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  KILLING BONO
By Pippa Lang
1st April 2011
pippa lang

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jaz coleman

To coincide with KILLING JOKE's gigs this week, PIPPA LANG recalls her radio interview with JAZ COLEMAN during the recording of 'Absolute Dissent'. Much ranting about Bono, England's lack of revolutionary backbone, and shape-shifting reptiles. David Icke, Tony Blair, Bono: watch your backs...

"I'd like to see Bono's head in a fuckin' basket!" Jaz roars malevolently at me, as if I'm ten and gonna run and hide behind the nearest safe object. But I'm not ten, so I smile as benignly as possible at the startling sight before me: Killing Joke's frontman.

Startling, because Jaz' infamous noir charisma isn't entirely contrived by onstage make-up, lights, quirks of performance and the like; these synthetics merely complement nature's design: the jet black hair and eyes, the hawklike nose, the fanatically intense set of features.

It is November 2009, and Killing Joke are hard at it in London's Britannia Row Studios recording that particularly poignant album, 'Absolute Dissent'. Poignant because it was, of course, the first in twenty years recorded with the original line-up: Jaz, Youth, Geordie Walker and Paul Ferguson.

So successful was the reunification (personally, that is, sod statistics) that now, in 2011, they're recording another album – and playing a smattering of UK gigs this very week as a prelude to world domination. It's no accident they're playing The Royal Festival Hall on Friday, April Fool's Day. The album's working title was 'Feast Of Fools' (from the old traditional Festival of Fools), the title of a track they later dropped.

So, back in 2009, Jaz is on full throttle. I've hardly said a word, but I am enjoying the slightly surreal notion that I'm supping tea with the Devil himself, whose voice is rising like a crescendo of thunder every couple of minutes the more outraged he becomes (is the sky darkening too? I wonder). About what, exactly, is he outraged? Well, everything it seems, starting with, indeed, Bono:

"Bono and his old boys' network – pah! - I know what he's creeping out to do, flying round the world in his big jet, did you know he's earned over one billion pounds tax-free?! This guy is not fit to even talk, and wearing those stupid fucking sunglasses all the time, he's a phoney, he's a fraud, I'd like to see him up in the dock with Tony Blair, for war crimes!"

Steady on old chap! What, exactly, got Jaz started on this political topic? Evidently something before he walked into the room (upstairs from the studio at Britannia Row) or, perhaps, nothing. Jaz just loves a good rant, that's all.

Which is great, because all I have to do is sit back and watch the drama unfold. Youth, thankfully, will be filling me in on more pertinent, album-orientated issues later, so I have no need to try and coerce any information out of Jaz. I sip my tea and let nature take its course:

"I would like to make it very very clear," Jaz continues, and I can hear the contempt in his voice. "Bono is no spokesman for our or any generation, he's a nasty little Irishman who drinks a thousand pound bottle of wine a day, quotes Ghandi and tells you to spend your money on charities while he upstages the G8 event at Gleneagles with that mate of his, that mick who wears a medal to parties!"

I spew tea all over my jeans at this point. Oh, how I'd love to see Jaz Coleman do stand-up!

He leans forward conspiratorially:

"These people are not spokesmen of any generation, they are morally inferior people. I invoke the revolutionaries of the French Revolution who set stringent limits on economic growth! Do you know I left this country because it has no history of revolution!"

I thought he left the country to go to Iceland and avoid the Apocalypse, but I don't mention that. Instead I grasp the passion play before me, press 'pause' and ask him a completely irrelevant question; "Do you ever watch yourself on video?"

"Never!" booms the God of Thunder (sorry, getting a bit carried away here). "I am repulsed by the sight of myself!" and I'm sure he must've slammed his fist down on the table at this point; or maybe I just imagined it.

I snigger, and then look at him quickly just to make sure I haven't pissed him off. Luckily, I detect the merest hint of a smile. The killing joke: irony.

Irony plays a major part in the irascible but compelling Jaz' dialogue. I may not be ten, but I find myself naively wondering, back in 2009, how to sieve out irony from conviction in his twenty-minute rant (which, believe me, he's only just started).

Jaz probably has an IQ that spins right off the proverbial radar, both in terms of intellect and his capacity to run rings round those he's in conversation with (let him loose on Question Time!)

He has a lot going on in his head, never mind Bono, war crimes, etc. Apart from his vocation as figurehead of murderous post-punk electro-industrialists KJ, my first impressions of whom will stay with me for life (the sight of one punk bottling another as soon as I arrived at a Hammersmith Palais gig), Jaz also composes operas, has commitments to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, is Composer-in-Residence for the New Zealand and Czech Symphony Orchestras, and does quantum physics lectures with his brother...

"We all, in Killing Joke, bring something unique to the table," he says, reminding me that they are, after all, a band.

"We crawled out of squats and educated ourselves. Paul is one of the greatest art curators, master of creating art. Youth is so many things: a great philospher, although I love him first and foremost as an artist. But he's also one of the greatest producers there is – hands-on experience in the industry. Youth is a great teacher, he can use anything to make music, he's fearless and shameless in his creativity."

Funnily enough, it is through education that this interview came about in the first place. Youth came to do a 'talk' at Kingston Uni, where I'm studying music, one thing led to another, and here I am in this extraordinary discourse with Jaz. Youth is even honorary professor at Kingston now:

"Generally speaking," says Jaz. "Unless you're going into law or medicine I fail to see the relevance of universities. All they wanna do is make money out of you. I'd take my kids out of school if they were at school now, they teach them rubbish. I teach at lectures all over the place and I haven't got a fuckin O-level to my name. It's a load of shite."

Interesting that both Jaz and Youth bucked the system when they were kids, but are both now educators themselves – but I guess that's Jaz' point. Imagine, lecturers like Youth and Jaz - who've actually experienced life - will make far more impact than your staid old cap-and-gown breed of bookworm, so this could be a case of Killing Joke revolutionising education! Ooh the thought.

Well, it's only been in recent years that 'popular music' (as opposed to 'classical music') has been accepted as a serious academic module. And now Youth is bringing his technical skills to Kingston Uni – a real breakthrough.

"I like to have a diverse homeopathic crop-rotation of different things to keep me fresh," Youth explains later in his endearingly somnambulant way, as if he's chewing on a (Camberwell?) carrot like Dylan the Rabbit in the Magic Roundabout. A marvellous way of describing a kaleidoscopic career as lecturer, producer, record label founder, poet, book writer and bassist.

But Jaz hasn't finished yet. While we're on the subject of academia, he decides it's time to mention his dear friend, researcher Sir Laurence Gardner, and the outrageous accusations aimed at him by one David Icke:

"There are a lot of misconceptions in this world. I've no time for conspiracy theories. One of my friends is Sir Laurence Gardner, who is a serious researcher. But there are a lotta conspiracy theorists who write off a lotta this serious research.

"The point is there're these new age conspiracy theorists, one of whom I shall name and shame: David Icke... First he said he was Jesus. Now he writes these new age books where he says the Queen of England is a shape-shifting reptilian!

"Essentially I'm a Republican and I don't have a lotta time for the Royal Family, but I respect the royals of this country, and I think these ideas are dangerous. I mean this guy can sell out six nights at Brixton Academy with the likes of Robbie Williams and Oasis all going along and listening to this guy who's saying that some people in the elite are shape-shifting reptilians.

"Reason I bring this up is that he's accused my dear friend Sir Laurence Gardner of being one, and a member of the Illuminati, which doesn't exist anymore. He reckons he sacrifices babies with the Illuminati in America. I've worked with Sir Laurence for fifteen years, he did my Libretti for my first opera at the Royal Opera House, and the guy is so stressed out by all this, he even took his passport to the police station to prove that he'd never been to America, let alone gone out there to sacrifice babies!

"The problem is most impressionable young people think Sir Laurence is a baby killer, a shape-shifting reptilian, and when I've talked to people about this and said "hang on, this guy is taking a lotta shit", you know what they say? "Ah, but we've seen you shape shift, Jaz", hahahahaha!... end of interview!"

And with that, he stands up, still laughing maniacally and pads down to the studio, swishing his scaly reptilian tail. Ooh what big teeth you have Jaz...

Pippa Lang


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mabel greers toyshop MABEL GREER'S TOYSHOP RELEASE NEW VIDEO FOOTAGE FOR 'ELECTRIC FUNERAL'
The band which grew into Yes have reunited and will release a new album in March...

paradise lost PARADISE LOST ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM TITLE AND RELEASE DATE
"We have written a very dark, yet melodic album, but this time many songs definitely have a death Metal edge, which is something we haven't done for a long long time ..."

ensiferum ENSIFERUM ADD MORE EUROPEAN TOUR DATES
We're really looking forward to the new Ensiferum album, 'One Man Army', here at MetalTalk...

airbourne AIRBOURNE SIGN WITH SPINEFARM RECORDS
"We're pumped up to have signed on the dotted line to the world's toughest and truest hard rock label..."

vader VADER BRING BLITZ! OVER EUROPE TOUR TO THE UK AND IRELAND IN MARCH
"We come together with our dudes from Hate. We can't wait to bring Hellfire to you soon..."

thy art is murder THY ART IS MURDER ANNOUNCE UK SHOWS SUPPORTING EMMURE
Tickets are on sale now for what promises to be the heaviest tour of the year...

horror holocaust CROSSOVER DEATH SUPERGROUP DENIAL FIEND RE-ISSUE 'HORROR HOLOCAUST' ON VINYL AND IN EUROPE FOR THE FIRST TIME
Ten tales of blood curdling horror that are anvil heavy thrashing death...

wacken EUROPE AND DREAM THEATER ANNOUNCED FOR WACKEN
The sold out legendary German festival announces more details of the mouth-watering bill...

camden rocks CAMDEN ROCKS 2015 ANNOUNCE THE FIRST ACTS
The bands include Trail of Dead, Funeral For a Friend, Heavens Basement, The Dictators, Black Spiders and more...

all that remains ALL THAT REMAINS LAUNCH #thisprobablywontendwell PICTURE COMPETITION
This unique competition marks the release of new studio album 'The Order Of Things' out on Feb 23rd...

titanfest TITANFEST ANNOUNCED FOR MAY IN LONDON - FIRST BANDS REVEALED
Titanfest now sees some of the most respected and time-hardened Metal musicians working side by side with the next generation of the emerging UK Metal scene...

joe lynn turner JOE LYNN TURNER ANNOUNCES UK AND NORTHERN IRELAND DATES THIS SPRING
Legendary rock and roll singer Joe Lynn Turner of Rainbow and Deep Purple fame is pleased to confirm details of his intimate acoustic 'An Evening With...' tour...

wildfire festival EXCLUSIVE: WILDFIRE FESTIVAL 2015 ANNOUNCES FIFTY BAND LINE-UP
Wildfire is known for bringing the best in Scottish talent to Wiston Lodge, and there is one name everyone at Wildfire HQ agreed should be on the bill...

kiss KISS GET ANIMATED IN COLLABORATION WITH J-POP IDOLS MOMOIRO CLOVER Z!
Just when you thought the Metal world had gone insane enough with Babymetal...

ronnie james dio RONNIE JAMES DIO FIFTH ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL EVENTS ANNOUNCED
The weekend will include a public memorial service, a celebrity bowling tournament and the inaugural Ride For Ronnie motorcycle ride and BBQ...

walkway WALKWAY RELEASE SINGLE AND VIDEO FOR 'STREETWISE'
The single is the first release from their second studio album. Walkway will support Status Quo in June 2015...

motley crue MOTLEY CRUE REVEAL DATE OF FINAL SHOW AND FINAL TOUR LAST LEG DETAILS: NEW SINGLE AND VIDEO OUT NOW
Motley Crue are also in the process of putting together the ultimate collector's album package...

art of anarchy PRESENTING ART OF ANARCHY FEATURING SCOTT WEILAND, BUMBLEFOOT, JOHN MOYER OF DISTURBED AND JON AND VINCE VOTTA
Poised to become one of the biggest new bands of 2015, Art Of Anarchy is redefining the rock supergroup...

jettblack JETTBLACK RETURN WITH A BRAND NEW SINGLE AND VIDEO
Jettblack get serious in 2015, kicking things off with a headline tour and new single in February...

dead kennedys DEAD KENNEDYS FANS PERFORM PUBLIC SEX ACT LIVE ON STAGE
"This was something definitely different to see at a punk concert..."

evil scarecrow EVIL SCARECROW'S MISSING TRACK FINALLY RELEASED! A MESSAGE FROM DR HELL!
Evil Scarecrow have just released a new, old version of 'Robototron', which they feel is the definitive version of their most popular track...

eddie and the hot rods BREAKING NEWS: ORIGINAL EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS LINE-UP REFORM FOR 40th ANNIVERSARY
This will be the first time all original members have played a full show together for over thirty years...

carthagods CARTHAGODS TO RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM WITH SPECIAL GUESTS INCLUDING TIM "RIPPER" OWENS, RON THAL AND MARK JANSEN
"It's been a long time that we look for this occasion to finally satisfy our fans..."

paddy goes to holyhead EXCLUSIVE: PADDY GOES TO HOLYHEAD ANNOUNCE FINAL CONCERT FOR ST PATRICK'S NIGHT
Sadly it's the end of an era as Paddy Goes To Holyhead have announced that they are to play their final gig...

grateful dead BREAKING NEWS: GRATEFUL DEAD TO RE-UNITE FOR 50th ANNIVERSARY FAREWELL CONCERTS
The reunion, billed "Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead", will feature the band's surviving members...

nazareth BREAKING NEWS: VOCALIST LINTON OSBOURNE LEAVES NAZARETH
"I am no longer a member of Nazareth. It didn't work out, for me, or for the band..."

lordi LORDI ANNOUNCE UK DATES FOR TOUR FORCE ONE
Lordi bring 'Scare Force One' to the UK for ten dates in the Spring...

nightwish NIGHTWISH REVEAL TRACKLIST & FORMATS OF 'ENDLESS FORMS MOST BEAUTIFUL'
The new studio album, released on 30th March, is available in several tasty formats...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN LEADER STEVE HARRIS' MANSION BACK ON THE MARKET AT KNOCKDOWN PRICE
The mansion boasts its own pub called the Horse and Cart as well as an indoor swimming pool...

pete way EXCLUSIVE: ALL PARTIES IN BATTLE BETWEEN FIN MUIR AND PETE WAY OF WAYSTED GIVE A RESPONSE
"I can confirm that this appalling defamation is completely without foundation..."

death angel DEATH ANGEL ANNOUNCE UK HEADLINE SHOW AND DATES WITH QUEENSRYCHE AND ARMORED SAINT
Los Angeles Heavy Metal legends Armored Saint will join both acts for a special London show at the Electric Ballroom...

udo dirkschneider U.D.O. TO PLAY ENGLAND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DONKEY'S YEARS
Germany's favourite rock god Udo Dirkschneider has announced three exclusive shows for the UK...

california breed CALIFORNIA BREED HAS GONE THE WAY OF BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION
After a great first album, the departure of a superstar drummer, and very little touring, California Breed is extinct...

kamelot KAMELOT SIGNS TO NAPALM RECORDS; NEW ALBUM AND TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED
In support of this highly anticipated release, Kamelot will hit the road for select UK shows, followed by a massive North America Tour...

the gentle storm ARJEN LUCASSEN AND ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN'S NEW BAND THE GENTLE STORM REVEAL TOUR DATES AND ALBUM DETAILS
"We'll perform some Ayreon classics together and premiere a couple of songs that will be on our upcoming album..."

jimmy page JIMMY PAGE IN FIGHT WITH ROBBIE WILLIAMS OVER HOUSE RENOVATION
The pair are neighbours and have fallen out over Williams' plans to revamp his multi-million pound mansion...

hard rock hell SAXON ANNOUNCED FOR HARD ROCK HELL 9 WITH ROCK GODDESS, PIG IRON AND MORE
Hard Rock Hell, aptly titled 'House of Horrors', are pleased to welcome Heavy Metal Titans Saxon back into their realm...

dark funeral DARK FUNERAL TO RELEASE 7INCH & DIGITAL SINGLE 'NAIL THEM TO THE CROSS' IN FEBRUARY
The single is available as a hand-numbered 7inch limited edition of which 500 copies are on black vinyl and 500 on blue vinyl...

santa cruz SANTA CRUZ TO RELEASE BRAND NEW SELF-TITLED ALBUM ON MARCH 9th VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS
Santa Cruz will also play five UK dates as main support to Amaranthe...

tygers of pan tang TYGERS OF PAN TANG TO HEADLINE GARAGE DAYZ RE-VISITED ALL DAYER IN LONDON
A mouth watering bill not only from bands that were a huge influence to bands like Metallica and Megadeth....

truffle TRUFFLE TO PLAY SPECIAL SOUTH COAST GIG WITH SIEGE, TOLEDO STEEL AND KODIAK JACK
Tickets are priced at only $7.50 for a night that promises to be full of faces from the area past and present....

ensiferum ENSIFERUM UNLEASH TWO NEW VIDEOS ON EVE OF LAUNCH ON NEW ALBUM
Today Ensiferum unveils the official new video for 'One Man Army''s title track as well as an in-depth "making of" clip...

autograph AUTOGRAPH RELEASE FIRST NEW SONG IN OVER 25 YEARS
Simply put, a reunion was both inevitable and essential...

steve hackett STEVE HACKETT ANNOUNCES NEW SOLO STUDIO ALBUM 'WOLFLIGHT' OUT ON 30th MARCH
The ten tracks take the listener through a journey in space and time looking at the different faces of the endless fight for freedom...

adrian smith IRON MAIDEN'S ADRIAN SMITH ROCKS UP IN CHISWICK WITH DOOGIE WHITE, ANDY BARNETT AND DAVE 'BUCKET' COLWELL
MetalTalk's first Gig Of The Week for 2015 turned up two major surprises as a great night was had by all...

sabaton SABATON ANNOUNCE "SABATON OPEN AIR" WITH POWERWOLF AND CIVIL WAR
Tickets are on sale now for this special event in Germany in July...

pig iron PIG IRON ANNOUNCE RELEASE DATE FOR FIFTH STUDIO ALBUM
'Sermons From The Church Of Blues Restitution' will be released worldwide via OYR on 2nd March and will be preceded by a high value four track EP...

sonata arctica SONATA ARCTICA ANNOUNCE EXCLUSIVE LONDON SHOW FOR 'ECLIPTICA OVER EUROPE TOUR 2015'
"On these shows we'll perform 'Ecliptica' in its entirety as well as assorted hits from our catalog..."

skalmold SKALMOLD UNVEIL NEW SPRING TOUR DATES WITH ELUVEITIE AND WIND ROSE
For those who didn't catch the Viking/Pagan Metallers live on tour, here's another chance...

tony iommi BLACK SABBATH LEGEND TONY IOMMI TELLS ALL ABOUT HIS CANCER BATTLE
"In the good old days there was cocaine everywhere. This time we had tea and coffee and health drinks..."

def con one DEF CON ONE ANNOUNCE CRUSHING HEADS TOUR
British Metallers Def Con One can be seen across the UK in 2015...

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