re going to argue about the philosophical/political ramifications of hairstyles — go to Japan!”

And on the reverse side…

“Gum Wound.”

“Hay! Who’s the gumfighter”

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