(From NMX, a London-based fanzine, sometime in mid-1981)

Killing Joke

Interview by Jeannette

Armed with a brand new C90 and tape recorder, I waited for 2 1/2 hours to interview Killing Joke amidst a crowd consisting of several Siouxsie Sioux lookalikes who, judging by the smell, worked in an airfax glue factory during the day, and a sweaty bunch of '76 leftovers, leather-clad stereotypes with Domestos bleached hair (I suppose you call them each-other lookalikes) who are apparently setting the 'Yes I know this look is a bit passť but I don't care' trend.

After listening to an hour of music to please the adolescents, I used my feminine charm on one of the bouncers - who'd spent most of the evening trying to push pogoing punks headfirst off stage - it was arranged for someone to show me where the dressing room was.  I was greeted warily with a 'get the lady a chair' - which was encouraging as I'm not used to this sort of thing and I hadn't a clue what to say apart from the few 'Smash Hits' type questions I'd scribbled on the back of an envelope on the bus.

Jeannette:  What are your names?

Jaz:  Well, I'm Jaz, that's Paul, Pig Youth and Geordie over there in the corner keeping quiet.

Jeannette:  Is this the original band?

Jaz: This is it, as it is, as it always will be.

Paul: Forever and ever and ever it seems.

Jaz: Wasn't it a god-awful sound on stage?  I hate it when I can see the audience.  One of those gigs - you know what I mean - not the best.

Jeannette:  But there were loads of people dancing on stage.

Jaz:  Yeah, we always get that.  I like it, mind, but sometimes when they get on stage they pull all the wires out and the sound gets distorted; like tonight, it all fell to pieces.  Well, you get good, you get bad, you get brilliant sometimes - well, you know what Killing Joke's all about, you've read all the papers.

Jeannette:  Well ... er ... no, not exactly.  I don't understand the cover of What's This For ....! either.

Jaz: Well, just look at it and soak the feeling up and see all those geezers and that pathetic normal figure looking up at the glow in the distance, which could be whatever you imagine - could be a bomb going off.  Take another look at it.  It's just so pathetic - when we saw it, it was so pathetic that we just had to use it - all those faces coming out.  It's just like Killing Joke is; just a feeling.

Jeannette: Mmm.  I was expecting something pretentious or profound.

Jaz: Oh well, I don't feel like that.  I get fed up with putting the idea across.  Obviously my sarcasm is too subtle!

Jeannette: What sort of music do you listen to?

Jaz: I listen to a lot of drum music, a lot of strange music, Moroccan, tribal music, anything with a lot of belief, a lot of emotion, and I mean a lot of emotion, not just like songs - body and soul.

Jeannette: I take it you don't like futurist music?

Jaz:  Oh, I despise it.  I don't listen to a lot of Western music - I listen to drums, you know, drums and strange music.  The only Western music I like is that Eno/David Byrne album - that's strange, like hypnotic music, repetitive.  I like strange festivals, a good atmosphere - I can't say specifically what I like.  A bit of Chinese music.  I don't like a lot of bands anymore.  I used to, once; I'm disillusioned a bit.  That's why we want to tear it all to pieces now.

Jeannette: What do you think about Sheffield?

 Jaz: It's the end of the world.  I hate it.  I'd like to see a bomb dropped on it.

Jeannette: What about Sheffield music?  Cabaret Voltaire?

Jaz: Well, I admire the spirit.  I sympathise.  A lot of it sounds like Pink Floyd.  Well, you know what I mean - it's all sort of in your head, like Joy Division.  You sort of stand there and watch it all and listen to it.  It doesn't motivate you to do anything.  Clock DVA supported us once in Birmingham.

Youth (a hangover on):  Horrible band!

Jaz: Clock DVA, Clock DVA, Cabaret Voltaire and more Clock DVA.  What do you like it in Sheffield for anyway?  It's depressing.

Youth: I think it's a fucking hole.  A hole of holes.  Can I have your earring? 

(It's funny how the best-looking ones are the least cooperative.)

So that was Killing Joke.  I'll let you form your own opinion of them from this.  I'll not print my opinion as I promised to send them a copy.


Click here for a gig review that appeared in the same issue.