Out of the ashes of the punk scene in 1978 arose Public Image Ltd. (PiL), an avant-garde group if there ever was one. Led by John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten), late of The Sex Pistols, and an interchangeable cast of players, the group sprayed various sonic influences all over a musical canvas for the next 15 years on a stop and start basis.
And looking back on PiL's career, that was exactly the point: not to be pinned down and identified with any particular genre. Of course, this type of approach won it only a small -albeit vociferous - fan base, because most listeners want more of the same on successive records, or at most a measured move away from a recognized sound. PiL played with Jamaican dub, industrial, Krautrock, drum and bass, and a number of other varied influences. In this age of obsession with labels - it's not good enough simply to be called a rock 'n roll band anymore - the only one that fits PiL would be "post-punk."
Anyway, after a hiatus since the early 1990s, Lydon has resurrected PiL, the time with Lu Edmonds, Scott Firth and Bruce Smith. The band played a handful of shows in the UK in December and now will embark on a tour of the US and Europe, starting with a prize appearance at Coachella on 16 April. And you can get a preview of the boys on 7 April when they appear on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Hit or miss, TNOP was always fascinated with the band and the free form it adopted on record, obviously at the expense of popularity on the music scene. But as Lydon likes to say, "Let's not get too excited about it all. It's just entertainment."