Salvation from the darkness
Needing to believe
A prophet, one of many
Promises he can't keep
Words that make them fall in line
Fear the consequence
During this show they had a new drummer and it showed in this "rehearsal" performance, especially when they played "Public Image," the beat out of sync but the band members trying to make it work. They stop early into the song and the crowd expresses its displeasure: "Shut up, I told you it was a fucking rehearsal." "Oi, this drummer only joined us three days ago, a big round of applause for him right now, because he's game." Johnny then asks around whether anyone has a light after calling someone else a "wanker." Then there was a second false start. "We admit our mistakes and we know we got many." At the end Johnny introduces the band members. "On drums, on drums we have Richard Dudanski!"
Richrad was one of many early drummers, who played with PiL mid-1979. He left soon after the Leeds show disillusioned with PiL's working ethos. Even going to the extent of sending a letter to the editor of 'NME' to explain his actions. PiL simply blamed his departure on his inability to keep time; due to nerves live on stage. Levene also claimed he became increasingly difficult to deal with due to an amphetamine habit; a claim which Dudanski venomously denies: "I never had, and was never near to having, an amphetamine habit! (which doesn't mean to say that I've never taken the stuff). People can say what they like about why "I left/was thrown out" of PIL, ie not being able to keep time, but it is a bit ironic having the drugs bit thrown at me, when in fact the effects of a much more insidious drug on another member were in fact from my point of view the main reason for the band's stagnation at that point, and the reason for my leaving"...
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He's following all the rules
Does not stop the pain
By this date while in Oregon I was wrapping up the summer field mapping season, probably back in Eugene preparing to resume another semester at the university.
A fan writes of a March 1979 show they did in Logan, Utah:
"I have never stood on the tarmac behind a 747 when it takes off, but it can’t be unlike the experience of seeing Van Halen open a concert. The sheer power of “Light Up the Sky” erupting from the amplifiers as Van Halen took the stage was an experience to behold. What a complete rush! It was a show unlike anything I had ever seen prior to that. There was the technical wizardry of Eddie Van Halen on guitar, offset by the exaggerated macho posing, high-pitched wails and animated song intros of frontman David Lee Roth. There was action all over the stage, augmented by Michael Anthony pounding on his bass and Alex Van Halen
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"In his teens the singer, Ian “Mac” McCulloch, was a lanky, short-sighted Bowie-worshipper, already a pop star in his own mind. Will Sergeant, the brooding guitar boffin, and Les Pattinson, the amiable bass-player who built boats for a living, had been at school together."
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In this Ian recording sounds really young and in need of additional practice, his voice still trying to find that smoothness that that characterized his later performances. Even back then he was directing technicians from the stage: "Ollie, this mike stand isn't any good." "Harry, less echo on the vocals, and more drum machine."
Buy this time during the summer of 1979 I had covered a lot of ground in the Cascades, have a pretty good idea what was going on geologically: successive episodes of volcanism, commencing 15 million years ago and ending in the fresh lava that flowed down to the shores of the swift flowing McKenzie River, the earth's crust cracking and settling as magma chambers deep below inflated the mountain range.
"If I had a flair for understatement, I could say that Joy Division were good too. The truth is they were phenomenal - the most physical hard rock group I've seen since Gang Of Four. This Manchester band have been allowed to grow at their own pace, uncramped by commercial pressures. The result is that they've created a totally distinctive, cohesive sound over the last two years...They have the spirit and the feeling." - Adrian Thrills, NME review 11th August 1979.
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"After the Sex Pistols exploded, Johnny Rotten reclaimed his real name — John Lydon — and started his bold new band. PIL played eerie, futuristic art punk with dub bass and slashing guitar. The U.K. release Metal Box (retitled Second Edition in the U.S.) originally came as three vinyl discs in a metal film canister."
Julian Cope writes:
This sprawling and austere album is worth noting in its original release as it is probably one of the most sonically soaring albums of the seventies. All titles are brevity itself as the numbers are free-form musical expressions pushed through an extreme dub production. Released as a three 12 inch single set in a metal film can completely anonymous save an embossed PIL logo, the cutting of the grooves themselves were so widely separated from each other that they’re visible to the naked eye. This encourages the tracks to boom out in analogue warmth and fullness; deemed necessary by bassist Jah Wobble’s domineering and lush contributions in the low end department (For further evidence of 12” sonic booming, check out The Cramps’ “The Crusher” or Joy Division’s “Novelty.”) It’s a pity this version of the later released “Second Edition” can get pretty cost prohibitive. But for most, the quickest admission into this huge, avant rock structure is “Second Edition.”
“Metal Box” is hard, abrasive, rhythm-dominated and sonically all-there. The opening cut “Albatross” sees Lydon more quietly venomous than before. The oblique lyrics leave no clues, but he’s obviously cut all ties with his past and has moved on, if a bit wearily. “Slow motion…” are the first sung lines, and “Albatross” is just that: a sedate dub groove that sets the tone, hanging every splintery Keith Levene riff, drum and cymbal crash on Jah Wobble’s lumbering and relaxed bass lines are powerful enough to shoulder the whole track for its ten minute duration. “Memories” is all Leslie-f(r)ied guitar, magnetic pull dub bass and tinny hi-hat compressed into a metallic Joe Meek-out. Volume and tempo shift abruptly when a purposefully nasty editing job cues into Lydon’s sung “I could be wrong/It could be hate/As far as I can see/Clinging desperately” lines, The Sex Pistols an already an ever-distancing bad dream. “Swanlake” is about as unflinchingly terrifying a track as P.I.L. ever recorded: a tribute from a son to his recently departed mother. The tempo builds into a bonfire of scrap metal guitar, hi-hatted rhythms with a coursing, zooming bass line and insanely catchy Wobble bass hook to hang the whole thing on. Levene’s glacial synthesizer appear on the horizon, and by the ending everything else is starting to fade like the wilted flowers by the hospital bedside while the synth lines jut further and further out, getting louder and louder until you realise it’s a locked groove (On “Second Edition” it cuts off brutally, but here on the massively cut 12”) repeating forever after.
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Lydon himself verges on the unrecognizable. While he sometimes wanders into the same nasally, Pistols-era vocals, his voice generally remains in a substantially lower register. In exploring the lower regions of his range, Lydon never lets go of the anger that made the Pistols so electric. While other post-punkers would sometimes sound so depressing they were maudlin, Lydon keeps the vitriol flowing all throughout Metal Box. Lydon also evolved as a lyricist. No longer content to rely on his No Future mantra of yore, he expands his lyrical repertoire, touching on themes of his mother's death, murder and the corporate grind. Metal Box is an avenue for Lydon to unleash his inner audiophile out.
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