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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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This is the first official Guns N' Roses live concert film since 1992's 'Use Your Illusion' concert video and features brand new live performances of classic GN'R tracks...

blues pills BLUES PILLS KICK OFF THEIR HEADLINING EUROPEAN TOUR
The three month tour takes in seven UK dates, including an upgraded venue in Manchester...

tesseract TESSERACT SIGN TO KSCOPE
The band have a new creative energy after reuniting with singer Dan Tompkins and have already written half of their third album, the follow up to 'Altered State', slated for a 2015 release...

primordial PRIMORDIAL TO RELEASE NEW FULL-LENGTH THIS NOVEMBER VIA METAL BLADE RECORDS
"We feel revitalized, the hunger never left and we are ready for another chapter to be written in our history..."

ill nino ILL NIÑO PREMIERE NEW MUSIC VIDEO FOR 'I'M NOT THE ENEMY'
The video tells a bold story of youthful injustice, overcoming social stereotypes and the dreams of constructing a better life...

devin townsend DEVIN TOWNSEND LAUNCHES ZTV AND NEW ZILTOID SITE
"I'm really excited to present to you the new Ziltoid website, and the first of three ZTV episodes leading up to the album release..."

judas priest JUDAS PRIEST OPEN US TOUR WITH NEW SONGS AND CLASSICS: SPOILER ALERT - FULL SETLIST HERE
The legendary British Metallers are touring in support of of their new 'Redeemer Of Souls' album...

tony wright TONY WRIGHT RELEASES FIRST SOLO ALBUM 'THOUGHTS 'N' ALL' ON 17TH NOVEMBER
The Terrorvision frontman has made a personal, heartfelt and passionate reflection of his journey...

off PUNK/HARDCORE LUMINARIES OFF! RETURN TO THE ROAD
There will be six UK dates before the band head off to mainland Europe...

queensryche BREAKING NEWS: QUEENSRYCHE ANNOUNCED AS HARD ROCK HELL VIII HEADLINERS
Following the official cancellation of W.A.S.P., Hard Rock Hell are pleased to announce that Queensryche will be stepping up to the top slot...

motorhead LEMMY TALKS TO FULL METAL JACKIE ABOUT HIS HEALTH, THE NEXT ALBUM AND THE MOTORBOAT CRUISE
Lemmy Kilmister was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show this weekend...

hellion HELLION ANNOUNCE NEW 'KARMA'S A BITCH' MINI ALBUM & SINGLE
Hellion's strongest line-up to date unleash first new material in over a decade...

blaze bayley BLAZE BAYLEY RELEASES 'SOUNDTRACKS OF MY LIFE' DVD
Blaze and backing band Absolva are captured in a performance celebrating 30 years in the business for Blaze...

black sabbath BREAKING NEWS: BLACK SABBATH TO RECORD NEW ALBUM AND DO ONE FINAL TOUR
Just as we told you back in May, Black Sabbath's Hyde Park performance on 4th July was not the last ever Sabbath gig...

def leppard DEF LEPPARD ROCK THE NFL AT WEMBLEY
A stage was set up on the pitch with the band performing in front of beautiful cheerleaders...

slipknot SLIPKNOT RELEASE 'THE DEVIL IN I' OFFICIAL VIDEO
Find out more about the new masks as the build up to the release of '.5:The Gray Chapter' continues...

sy keeler ONSLAUGHT'S SY KEELER TO SIT OUT FORTHCOMING US/CANADA/SOUTH AMERICA TOUR
Ex Anthrax legend Neil Turbin steps into the breach as the health issues of Sy Keeler's son mean he is needed at home...

vivian cambell VIV CAMPBELL TO UNDERGO STEM CELL TREATMENT
Trixter guitarist Steve Brown will fill in for Def Leppard's autumn dates...

haken HAKEN LAUNCH 'DARKEST LIGHT' VIDEO
"We've managed to chop the old song in half, cut away all the excess fat and produce a 6 minute rowdy riff roller-coaster that will surely find a home in the heavier side of our live show..."

the dead daisies THE DEAD DAISIES RELEASE 'THE FACE I LOVE' VIDEO
Get a look at the title track of the new EP here. A new album will follow in 2015...

primordial PRIMORDIAL ANNOUNCE UK DATES IN FEBRUARY 2015
There will also be an album launch in Dublin in November for 'Where Greater Men Have Fallen'...

protokult SING ALONG TO 'GET ME A BEER!' LYRIC VIDEO BY PROG FOLK METALLERS PROTOKUL
"For those of you who can't understand what the hell Martin is spewing, now is your chance to sing along! Get yourself a cold one and enjoy!"...

whitesnake WHITESNAKE ANNOUNCE NEW LIVE DVD/CD WITH CLASSIC AND RARE PERFORMANCES
"It's still hard for me to find the words when remembering that half the incredible band who originally recorded the 'Slide It In' album with me have passed away," says Coverdale...

metal church VOCALIST RONNY MUNROE QUITS METAL CHURCH
The band posted a statement on their official Facebook page assuring fans that the band is alive and well and that "big announcements" are expected soon...

bloodbath BLOODBATH STREAM FIRST NEW TRACK FEATURING NICK HOLMES AND REVEAL ALBUM TRACKLISTING
Sweden's masters of horror Bloodbath are set to release their fourth album of supreme death Metal, 'Grand Morbid Funeral', on 17th November 2014...

ac/dc AC/DC ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM, 'ROCK OR BUST', AND CONFIRM DEPARTURE OF MALCOLM YOUNG
AC/DC have announced details of their 17th studio album, their first for six years and their first ever not to feature Malcolm...

lordi LORDI RELEASE FIRST SINGLE FROM NEW ALBUM 'SCARE FORCE ONE'
Tour dates to follow for the Finnish sensations. "The overall sound of the band is more modern this time, and we've tried out some new tricks here and there..."

bloodstock CANNIBAL CORPSE WILL PLAY AN EXCLUSIVE UK SHOW AT BLOODSTOCK 2015
Cannibal Corpse, Sepultura and Ihsahn join the line-up that also includes Within Temptation and Opeth...

helix HELIX ANNOUNCE TOUR OF EUROPE
This will be the first Euro tour for Helix since heading out with Kiss and Ian Gillan in the 1980s...

threshold THRESHOLD DISCUSS HOW THEY FOUND THE NEW ALBUM ARTWORK ON THE INTERNET
Damian Wilson and Richard West discuss Threshold's new album 'For The Journey', out today...

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS RELEASE 'THIS IS ROCK N ROLL II' IN ADVANCE OF NOVEMBER TOUR
Re-packaged, re-styled and with 4 bonus tracks, the rare 2001 classic from The Quireboys will be available on 23rd October...

gwar GWAR REVEAL TWO NEW MEMBERS - BLÓTHAR AND VULVATRON
Meet the latest warriors to don the latex and styrofoam and join the intergalactic crew for Gwar's "Eternal" tour...

fear factory FEAR FACTORY SIGN TO NUCLEAR BLAST ENTERTAINMENT
The journey continues for one of the groundbreaking Metal bands of our time, with new material to be released in 2015...

tank TANK BEGIN WORK ON NEW ALBUM; BAND CONFIRMED FOR BANG YOUR HEAD
The band are scheduled to enter the studio in November with a release planned for early February...

blitzallica DIAMOND HEAD TO HEADLINE COUNTY DURHAM'S BLITZALLICA IN OCTOBER
Plus legendary Metal party band Dumpy's Rusty Nuts and old favorites Holosade who are reforming especially for this headbanging estravaganza...

saille SAILLE COMMENT ON FORTHCOMING THIRD ALBUM
"'Eldritch' differs quite a bit from our two previous albums," keyboardist Dries Gaerdelen says...

winger WINGER RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'BETTER DAYS COMIN'
Winger have released a new music video - the title track from their Billboard chart breaking album...

voodoo six VOODOO SIX ANNOUNCE SIX HEADLINE SHOWS IN EUROPE
This Autumn, Voodoo Six will play six headline shows in Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER ANNOUNCES DECEMBER UK TOUR
Schenker will perform songs from the new album, which features the new single, 'Lord Of The Lost And Lonely' plus all the classics...

johnny thunders LOOKING FOR JOHNNY: THE LEGEND OF JOHNNY THUNDERS MOVIE TO BE RELEASED NEXT MONTH
When Johnny Thunders died in New Orleans on April 23rd 1991, he left behind a mystery...

metallica METALLICA TO RELEASE 27 LIVE ALBUMS BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR AND APPEAR IN THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS
To commemorate the anniversary of the LiveMetallica.com site, the band are offering CDs and LPs of every gig they played in 2014...

kobra and the lotus KOBRA AND THE LOTUS AND THE TREATMENT ANNOUNCE UK TOURS
Kobra And The Lotus will be kicking off their Headline Tour on 24th September in support of their latest record 'High Priestess'...

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