Story: Jack Foley
LOVE them or loathe them, but few groups have ever matched Killing
Joke for sheer rock 'n' roll intensity.
Formed in London, in 1978, by Jaz Coleman, Geordie, Youth and
Paul Ferguson, they lit up the post punk music scene in the UK,
thanks to a rhythmic fury, inflammatory imagery and borderline
psychotic stage performances.
And now they have returned with their first album in over 20
years, the self-titled Killing Joke.
Recorded in London and LA, with the hepl of producer, Andy Gill
(Gang Of Four, Red Hot Chilli Peppers), Killing Joke (released
on Zuma Recordings) sees the band resorting to formula.
Featuring an original line-up, as well as long-term fan Dave
Grohl (Foo Fighters/ Nirvana) on drums, the album is described
in the publicity as 'the pulverizing hard rock classic Killing
Joke always threatened to make'.
From the rolling thunder of the opening The Death And Resurrection
Show, to the jackhammer blitzkrieg of Seeing Red and
the closing fury of The House That Pain Built it marks
a band returning to the apocalyptic roots they became known for.
As its publicity, once more states: "In a world gone (newly)
crazy once more, 'Killing Joke' is the perfect soundtrack."
The fury of Killing Joke remains a million miles away from some
of the band member's current projects, however.
For instance, in recent years, bassist, Youth, has launched dance
label Dragonfly and become uber-producer for everyone from the
Verve to Marilyn Manson.
Jaz, meanwhile, has charted a more esoteric course. Having returned
to college to study musical composition in both Leipzig and Egypt,
in 1987, he became the first Western student ever to study oriental
music at an Arabic Conservatoire.
As a result of these studies, in 1989 his Symphony' No.1
was reviewed by eminent classical composer, Klaus Tennstedt, who
referred to Coleman as nothing short of 'our new Mahler'.
Coleman is currently director of Prague Symphony Orchestra, spending
six months a year living there and working there.
"...Living where I do, on a Polynesian island, means I live
a very isolated life, he explains.
Theres a small chapel on the island where I live
and most nights I sit there until three oclock in the morning
learning my piano compositions. But it as also allows me to recharge
"We're going to play a 140 shows around the world on this
tour.." Jaz continued, "..and every single one will
be a life changing experience for whoever is there.
"Its a ritual, a religious ceremony. It will be as
intense as its ever been. I cant wait to feel the
hackles rising that old shiver down the back. When we play live,
there's nothing on earth to touch it.."
Fans will be missing them at their peril. Everyone else should
just run for cover.