John Lydon, as simultaneously annoying and entertaining as he can be, is not one to play by the rules. The fact that he has flogged the dead horse that is the Sex Pistols’ legacy for cheap, cash-cow reunions on numerous occasions is unsurprising to anyone who has even tangentially followed his career path. The Sex Pistols is/was/will always be the caricature of punk’s genesis- the name that everyone recognizes but whose music far fewer actually know. Lydon’s other claim to fame, Public Image Limited, has always served as Lydon’s true(er) artistic statement. At least it did in the beginning. Although, it, too, would succumb to artistic compromise in the face of dollar signs. The ever-shifting line-up was only a peripheral problem, as Lydon lost focus early on. The fact that he’s reuniting PiL is just another shrugging matter of course. The fact that he’s reuniting PiL without the people who made it great is another problem altogether. The Guardian argues that PiL’s “sonic sorcery” won’t work without Jah Wobble and Keith Levene in the mix, and, despite a soft spot for a few post-Wobble/Levene albums, I have to agree.
If you take issue with this line of thinking, perhaps you should compare and contrast the following:
PiL (featuring with Wobble and Levene) performing “Death Disco” on Tops of the Pops in December of 1979
PiL (as the “college rock” incarnation) in the video for “Cruel” off the godawful That What Is Not album from 1992