“We’d fulfilled a certain potential with Flowers,” Public Image Ltd. co-founder Keith Levene once told Louder Than War, referring to the band’s skeletal skin-crawler The Flowers of Romance. “Now, we needed a cross-over. PiL needed to do something to expand into an abstract area, which I called the Commercial Zone. It was now or never. This was it. The fourth album had to deliver, but in a different and better way than the first three did.”
That never quite happened, of course. Instead of sticking around for the This is What You Want… This is What You Get sessions John Lydon eventually held with hired guns, Levene quit PiL and released his own version of the group’s in-progress LP as Commercial Zone without their consent. A cease and desist letter from Virgin Records soon followed, but not before U.S. shops and some European importers got their hands on the album.
Now, 30 years later, Levene is looking to fund what he feels is the definitive version of PiL’s fourth record. “I want to do the project embracing the original and proper PiL ethos,” the guitarist explains in his Indiegogo campaign for the project. “For me it’s unfinished business, a job that has to be done and I’m the one to do it. Not so much set the record straight but get the right record out the right way.”
To do that, Levene (a.k.a. a co-founder of the Clash and Sid Vicious’s pre-Sex Pistols band The Flowers of Romance) has set his goal at $12,500 and offered such perks as social media shout outs, a signed and numbered CD, T-shirts, an E-book about the Clash’s earliest shows, producer credits, and his actual Les Paul guitar, which is available for just $3,500. Considering he’s about three-quarters of the way there with a little less than a month to go, it looks like the full-length will get funded after all. Whether the rest of PiL tries to shut it down remains to be seen. (Levene made up with fellow PiL founder Jah Wobble in 2010 and has worked with him in the interim, but he still doesn’t speak to Lydon.)
Here’s Levene’s campaign video and a classic PiL interview in the meantime…