So-called “Lost 4th PiL album” drops on November 23 – 35 years to the day when PiL’s “Metal Box” was released.
Keith Levene was a founding member/shareholder of Public Image, Ltd. or “PiL” which organized operations as a bona fide limited liability company in 1978. Over the course of the next five years, Levene was the company’s musical composer and guitarist – amongst other corporate titles held by him. During his tenure, PiL released the highly regarded albums First Issue, Metal Box and Flowers of Romance.
However, creative differences over the fourth PiL release Commercial Zone resulted in Levene’s resignation from the organization in 1983 just as PiL – considered by many to be the first post-punk band – was about to embark on a tour of Japan that Levene helped to arrange. Co-founder John Lydon (you may have heard of his previous band..) has systematically tried to write Levene out of the band’s history.)
Fast forward to 30 years later and thanks to a successful Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign that reached almost 200% of its target, Levene has now finished what he started in his early 20s at Park South Studios in Manhattan as a project of completely new music. This time the location is Faust Studios in Prague. His way includes unique hand-painted and numbered cover art designed by Levene himself to accompany the CDs that Indiegogo project backers who selected this perk will get.
“I cannot tell you what came first: the music or the art; the visual or the sounds because they emerged together,” says Levene. “I sat at my desk in the white room at Faust Studios with my guitar in my lap and a paint brush in my hand surrounded by all these bright colors that seemed to bring the music to life. I painted as I composed. As I played guitar these abstract vibrant inky images popped into my head and I painted them. So the music and art took shape at basically the same time.
“One of the best known tunes from the Commercial Zone 1983-1984 project is called ‘the Slab.’ It was about this huge slab of black concrete which a well-known graffiti artist painted on. I guess you could say art in the early ‘80s in Manhattan inspired me to write my music. Same is true today – only it’s my own art now.”
More info: Levene’s website www.teenageguitarist76.