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"I'm no dope-smoking, vegan, PC leftie": the confessions of Jah Wobble

Former PiL bassist Jah Wobble on regrets, working on the Tube and living the life of a geezer

Having helped to define post-punk alongside John Lydon in Public Image Ltd, Jah Wobble (aka John Joseph Wardle) embarked upon a portfolio solo career of astonishing breadth and genre-diversity. As well as collaborating with Can, Eno, Bjork, Ginger Baker, Pharoah Sanders, Primal Scream, The Orb and countless others, he has led his Invaders Of The Heart since 1982 (apart from an alcohol-induced mid-80s ‘wobble’ that saw him take a long-term day job with London Underground) and authored the exceptional autobiography Memoirs Of A Geezer.

Do you believe in God?

I did once, but my idea of God changed to a more pantheistic and interactive God. In the end I became a Buddhist.

What’s the biggest misconception about you?

People think I’m a dope-smoking, vegan, PC leftie, but I’m not. I’m left, but not a multiculturalist. I’m in a mixed marriage and like diversity, so I’m a pluralist. Mine is the urban cosmopolitan scene, but I don’t think you should promote difference.

What’s your greatest regret?

Getting divorced. Not that I wish I was still with my first wife, but I consider that to be my biggest failure. I’m very happily married and have been for a long time, but I regret not being a bigger, nicer person years ago.

Who’s the most inspiring musician you’ve ever worked with?

Bill Laswell is a really great producer – he knows how to set a scene for you to work in. Youth’s really good at that too. Natacha Atlas, Bernie Worrell, Evan Parker, Pharoah Sanders… There are so many.

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