JAH Wobble’s brutal bass was the spine of the pioneering sound of Public Image Limited’s celebrated album, Metal Box, a mighty collision of dub, funk and experimental punk spirit.

The original line-up included former Sex Pistols singer John Lydon, ex-Clash man Keith Levene and Lydon’s pal Wobble.

Their debut single, Public Image, driven by a mad guitar jangle and the sonic boom of Wobble’s bass guitar, was followed by the brooding, Death Disco, a giant slab of unremitting white noise

Now a new documentary, The Public Image is Rotten, casts an eagle eye over the tempestuous, ever-mutating career of Lydon and his ensemble.

“I’ve not seen it (the film) but looking back to the birth of Public Image Limited it was a brilliant incarnation, with that crazy, nihilistic sound,” said Wobble, who brings his band, Jah Wobble and the Invaders of the Heart to next week’s Rebellion Punk Festival at Blackpool.

“But I couldn’t think of two worse people to be in a band with, and I mean that in a nice way because I love them both and I bear neither of them any ill will.

“There’s always friction around John, that’s just the way he is, and doing business with him was painful.

“Singers are funny people, you know. A bit like actors, because they can be very disturbing characters.

“John called me up a few years ago and we went out for a curry in Fulham.

“It was a nice evening, and I got the impression that he was sizing me up, wanting me to re-join Public Image.

“But that was never going to happen because we had missed the boat with PIL.

“We had our window of opportunity but we let it slip through our fingers.”

Wobble added: “I was 18, I’d been living in a squat, ducking and diving and working on a building site when John asked me to join PIL.

“I probably only did 20 gigs, and when I left them in 1980 it sealed Metal Box off, made it a more totemic album I think because that was the original PIL.”

The Eighties, though, became an intensely bitter sweet time for Wobble as he forged a fresh musical path.

“There were great personal highs, and conversely, some awful drink and drug-fuelled lows,” he said.

“But I embarked on my own journey, becoming a band leader, a proper artist, and a happy human being and family man.”

These days having formed his own label, Wobble is free to play musical mad scientist without interference from what he calls management suits desperate to make his music marketable.

Wobble releases a new solo album next week – Dream World – part inspired by French film director Francois Truffaut, the sights and sounds of London, Brighton and Manchester, where he now lives, and an unexpected visit to Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.

“I had to go into hospital for a few tests and they gave me a bed for the day,” said Wobble.

“I got a bit bored, went outside and did 100 press-ups.

“The nurse who was looking after me wasn’t happy but a doctor who had seen me on the lawn said: ‘I like that’.

“The care was truly amazing and I wrote a couple of tracks for the album: Steroids and NHS Ward Tune sat in my bed.

“You’ve got to keep going haven’t you?

Rebellion Festival runs from Thursday, August 2 to Sunday, August 5. Jah Wobble Invaders of the Heart headline at the Opera House on Saturday, August 4. Other bands include Public Image Limited, Stiff Little Fingers, The Buzzcocks and UK Subs. Details from 02476 601678 or www.rebellionfestivals.com