Teenage friend of Sex Pistols’ John Lydon and Sid Vicious, John Wardle first came to public attention in Lydon’s post-Pistols project PiL. It was here that he gained his stage name, Jah Wobble, apparently from his ‘wobbly’ dub-influenced basslines. Since leaving PiL, Wobble has developed a reputation as one of the world’s most open-minded and radical musicians, collaborating with artists from differing cultures across the globe.
Wobble is involved in two projects here in Liverpool for 2008. The biggest, in collaboration with the city’s Chinese Pagoda Youth Orchestra, which is Europe’s oldest and largest, is Chinese Dub – a mixing of sounds that is intended to mimic the integration of the cultures in Liverpool. A live world premier of their work will happen in the city this summer, as Wobble explains, his thick London accent undiminished by his world travels:
“We’re bringing a load of musicians over from China, and we’re doing a gig at the Carling Academy on the 5th of July. And we’ve already got all the recorded music up online, which was the first part of the project.”
In addition to Chinese Dub, Wobble will be performing live in the city tomorrow, at the first show of innovative Liverpool music collective Hive’s four-part 2008 programme, ‘Twilight City’. This first event will feature a visual mix of the city’s industrial heritage to a soundtrack provided by a variety of legendary leftfield musicians including dubstep pioneer Shackleton, local krautrock-heads Kling Klang and Wobble himself.
He explains the origins of his involvement with Hive: “It was Gordon Ross at 08 who got the three kinds of music people together, me, the Hive Collective and Hannah Peel. I said to the Hive boys that I would probably like a more left-of-field event and I suggested Jaki, [Liebezeit, radical percussionist known for his work with Can] who’s an old sparing partner of mine, and Phillip Jeck, who I’ve also played with in the past.”
Visitors to the Static Gallery show can expect a totally improvised performance from the trio. “We’ll just go on stage and play,” says Wobble. “I don’t ever call it jamming, that always reminds me of kind of hippish stuff. All we do is plug into the vibe that’s already going on, which I admit probably sounds like an awfully hippyish thing to say. I don’t ever remember playing a worked out part with Jaki, studio or live.”
In his career, Wobble has worked with everyone from Björk and Brian Eno to Babaa Mal and B.J. Cole, but his next project might see a return to his London roots:
“I’m having a chat with Carl from Madness tomorrow, so you never know. Watch this space.”
Collaborations with nutty boys may be in the pipeline for Jah, but tomorrow and on July the 5th you’ll have the opportunity to come and see something that the Culture Company did right.
By Kenn Taylor
Twilight City Show 1/4 ‘Industry Versioned’,
Static Gallery & LEAF Warehouse,
£8 adv (£10.00 on door)