Keith Levene revisits “Commercial Zone”

Keith LeveneForever associated with PiL and remembered by the faithful as a founder member of THE CLASH, Keith Levene is more than just a guitarist, although his six-string work is yet to be scrutinized for tone, twang and talent. His producer skills have won Keith such unlikely admirers as RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS and Ice T, but there’s always been a nagging feel on unfulfillingness in Levene’s psyche, with “Commercial Zone” the root of it. The follow-up to PiL’s “The Flowers Of Romance” was recorded in 1982-1983 but struck a discord in the band’s ranks and led to the guitarist’s exit. Five songs from that album John Lydon’s ensemble re-cut for “This Is What You Want… This Is What You Get” in 1984 while Levene put out the original tapes around the same time, although this release didn’t satisfy him, and now Keith decided to give it a proper treatment.

Hanging on to the vitality of original ideas, the veteran opted to completely re-record the album – called “Commercial Zone 2014” – and went for crowdfunding the project via Indiegogo campaign. The initiative has already reached more than 130% of its target thanks in no minor part to the $3,500.00 that Levene sold his signed guitar for – clearly a sign of the project importance! – and $510.00 brought by a signed copy of a May 1980 “NME” with Keith on the cover. It’s not a note-for-note copy of the classic material, says the artist, rather a new version of it enriched by the experience of the three decades which passed since it was concocted and laid down with a limited means of the day.

Among the perks for the pledgers are many interesting items including copies of Levene’s forthcoming book “I Was A Teenage Guitarist For The Clash,” another per project of Keith’s. The campaign’s well afoot and ends on May 22nd, so it’s quite a time to make a move.

May 5, 2014

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