Sunday, 8 March 2015
An interview with Jah Wobble
Jah Wobble was the original bass player in the band, Public Image Limited (PIL), which was formed by former Sex-pistols singer John Lydon (Rotten). Jah was 17 when he joined the band having never been in a band before. He came from a tough and at times violent East London background. When he was young, he developed a taste for short wave radio oscillations, they put him into a state of trance and he could sleep better. In Jah's words, the wave radio oscillations 'felt like listening to infinity.’
From an early age, he had a strong spiritual bent having discovered the Upanishads and was captivated by ancient teachings. As a result, music, especially the bass guitar and his spiritual life became indelibly intertwined.
‘When you truly accept the bass as an emanation of God, as the ground of existence, you make a friend of impermanence, a state of flux, therefore the fear of losing what you have diminishes…you truly ride the rhythm – you will reside in the residence of ‘OM’, you can ride the sonic boom to heaven.
My bass playing relies first and foremost on intuition – it is necessary to remain innocent – intuition is directed from the solar plexus – the knowing sun in the guts.’
After years on the road with bands, he became an alcoholic ‘Whenever I drank, all the fear disappeared and the tension left my body’ but he couldn’t go on like that and became completely burnt out. His Marriage broke up and he was left with a crushing sense of failure.
After joining AA and finding a real depth in his spiritual path life, he remembers:
‘I found I was grateful for every drink and drug I had taken because it was because of them I now had a beautiful and stable life which in turn led to a great productivity. I felt really alive and sensitized, I had simply grasped what it is to be human.
Everything in life was sort of emptying out and becoming simpler. I was now at the stage of developing a meditative mind. There came a point where there was no difference between making music and spirituality – the world might have been getting crazier but I was getting better.’
Iain McNay's complete interview with Jah Wobble is now available through the link here.