Killing Joke: The Weird, Wild Story of One of Rock's Most Revered, Uncompromising Cult Bands

Опубликовано09.11.2018 в 08:21АвторKajir

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Nirvana ripped them off. Nine Inch Nails remixed them. Inside industrial-metal pioneers Killing Joke. They fucking sucked, man. Their aggressive-sounding, hard-edged screeds have influenced countless trailblazing, and top-selling, artists including Metallica, Nirvana, and Nine Inch Nails.

Killing Joke. By Killing Joke. • 10 songs. Play on Spotify. 1. The Death.

But despite this, they've struggled through the years to get widespread attention, having come out of London's rough-and-tumble punk scene. When Revolver asks Coleman to recall the weird and wild adventures that got him and his bandmates to this point—including recording in an Egyptian pyramid and gigging with a fire-breathing cannibal—he minces no words.

Today, the area has served as the setting for the eponymous Hugh Grant romcom and is populated by what Coleman derisively refers to as "Hooray Henrys"—the sort of privileged upper-class society types Monty Python mercilessly parodied.

Everyone from Hendrix to some of the Stones to Pink Floyd would all go there to rehearse. At the time, if you were white, you were there only to get drugs. We were just poor.

Geordie came aboard next, followed by Youth, who'd answered an ad he'd seen in one of the weekly music magazines in the spring of ' He'd previously played in a few bands, including one with Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten's brother, but his bass skills didn't wow Killing Joke. While Coleman and Big Paul were plotting how to tell him he didn't get the gig, the bassist started a "one-note jam" with Geordie that caught the other guys' ears.

Its three tracks owe an equal debt to disco, the echoey form of reggae music known as dub, and the throbbing sounds of London's post-punk scene, which was spearheaded by bands like Wire, This Heat, and Johnny Rotten's post-Pistols group Public Image Ltd. It's a sound they would tighten up and make much harder in the coming years.

At that point, though, their focus was on touring and surviving. Living in and practicing in the gritty setting of Notting Hill influenced them greatly at that point, as it enabled them to meet all sorts of characters.

One such rogue was a man who went by the name Dave the Wizard; he had a tattooed face and lived on the top floor of the squat they were staying in. He invited Coleman and their roadie at the time, Alex Paterson who would go on to form the celebrated techno group The Orb , up to his apartment.

And he had this big magic circle painted on the floor with a seven-pointed star in it, and just skulls of dead animals. I don't know how the subject came up, but somehow we got on the subject of cannibalism. And then Dave said one of the best one-liners I've ever heard: As for what the Wizard had eaten, Coleman says, "It was an aborted fetus.

He hadn't killed anyone. He explained he was completely within the law. The line, "I look at the river, white foam flows down," was something the band had seen. It destroyed everything and there were all these dead fish everywhere," the singer recalls. Years later, when Metallica were getting back on their feet after the death of bassist Cliff Burton, they decided to record some cover songs to break in their new bassist, Jason Newsted. So guitarist Kirk Hammett started in on "The Wait," which the band knew from one of Burton's mixtapes.

They've gone and misconstrued the lyrics. Much more of a rock record than Turn to Red, the group jettisoned much of its dub influences for nasty riffs and Coleman's alternatingly open-throated and gravely vocals. Songs like the bass-heavy "Wardance" and the atmospheric opener "Requiem"—which Foo Fighters would later cover—have since become some of the band's most celebrated numbers.

But at the time of the album's release, Youth felt disappointed in it, he says. Unfortunately, he would feel disengaged from the production of 's darker, heavier, and more all-around rock-oriented Revelations, after he suffered an acid meltdown. I was very lucky to escape being institutionalized. My drug of choice at the time was amphetamines. We were never heavy drinkers.

Amphetamines gave us the edge and psychedelics gave us the cosmic side. I just kind of got into it too much and ended up melting down. I knew there was a part of me I hadn't found yet and it wasn't just expressed through Killing Joke.

It's a quest he'd embark on in the years to come, and the symphony he wrote while in Iceland would eventually be performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra a decade later. In the '90s, he arranged a number of Rolling Stones songs to be performed by the London Symphony Orchestra for a release called Symphonic Music of the Rolling Stones, which Youth produced, as well as similar albums with the music of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. While it was a life-changing trip for Coleman, the other Killing Joke members felt left behind.

We thought, OK, we'll audition different singers, but after a few weeks of rehearsal, Geordie disappeared to Iceland. And then me and Paul said, 'Maybe we should start a new group. I was quite angry. I felt betrayed, and to have the rest of the band follow suit?

I felt, Well, what loyalty? From that point up until the present, Youth has produced, engineered, and remixed works for a who's who of pop-culture names: U2, the Cult, the Verve, and Marilyn Manson, among others.

In , he formed a new band called the Fireman that writes "edgy and challenging" music with a Liverpudlian bloke named Paul McCartney. He describes that experience as "an absolute privilege," but even so, with these successes in his years away, he still kept an eye on his former band. When Youth declined his place in Killing Joke, they hired a like-minded spirit from England's Midlands named Paul Raven as their bassist. In July , they released Fire Dances, which marked somewhat of a departure, musically, as they emphasized the tribal percussive elements of Big Paul's drums, pushing Geordie's guitar back in the mix.

After that, though, the group made a departure from playing heavy music seemingly altogether. Their fifth album, 's Night Time, reflected much more of post-punk and even new-wave sensibility than their earlier albums, which was perfect for the time. The single, "Love Like Blood," with its shimmery guitar and Coleman's almost Robert Smith—like vocal delivery, became their biggest hit, and artists ranging from the Australian synthpop group Icehouse to the metal band Sybreed have covered it.

I felt like I had really missed out and made a big mistake by not being into the band. The group had written the song while living in Switzerland, and as soon as Geordie played the main riff, they knew they were onto something. The notes Kurt Cobain played are in mostly the same order and are almost the same pitch, just slowed down.

In the past decade, Nirvana's manager at the time, Danny Goldberg, has acknowledged the similarity between the songs. And he was right: Killing Joke later did complain about it. I'll summarize where we stand: Who would you rather be, us or Kurt Cobain?

Their follow-up, 's Brighter Than a Thousand Suns, seemed to fall in line with the Top 40 synth-pop of the time, albeit through Killing Joke's dark lens. Big Paul left, and Coleman, Geordie, and new members released the disappointing synth-heavy album, Outside the Gate, and a minute lecture about the occult—a favorite subject of Coleman's—set to Geordie's guitar and percussion, dubbed The Courtauld Talks.

Sometime after that, and after a decade of not speaking to one another, Coleman and Youth reconnected. Killing Joke, meanwhile, began work on a new album with Youth playing bass and co-producing. Making 's Pandemonium, proved to be its own adventure.

The origins of Killing Joke lie in the Matt Stagger Band. Paul Ferguson was drumming for the group when he met Jaz Coleman (vocals, keyboards) in the late .

Among the places they recorded parts of the album were New Zealand, London, and Cairo, which included a stop to record in the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid of Giza. We spoke to three Egyptologists and they introduced us to the Minister of Antiquities. On the first day, every time the band brought batteries into the King's Chamber, they died within 10 minutes and had to be recharged.

Their second day was luckier. I kind of recognized it, but Youth didn't and he goes, 'Hey Jaz, who are these three weird birds standing in the back? Our engineer Sam was falling asleep then he woke up and suddenly ran out screaming. When we left the pyramid, there must have been to tribesmen outside all chanting and playing drums. It was like a Hollywood set. The band was beginning to reach a critical mass, in terms of interest, and fan and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor even remixed the album's title track.

Despite these successes, all was not well within the fold. Everything in Killing Joke has to be an equal split. You can't underestimate the amount of sibling rivalry in so many years of being in a band together. Having been in the lurch with drummers, the band decided to lean on some of their famous fans for 's Killing Joke.

They even tracked four songs with System of a Down's John Dolmayan and had intended to record some with Tool's Danny Carey, but decided in the end that Grohl should do the whole album. The former Nirvana drummer allegedly refused to be paid for his work.

Which isn't to say that Killing Joke let him entirely off the hook for the "Come as Your Are" debacle. Dave doesn't have publishing on that song anyway. It came out great.

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In , they put out Hosannas From the Basement of Hell, which received rave reviews from the metal press.

But it proved to be a bittersweet entry in the band's catalog as it turned out to be Killing Joke's last with Raven. He would go on to record albums with Ministry and other bands, but on October 20, , he died of a heart attack. When pressed for a fond memory of Raven, Coleman doesn't bat an eye. Rather than make it simply a nostalgia trip, they wrote a couple of songs while on the tour.

Before long, they were planning on recording again. The album has a more serious gravitas to its sound because it's the times we live in. But so far, the only catastrophe that has befallen Killing Joke occurred in July when Coleman went on another one of his unannounced sojourns, as he had done when he offed to Iceland so many years ago. At the time, the group was working on a forthcoming collection of dub versions of its songs and planning a tour with the Cult and the Mission U.

Instead the band members took to Facebook and wrote, "We are all concerned about our missing singer's welfare.

Nirvana ripped them off.

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  1. 19.11.2018

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