One for Friday: John Lydon interviewed by WPRK

So I’m going to do something a little different today. Usually I reserve this Friday feature to share an MP3 from some bygone record that I treasured in my college radio days, with the occasionally foray into music that was released after I got my paper and I was free. But the college radio experience was about more than the actual records to me. It was also about making connections with the performers that I enjoyed so much. While I didn’t have the opportunity to do it all that often, I retain a tremendous affection for those instances when I slung the station Marantz unit over my shoulder and headed out to a show with the promise, not always fulfilled, that I’d be interviewing the artist sometime before or after their set. I still well remember sitting in the basement green room of Madison’s Barrymore Theatre fumbling through questions with Harriet Wheeler and David Gavurin of the Sundays of the Sundays while my station colleague sat mesmerized by the former’s eyes (David had nice eyes, too).

Those sorts of encounters are, at least for now, strictly part of my past, but I have friends who still have cause to have that precise experience, including the connection to college radio. Two of the most dedicate deejays from WPRK-FM, the Central Florida radio station that was one of my beloved left of the dial homes, recently found themselves in the presence of no less towering a figure in the worlds of punk rock and alternative music that John Lydon. Unsurprisingly, the resulting recording is marvelous, more of a smart, warm, freewheeling conversation than a rigid interview. They meet Lydon as knowledgable true believers. He responds in kind, opening up in a more genuine fashion than I’ve ever seen, heard, or read before. I’ve often found myself weary at what’s seemed like Lydon’s dogged maintenance of an abrasive persona, even when it’s nothing more than his own presumably unfiltered words. That quality is absent in this exchange. Instead, he comes across as witty, thoughtful, and simultaneously proud and humble as he surveys his own talent and accomplishments. Plainly put, I like Lydon more because of what I hear here. For that, I have my friends Maggie and Tony to thank.

(Disclaimer: This section is typically reserved for an admission that I know I’m flouting copyright law and an admittedly tortured justification for the infraction. Well, it’s tortured because of the rigors of the current law, especially as it pertains to digital distribution. It shouldn’t be. The concept of “fair use” has been unduly buffeted by the virulently greedy in recent years, but I’ve already covered that. In this instance, I believe the official copyright holders of the interview are probably my pals Maggie and Tony. I’m guessing they’re fine with me sharing it, but I’ll still out forth my regular promise to take it down if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request. In this instance, they’ll clearly be able to get ahold of me very easily if they so choose.)

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