Jah Wobble: Post-punk’s steady pulse

Jah Wobble was there at one of the most important forks in the road for music – answering a call from his old mate John Lydon to start a band after the sordid implosion of the Sex Pistols in 1978.

The bassist shared with Lydon a love of dub, reggae, krautrock and other left-field artists outside the radar of regular scene punks. Along with Keith Levene and Jim Walker they formed Public Image Ltd, with the band’s second album Metal Box still revered as one of the defining records of a generation.

Jah Wobble (a Sid Vicious bastardised drunken version of his real name John Wardle) is the dubby dread-filled dark heart of the album, with his murky sub-basslines underpinning Lydon’s howl and Levene’s atonal shredding.

Leaving PiL after two albums, Wobble has kept forging a dub path through the decades — even reuniting with Levene for Metal Box in Dub shows. His freewheeling releases and live shows also grab from jazz, prog and long-form improv techno, reggae covers, movie themes, with that chundering bass steering the ship.

  • Jah Wobble plays the Grand Social in Dublin tomorrow (Friday)