Former PiL drummer Martin Atkins brought his live tour of PiL memories and stories to the UK once again, but on this occasion  sadly in the wake of the recent loss of his former bandmate, Keith Levene, whom he based part of his talk on.

Atkins began speaking about Levene and focussed more on their relationship throughout, looking at slides of photos from the band’s tours from the ‘Riot at The Ritz’ in New York and his own time playing with PiL in Paris, at a John Peel session and over the course of the 1980 US tour, including the band’s infamous appearance on American Bandstand in front of 18 million viewers.

He talked about his audition at the invitation of Levene at Townhouse studios, playing with Jah Wobble and suddenly having his audition of  ‘Bad Baby’ recorded, which was later released on PiL’s second studio album, ‘Metal Box’. He recreated the audition on drums with his fellow PiL and Brian Brain bandmate, bass player Pete Jones, performing samples of ‘Poptones’, ‘Careering’ and ‘Public Image’.

Atkins also covered problems in the band such as the show at The Palladium in New York where they only played a 20-minute set and tumultuous relationships between members which eventually led to him being fired by Levene. He later rejoined the band for their 1981 ‘Flowers Of Romance’ studio album, demonstrating the album’s unique sound with a drum sample played against the rhythms of a Disney Mickey Mouse watch he had bought on tour.

He finished reflecting on his last conversation with Levene, and his regrets about not asking him to jam with him and Jones recently, pausing to process his emotions.

16/11/22: Martin Atkins @ Dublin Castle, London.

Photos (Pete Jones and bass) © Ayisha Khan.

All other photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.