(From Flipside, Issue 27, October 1981)
Killing Joke were interviewed by Al, Hud and Pooch on a hot (105) August afternoon at the Tropicana Hotel. The interview took place before their first of five shows at the Whisky A Go Go. Present were Youth, who was a bit stoned and quite comfortable in his patio chair, Paul who was the most talkative and later Jaz who was not in the best of moods. Geordie sat in their room and watched cartoons.
Al: have you changed any of your opinions about America, in past interviews you've said you hated it?
Paul: I never said I hated it!
Al: Oh, it must have been Youth.
Youth: I might have said I hate it!
Paul: As he enjoys himself!
Youth: I think it was Americans I met in England that led to believe I hated it, its ok, this moment it is.
Pooch: "Follow The Leaders" is getting a lot of airplay.
Pooch: It's also in the disco charts!
Paul: Yeah, it seems to be. Great.
Youth: Better than punk or heavy metal fucking charts.
Al: You'd rather be on disco charts?
Paul: A lot of people label us punk heavy metal and it isolates us so if it goes into the disco charts that's great, it's something else again.
Al: Do you think Americans can relate to your songs?
Paul: It's not quite as easy, but places like Chicago, they really understood what we were about. I think if Americans can't now, they will in the future.
Pooch: Industrial cities...
Paul: Yeah, the less money the more frustrated, the more the response.
Al: And so they understand the "killing joke".
Paul: Yeah, it's very relevent, but it won't be relevent to everybody, but it will.
Hud: Are you guys into the occult?
Hud: All of you?
Paul: Oh, to varying degrees.
Youth: (referring to the coffee shop) They threw me out twice, once cause I had no shirt, once cause I had no shoes, but it's an alright place.
Al: Yeah, it has palm trees, is that why you do your hair like that?
Youth: Why? Like palm trees? Yeah!
Al: Jaz, does your necklace symbolize anything in particular?
Jaz: No, it's just jewelry, that's all.
Hud: Are you familiar with theosophy?
Al: I heard you had a wizard or something open for you at some gigs?
Pooch: How do your gigs go in England?
Jaz: It's a lot different from here, I'll tell you that. People still view you as a rock and roll band here. Over there it's just like something to get your fucking emotions out. People take it a lot more seriously in Europe. It appears to me that way, that's cause they're so bored there nothing else to do.
Pooch: (to Paul) How'd the band start?
Paul: Jaz and I were playing in bands already and we met each other and we started out doing what other people wanted us to do musically. We had a lot of things in common, and things we'd like to see changed and things we wanted to do, so we started a band.
Pooch: Is it going the way you wanted?
Paul: Yeah it is. But coming over here it's really gotten sick. It's really rock and roll really, but it's something I never imagined would happen. It's always been a very exclusive attitude amongst us - and if we dig a gig it was because we wanted to do a gig. It was special, we'd give ourselves time to warm up to it. But over here it's just fucking rock and roll, it really is. It's club to club, some real seedy joints.
Al: have you been doing one show per town?
Paul: Except for New York, we did two. And the Whisky is two shows the first two nights and then one. Which is bound to be interesting because we haven't done anything like that before. But, yeah, we knew what we were getting into coming over here, we knew we'd be playing small clubs, we knew we'd be playing a lot of gigs and we knew they'd be hassles... but with the schedule we've got it's really hard to come up with much enthusiasm for anything.
Pooch: When you're on stage, do you want to entertain or teach people or...
Paul: If it was just for entertainment, I'd give it up - I want people to be entertained, I want people to enjoy it but I want people to understand and gain something. I don't want people to feel like they're being preached at. That's why we're using dance rhythms in songs, it can be physically enjoyable as well. We're not trying to preach anything... people seem to think that our music is pessimistic, i think it's optimistic. I find it very vocal and full of intensity. It's a release to get them physically involved in something.