That What Is Not

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That What Is Not
Studio album by Public Image Ltd
Released10 February 1992 (USA)[1]
24 February 1992 (UK)
StudioEldorado Studios, Los Angeles, United States
GenreAlternative rock
ProducerDave Jerden
Public Image Ltd chronology
The Greatest Hits, So Far
That What Is Not
This is PiL
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2/5 stars[2]

That What Is Not was Public Image Ltd's eighth album, released in 1992. This was the band's final album before a 20-year hiatus, and the final recordings with longtime members Allan Dias (bass) and John McGeoch (lead guitar).

Track listing[edit]

1."Acid Drops"6:35
2."Luck's Up"4:07
6."Love Hope"3:48
8."Think Tank"4:40
10."Good Things"5:34



  • Tower of Power – horns on "Covered" and "Good Things"
  • Jimmie Wood – harmonica on "Covered", "Love Hope" and "Good Things"
  • Bonnie Sheridan – background vocals on "Good Things"

Track by track commentary by band members[edit]

"Acid Drops":

  • John Lydon (1992): “[The song is about] censorship – that particularly relates to America, because there's a lot of vested interest groups, like all these religious fanatics. They're saying the human body, and everything connected with it, is dirty – that's wrong. I don't believe in censorship of any kind.”[3] “Well, [using a Sex Pistols sample for the song] started off as a joke. The producer threw it in one night for a laugh. I didn't find it too funny at first! But now I think it's perfect for the song. Oh, why not? I can't take myself too seriously.”[4] “I'd recommend him to anyone – he's the best producer I've ever worked with. He's a rarity, in that he speaks his mind. He doesn't do things for fashionable reasons.”[3]

"Luck's Up":

  • John Lydon (1999): “'Luck's Up' is about the hopelessness of junkies and druggies.”[5]

"Think Tank":

  • John Lydon (1992/99): “'Think Tank' is me having a go back at all the people who all the time rewrite and misrepresent the events of my past, usually middle-class journalists who were never there at the time.”[5] “Yes, ['Think Tank' is about rewriting] my history, in particular. I know Jon very well – I just don't like the slant of his book[6] with that upper-class attitude of those who know everything, while us working-class bums know nothing.”[3]

Related tracks[edit]


  • John Lydon (1990/99): “A whole bunch of new stuff which will be recorded in January, February, March [1991] – that way, and I think in England. I couldn't tell you who the producer is at the moment, because me and my record company are squabbling! Yes, folks, I do love to drag my dirty laundry out in public!”[8] “'Criminal' was for the soundtrack for the movie Point Break.”[5]
  • Allan Dias (2004): “It was written specifically for the movie. I think initially it was one of John McGeoch's songs, or a sketch that he had, it was based on that. We went into the studio with a producer specifically to do that track, it was a one-off thing, it wasn't an outtake or anything. As I recall we were approached by someone from the movie, but I think we were in the middle of recording an album or something, possibly working on '9', and by the time we got the track done and put it to them it was too late to be considered for the title track. But they put it on there regardless.”[9]



  • “That What Is Not” briefly entered the UK albums chart, where it stayed for 2 weeks and reached No. 46 on 7 March 1992.[10]
  • The single “Cruel” briefly entered the UK Top 75, where it stayed for 2 weeks and reached No. 49 on 22 February 1992.[10]


  • “That What Is Not” did not enter the Billboard 200 album charts.[11]
  • The song “Covered” was released as a promo CD single and entered the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks charts, where it stayed for 9 weeks and reached No. 11 on 21 March 1992.[11]
  • The song “Acid Drops” was released as a promo CD single and entered the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks charts, where it stayed for 2 weeks and reached No. 29 on 9 May 1992.[11]


  1. ^ United States Copyright Office website
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ a b c Ralph Heibutzki: “15 Years Later Lydon's Still Howling” (South Haven Daily Tribune, 10 April 1992)
  4. ^ Ian Gittins: “Public Image Limited – Cruel As Fuck” (Melody Maker, 7 March 1992)
  5. ^ a b c John Lydon liner notes (Public Image Ltd.: “Plastic Box” compilation, Virgin Records, 1999)
  6. ^ Jon Savage: “England's Dreaming – Sex Pistols and Punk Rock” (Faber and Faber, 1991)
  7. ^ Various Artists: “Point Break – Music From The Motion Picture” (MCA Records, released 9 July 1991 / release date according to United States Copyright Office website)
  8. ^ Edwin Gould: “John Lydon Interview” (KROQ-FM radio station, Los Angeles, 6 November 1990)
  9. ^ Scott Murphy: “Allan Dias Interview” ( website, May 2004)
  10. ^ a b website
  11. ^ a b c website