The Joup Friday Album: PIL – Public Image: First Issue

Public Image, LTDWhat do you get when you remove the one member of the Sex Pistols that didn’t buy into the hype? You get the death of the band, whether or not Jonesy, Cook and Mclauren knew it or not. Ronnie Biggs? Come on…

Meanwhile, Mr. Lydon found himself some interesting people to work with when starting his subsequent project, the aptly titled Public Image, Ltd. Jah Wobble is one of the legendary musicians that not only helped catalyze what has colloquially become known as “Post Punk”, but also inspired the first outcroppings of Industrial music, specifically the Chicago sound (a personal modern favorite of Wobble’s that sets him in with some of the Chicago folks he influenced is the criminally short-lived band The Damage Manual). Then there’s Keith Levine and Jim Walker, both of whom I know far less about but turn in fantastic performances on this record.

So why did I pick Public Image’s First Issue to usher in our weekend? Well, my friend John at work has been sort of haunted by the fourth track on the album of late, Annalisa, a little number about a girl whose parents thought their daughter was possessed, so they starved her to death. Definitely one of the better methods of exorcising your child of demons, that starving. Drives the little buggers right out, along with, you know, your child’s life!

But I digress…

Annalisa is a fantastic track, and apparently it’s been kind of following John around lately. This started, coincidentally, while he was on a trip to New York for the company we work for. John originally hails from NYC, though he’s not lived there in a couple decades. The city was his stomping ground back in the 70s and 80s, so he has a slew of stories that involve a lot of amazing bands, from eating tacos next to Talking Heads before one of their gigs, to sitting unbeknownst next to Tom Waits at a bar; the MC introduced Waits to the stage and John says, “The guy next to me finishes his beer, gets up and walks up to the mic.”

Awesome, right?

As you can see, John came of age with a lot of bands, PIL being one of them. He’s familiar with the original albums, but hadn’t heard this one in a while. He’s in NY on business a few weeks ago, walks into a bar and hears Annalisa and orders a beer, then just kind of sits there and savors the moment. A few days later, back in LA, he puts on a local left-of-the-dial radio station and what does he hear? Annalisa. A few days after that, he grabs his Walkman and an old, unmarked mix tape from a box of old, unmarked mix tapes, and yet again, Annalisa. John had been recounting these incidents to me over the last week or so, and then a few days ago I get in my car realize I have the first Public Image sitting right there, in a CD binder. I put it in, and not having heard the track myself in quite some time – and not being nearly as familiar with the album as John is – I’m reminded how damn awesome it is. Same with the entire record. So let’s sit back, together but separate, raise a beer to John and his tasteful haunting, and christen our weekend with Public Image, Ltd!

Tag Melissa!

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

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