Legend has it that Jah Wobble was christened by old college buddy Sid Vicious, who blurted out an exaggerated mispronounciation of his given name, John Wardle, after a long night of debauchery. "The Jah suited me because I loved reggae so much," Wobble reflects. "I remember thinking, 'I'm going to keep that because people will remember it.'” It was also Vicious who gave Wobble his first bass guitar, sending him off on a career that would take him from the infancy of punk rock to the haven of “zen dub” that he resides in today.
On his newest album, Mu (in stores January 24th), Wobble draws from the politicized British reggae scene of the late 1960s and the punk alienation that followed, resulting in an eclectic, heady and multilayered style of music that only he can lay claim to.
After the end of the Sex Pistols, Johnny Lydon asked Wobble to join him in PiL (Public Image Ltd), the startling post-punk/reggae/avant-pop outfit. When he left the group rather acrimoniously a few years later, Wobble retreated into an artistic rabbit hole, releasing an album entirely dedicated to poet William Blake and later collaborating with Brian Eno, Bill Laswell, Bjork, U2’s The Edge, Sinead O’Connor, Primal Scream, The Orb and Holger Czukay. Realizing that art didn’t pay the bills, Wobble took a job working in the London Underground subway system for several years, once shouting over a station PA system, “I’m Jah Wobble and I used to be somebody.” In 1990, he hit the international charts with the psychedelic, dub-inspired trance “Bomba,” and promptly quit his day job.
On Mu, Wobble reteams with PiL cohort Mark Lusardi, resulting in a “lush, accessible record” (The Independent, UK). Britain’s Uncut magazine gave the album four stars, declaring “Mu reasserts Wobble’s status as a musical visionary and cosmic ambassador.” With cheeky humor, the pair rework the theme to television’s Kojak (in a nod to Isaac Hayes) and “at times, the album sounds like the soundtrack to an intergalactic kung-fu movie” (The Independent, UK).
Jah Wobble will embark on a rare North American tour next year. Click here for dates.