These stories of mine first appeared on my website back in the day when I had a website. Due to apathy, and a lack of interest in anything I let the website fall into disrepair to be honest, the technology was moving on at such a pace I couldn’t keep up. I mean, a bit of HTML I could cope with, but beyond that it was a mystery. I couldn’t afford to pay someone to do it for me and in the end, who gave a fuck who Pete Jones was?
What did seem to be popular on my old site were the “Johnny Tales” which were my little anecdotes from back in the day of my involvement with Public Image Limited, the events leading up to my playing for the band, and my eventual exit.
So, I have decided to resurrect the stories, rewritten for the modern age (coz the originals are lost on a floppy disc somewhere). So here it is, the complete account of my involvement with one of the World’s most iconic bands.
JOHNNY TALES #1
I first met Mr Lydon at The Manor studios in Oxford whilst the Infamous Public Image Limited were recording their much acclaimed album, Flowers of Romance. However, whilst I was there, very little progress had been made on the recording front, with the band having been ensconced within the four enclosed walls for some considerable time without contributing much in terms of output.
At that point, I had known Martin Atkins for some time; we had played previously in a local Watford band called “The Hots”, Martin had joined the band after he answered our ad in Melody Maker and we had played the London club circuit for a while. He left that band once he got the opportunity to join PiL, again, after answering an advert in Melody Maker. He then went off to tour the USA with PiL in 1980. Shortly thereafter, I joined Cowboys International for a European tour for a few weeks and upon my return we met up, and Martin invited me to join him at The Manor one aftennoon.
The Manor was Virgin Records’ studio of choice for rostered bands like PIL; the studio was well equipped and the facilities for the bands were sumptuous. The kitchen was well staffed, it had a nice snooker table and the lounge areas we’re well appointed.
I had a listen to what had been recorded so far, and I was underwhelmed by what I heard. The best track I was given privy too was a Beatles cover version of Twist and Shout which had Johnny singing over the original Beatles backing… It was shit.
There were other bare bones recordings that ended up becoming the finished album but it was hard listening, all bits if ideas without any cohesion. I formed a view that it needed a swift kick up the pants to get something good enough for an album and it was Martin who gave it just that by putting down some some slamming drums for “Four Enclosed Walls’ and “Banging the Door”. I believe that that if Martin Hadn’t got involved at that point, the album wouldn’t have even been finished.
As it was, the band were lounging around doing fuck all when I arrived and I was introduced to John by Martin in the lounge area. “Alright John?” I said. “Yeah” said he, then, coughed up a large clump of phlegm, from the back of his throat and deposited it at my feet in the middle of a sumptuous Persian rug that adorned the lounge. After a short pause, I gave him that “What are you? Some sort of cunt” look then got up and walked out. I’m not sure if I was supposed to be impressed or intimidated……… I was neither, and it pretty much summed up in that one moment, all that Johnny was about and I saw through it all, for he was rotten, well and truly Rotten.