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The Outer Limits: How prog is Jah Wobble?

He may be best known for his post-punk days as the bassist in Public Image Ltd, but he’s also worked with Jaki Liebezeit, Steve Hillage and Brian Eno, and is a big prog fan himself...

The lead-off single for Jah Wobble’s new album is a distinct echo from the past. First issued in 1978, Public Image was the debut 45 from PiL, the post-punk outfit formed by John Lydon in the wake of the Sex Pistols’ demise. Over its abrasive three minutes, Lydon poured scorn on his former colleagues over Keith Levene’s guitar and a classic rumbling bassline from Wobble.

Nearly 40 years on, Wobble and long‑time band The Invaders Of The Heart have given Public Image a dub‑jazz makeover that shifts the song into a whole other spacey dimension.

“I never would’ve thought of doing the old PiL numbers a few years ago,” Wobble says. “I always thought they were sacrosanct or that you couldn’t do them justice. But when it was suggested that we do this one, I said I’d give it a go. And we ended up doing a sophisticated minor key version. I love it. It sounds just as fresh as the original, but in another way.”

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