About Public Image Ltd.
Their original moniker "Carnivorous Buttock Flies" didn't quite make the final cut, but like everything else PiL did, it emphasized their antisocial qualities. Leader Johnny Rotten changed his name to John Lydon when he left the Sex Pistols and formed PiL, symbolically severing himself from his Punk roots with a band that cut through styles like a rusty saw. Jah Wobble's thick Dub basslines held down the bottom for onetime Clash-er Keith Levine's scathing guitar experiments. PiL's early albums, e.g. Metal Box, came in packaging as unique as their sounds, with Lydon's haunting nasal melodies leading the noisy futurism. Later incarnations turned into Bill Laswell produced musical co-ops -- with eclectic guests that included musicians Steve Vai, Ginger Baker, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Tony Williams -- and poppy New Wave that occasionally fell to the levels of the B-52's on a bad day. At their best, PiL broke boundaries and left a variety of deconstructed anti-rock classics.