Uncut Magazine, June 2003
Transcribed (and additional info) by Karsten Roekens
© 2003 Uncut
"I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD"
Interview by Simon Goddard
The man who first recruited Joe Strummer to The Clash and gave Sid Vicious both his haircut and his padlock chain, Keith Levene played a crucial part in the formative days of the London punk scene before founding Public Image Limited with John Lydon in 1978. After over a decade in the rock'n'roll wilderness, Levene is now back with a new EP and website under the banner of Murder Global.
"The thing about Joe Strummer,right," says Levene, "is that I fucking loved Joe when I was in The Clash. It was me who got him in the band. There's the real story and there's the printed story, but it doesn't matter. Do you want me to be perfectly honest with you? I couldn't care less if Joe's dead, and there's a reason for that. The last time I saw Joe in this rehearsal room in LA, I was really pleased to see him, to the point where I jumped on him and put my arms around him. When he pretended he didn't know who I was, even though all the other musicians there knew me and knew that we'd both been in The Clash together, it seemed insane. So I didn't have much to say to Joe after that. Obviously I'd rather he was alive, don't get me wrong, but I don't think of it like Bruce Lee dying or Elvis dying or anything like that. Sorry".
It's great to be remembered for PiL, of course. I mean if people say 'Keith Levene, yeah, Metal Box', then that's fucking cool - but what fucks me off is when that's all people wanna talk about. The main thing for me now is Murder Global. It's taken me a while to get my shit back together and, I'll be honest, I'm forty- fucking-five years old, man, and I don't even want to be doing this. I want to be a fucking film director. But the reason I'm doing this is because Murder Global is a fucking great band. The name means everything to me. Murder Global is what's happening in the world today and exactly what's happening with my music. It's not a negative statement, it's a positive observation. I really wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think it was worth it, okay?"
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