Jah Wobble  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Jah Wobble (born John Wardle, in Stepney in 1958) is an English bass guitarist, singer, poet and composer. He became known to a wider audience as the original bass player in Public Image Ltd (PiL) in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but left the band after two years. Following his departure from PiL, he went on to a successful solo career, continuing to the present. His daughter is actress Hayley Angel Wardle, and he is married to renowned harpist Zi Lan Liao.

Early post-PiL years

Soon after leaving PiL, Wobble started his solo career by forming The Human Condition with guitarist Dave "Animal" Maltby and PiL's original drummer, Jim Walker. The Human Condition toured the UK, Europe, and USA in 1981, and made two cassette-only releases of their live shows (Live at the Collegiate Theatre and Live in Europe). The post-PiL years saw Wobble also collaborating with Can members Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit on Czukay's solo projects (notably On the Way to the Peak of Normal and Rome Remains Rome) and Full Circle (released in 1984).

In 1983, Wobble formed the Invaders of the Heart, a group with a fluid line-up that included many notable musicians, including acclaimed pedal steel guitarist B.J. Cole and percussionist Neville Murray. Wardle also appeared on the LP Snake Charmer billed as a co-leader alongside guitarist The Edge of U2, Czukay, Liebezeit, and producer François Kevorkian.

However, his critical stance towards the commercialization of the music industry, compounded by heavy drinking, led to his abandoning music for a short period in the mid-eighties. He then worked a variety of straight jobs, whilst continuing to perform and record his music in what spare time he had. These jobs included a long stretch with the London Underground. In an oft-quoted tale it is related that he once, at Tower Hill Underground Station via the public address system, humorously regaled commuters with the deadpan announcement, "I used to be somebody. I repeat, I used to be somebody."

By 1986, Wobble was clean and sober, and due to the repeated prompting of his friend and former bandmate, percussionist Neville Murray, Wobble returned to music professionally. Armed with a live recording of a concert he had made with a new line up of musicians during a European tour in 1988, Wobble travelled to New York City's New Music Seminar in 1989 to get back into the music business. After encountering some initial derogation hinting at the darker sides of his past, Wobble was able to secure an eleventh-hour record deal with a small European record label. The live album, "Without Judgement", recorded in Holland was released in late 1989 and successfully revived Wobble's career, once again earning him respect and following from audiences and peers.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Jah Wobble" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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