(Special thanks to Antoni Adamiak for transcribing this article)
Transcribed here is an interview that appeared in issue number 1
of No Class
fanzine in early 1981 - no date quoted. In the same issue appears the
world's first ever interview with Red Beat & in issue 2 is the world's last
ever interview with Ski Patrol just as Ian Lowry was dismantling the
Malicious Damage band & about to regroup with The Folk Devils.
Rather than scanning in the pages, I've corrected the typos & reasonably
obvious errors. I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to stick this in the
interview archives. There is another No Class interview from backstage at
the "Elephant Fayre" at St Germans in Cornwall (July 1985), which I will
eventually get around to typing up - plus one from Anti-Climax (No 8 Feb
Okay, so back to No Class number 1 (what's really funny here is that the
still only 18 year old Jaz Coleman at one stage seems to promote the idea of
"terrorism" which is kind of at odds with the viewpoint of some people on
this list, who very much back the so called "War On Terrorism" - okay then,
who's gonna get him sent to Camp X-Ray then ? Ho, ho, ho. Don't forget Jaz
previously spoke of admiration for Colonel Gadaffi at the time he was still
public enemy number one (in 1986).
However naive some of young Jaz's comments might seem now, his challenge to
existing schools of thought on many subjects were manna from heaven to my
own questioning mind at the time. Anyway here goes:
* KILLING JOKE INTERVIEW *
With a temperamental tape recorder, the No Class squad set off to Malicious
Damage's headquarters deep in the heart of Notting Hill Gate. Having been
made welcome by various label representatives we then found ourselves in the
company of Jaz from Killing Joke, to be joined by Youth later. From here,
the conversation went something like this :
JAZ : You're going to have to inspire me to answer some of the questions you
want to ask, but don't ask a question for the sake of asking - it's really
boring. You want to know more about our lives?
NC : Do you take the view that playing in a band is a job?
JAZ : The routine gets a bit much after a while, but we have a fucking
laugh. It's a right scream what routine there is. These last two weeks in
the studio we have to go in at 2 o'clock, or if we are tired we go in at 5
o'clock but we go on to the early hours of the morning and we smoke and have
a bit of a drink. It's a relaxed atmosphere you could say, you do a bit of
what you want and it's all right. We like working at our own sort of rate,
as opposed to be pressured. Some days you go in and don't fucking get any
ideas so that's £100 down the drain.
NC : So all the songs start in the studio, do they?
JAZ : The last two weeks they have been. Instead of working in a rehearsal
studio, we've been working in a recording studio, an eight track recording
studio, and we've been going along, building the songs in the studio, then
putting the keyboards on after and listening to what it sounds like. If we
don't like that we can change it. It's much faster, you could say, writing
like that, and yes, it's been quite successful.
NC : Do you write the lyrics like that?
JAZ : The words are really weird in this band, they sort of just happen,
either Paul turns up with some words or I might have a few lines, or Youth
might have some, and they just end up singing them for a particular fucking
song. It just sort of happens like that, nothing is planned in this band, it
never works if it's planned.
(We previously spoke of star signs)
NC : What are the star signs of the other members of the band?
JAZ : It's only my personal interest in it. They do recognise certain
principles you could say. I would say we don't delve heavily into astrology.
Certainly there is a Sagittarius, an Aries, a Pisces and a Capricorn, two
fire signs. I try and find the facts behind everything. I spent 13 years of
my life with the church, intensely, so I'm obviously interested in, you
could say, divine principles, but I discovered them to be different to what
they're stated to be. Remember this band's Killing Joke, so ask any question
you want to ask.
NC : How did it turn out that you did the CND gig at Trafalgar Square?
JAZ : Do you go to that?
NC : Yeah. What did you think of it?
JAZ : I thought it was a right laugh, a right scream. I sympathise with all
the people that went there and their feeling towards this revolting subject,
but I thought it was just a joke, because young people are interested in
results, not celebration, understand what I mean ? How many weeks have gone
since that CND thing, and what results have we had ? That's the Killing
NC : So you think we can't achieve anything by just marching up and down a
JAZ : No, because I believe, if you want my personal opinion, destiny is
destiny. If it's going to be that way, I don't believe in looking away from
the problem, I believe in staring it in the face. That's why we have numbers
like 'Wardance', when we can enjoy it, have a laugh about it, revel in it,
don't look away from it. So what, one minute you're gone. Life goes on.
NC : Do you think it goes on afterwards?
JAZ : What do I think ? I know.
NC : Does it?
JAZ : That's my personal opinion that I believe life goes on. You've got to
think, you're a human being, what's a human being ? It's an advanced from of
nature, basically. If you observe nature, you will notice that nature goes
round in a cycle. As we are a part of nature we must also go round in a
cycle. When it comes to winter everything fucking dies and in fucking spring
it fucking grows again, so therefore the same principle has got to be
applied. Seems logical to me.
NC : So we are going to be wiped out?
JAZ : No, every forty or so years you get a war, don't you? There is an
influence around, don't ask me how or why, but there are fucking wars. This
is a fact of life. There's bloodshed isn't there?
NC : I want to postpone it.
JAZ : That's all right - postpone it mate. You know what to do, go 2,000
miles from the nearest fucking strategic point. Think about it.
NC : North Pole.
JAZ : (laughs) It's up to you to decide.
NC : So you are agreed with the idea of the march, the whole thing about the
JAZ : Well, if I had my way, but I don't have my way, the only way to get
results with a government like we've got, not wishing to get political,
because I'm not interested in politics, the only way to get results is if
you've got some nutter like my brother, he's a nuclear physicist, if you get
the plans of the nuclear bomb and you sent an anonymous letter to the
government, saying that in each of the major capitals there's hidden a
nuclear device, we have the plans, show them the plans so that they know you
really mean business. Unless your terms are met, the first one goes up, and
if they aren't by then, the second goes up, understand? It's the only way
you're going to get results out of people like these. They're interested in
themselves. You've got to remember, people like Maggie Thatcher, why should
they be concerned about 2,000 years onwards from now. They're only going to
live another 10 years, what's it to them past the year 2000?
NC : How can she live knowing what she's doing? Don't suppose she's
JAZ : Not as bad as fucking Reagan. People say I'm a nutter, but I reckon
there will be survivors and they'll be young people that will be the
survivors and that's the only people I'm interested in. I think the younger
generation should understand the laws of the Earth itself. Even a nuclear
bomb is that product of nature. Understand that?
NC : (shaking of head)
JAZ : 'course it fucking is. The sky allows it to be there, the Earth allows
it to be there, it's sitting in between the two of them, isn't it?
NC : It's the end of the scale though.
JAZ : No, it's just change. What a nuclear bomb means is like an earthquake,
you can have an earthquake or a nuclear bomb, choose ! There's going to be
both, I believe and when the fucking bomb goes off, it means that for a good
few years, and then after fucking Whitehall quietens down, and the fucking
whole cycle grows again. You know they found fucking planet Uranus when they
discovered Uranium. Pluto, Plutonium. I believe in the astrological link up,
it does work. Our fore-fathers, our ancestors have been doing it for
centuries, and it was only until the church came along , that they changed
all the sciences. Where science and religion parted company, science doesn't
accept that which cannot be measured. There are certain things you can't
ever measure, certain things like infinity. You've got to have a view on
that. Just accept it and that's one thing the scientists can't do. It's like
everything is getting out of balance because of people forgetting their
roots, that they are part of nature themselves.
NC : Are you still connected with the church?
JAZ : Fuck off, you cunt!
JAZ : I was an active member, church music. I learnt a lot of things. I
noticed that the colours of the altar changed exactly with the cycle of the
zodiac. Funny, innit? The colours of the altar front, or the colours they
used for different seasons is identical to the colours of the zodiac. I
noticed that all the festivals, like the Harvest and Mayday and Candlemas
were pagan, and when the church moved over here, it christianised the pagan
festivals. All I see is a man and a woman, I see the sun and the moon, I see
black and white, the quality of everything. And the church just goes against
that. It's all a masculine kind of thing. The Father, The Son, and the Holy
Ghost, whereas the mother Earth, well, we could talk about symbolism.
(pause) Youth! (He calls the bass player and music drifts from his
bedroom) - he's up!
NC : Why did you join the church?
JAZ : Why did I ? Because there was something in my personality that
obviously needed to combine spiritual with music. Now I do that in a very
NC : How old were you when you joined the church?
JAZ : I went to the church out of my own free will at six. My parents are
pagan. So I know what I'm talking about.
NC : Until you were about 12-13?
JAZ : Then I started radically changing my view and started questioning a
lot of things I did get answers from, and I made my own decisions.
(Youth appears from his bedroom with just a towel wrapped around him - we
YOUTH : Hello (he disappears into the kitchen)
NC : Let's ask a question about the music. Do you think your attitude come
across in the music ?
JAZ : In the music ? I think it depends on our environment, are you talking
about live or on record ?
NC : Either.
JAZ : Yes, it sure does. You haven't heard any of our later stuff. Anyway,
'The Fall Of Because' and some of the later tunes we have written. I think
it comes over excellently.
NC : Do people, just by listening, know what it's all about?
JAZ : It depends how far you look into it. Have you read the words to
'Pssyche', our second single ? Do people listen to lyrics these days? A few
do, a lot of people don't. They just like moving with it. People are
different. Some people they understand a feeling more than a word and they
don't put words, they just want a feeling. Other people may like the words
to inspire them. People are different, aren't they?
NC : So you would not say that the lyrics are more important that the music,
or does it depend on the person?
JAZ : Yes, it depends. As a band, we describe ourselves better in the music
than the lyrics, and we use the lyrics to suggest.
But the sound is within the music, and I find that's how we describe
ourselves the best. We are doing a lot of different stuff at the moment,
(Some time later)
JAZ : I believe you can achieve more by putting yourself through your own
experiences, searching for what you particularly want. Like I say, you
should never compromise, you should find out what you enjoy doing most and
follow it, and don't chicken out. I believe that people now shouldn't do
what's laid out for them, your careers information officer ! Our manager, as
far as universities go, the man's a genius, there are no two ways about it.
You ask him what he thinks about universities, it's just wasted time. All
that knowledge that he learnt has taught him to communicate in a fashion
that is beyond the average person. Things are getting vastly out of
proportion, but I believe in the Earth enough to know the Earth will sort it
out. Whether it means an earthquake or an atomic bomb, or whatever, you just
go with it. Another thing, they teach you fear of death in this society,
there should be no fear of death.
NC : Some we inherit, is it actually taught?
JAZ : Yes, but is should be understood. Death, you should know what it
means, you came from the womb and go out in the tomb, but womb and tomb are
feminine words. It's all related back down to Mother again. So, some facts
are being hidden, I believe. You have to sort that out yourself these days.
When you are going along the street in your car, and you stop at the colour
red, and go at the colour green. Now, the psychology behind that is that the
colour red limits your mind and the colour green releases your mind. If you
look at the zodiac, you will see that Aries rules red and Libra rules green.
Both are on opposite parts of the zodiac. It's up to you now to shape
society, you're going to have to breed one day, you're going to have kids
some day, it's up to you to shape the way for those fucking kids, and what
have you got to shape it with ?Fucking useless knowledge which they palm you
off with. You don't want to follow theirs and make the same mistake again,
that's fucking stupid. You've got to find out all the hairline faults in it,
so that they can be corrected, if you've got any real feeling for the way
you love your life, and those around you. It's all fucked anyway.
NC : If you just try and change anything, it's just slammed back into your
JAZ : Depends how you go about it. Things can be done, and will be done. I
believe that totally. I get a lot of my inspiration, not other musicians, I
get them off other writers, all types of people.
NC : Do you read a lot?
JAZ : Yes, I read a lot of books. I look at the writers the same as a
musician. A musician deals in sound, that the way they describe themselves
and maybe an artist describes himself in paint, and a writer describes
himself in words. You pick the one your personality is suited to the most.
NC : Who's books do you read?
JAZ : Aleister Crowley.
NC : The Black Magic Spectrum?
JAZ : Ah, there you go again. The Black Magic, see. Ah, you don't want any
of that Black Magic and evil, kind of thing. You believe them, that's why
they tell you, just go to church and you'll be all right. There's a whole
science that is just being forgotten about. Lunatic, lunar as in moon. You
know that the full moon has an effect on the psyche ? The moon controls all
the water. As we are 90% water, it must therefore control us. "Who's truth
is your truth" that's the line to one of our songs.
(Youth walks in)
YOUTH : What have you been babbling about ?
JAZ : They just been asking questions. (To Youth) What do you think is going
to happen in the next few years ?
YOUTH : I don't know.
NC : What are the lyrics about generally?
JAZ : Each different fucking number is an event, you will have to pick out
one in particular to pinpoint anything.
NC : Can you tell us about the fire-eater?
JAZ : Oh yes, that's along time ago. The Wizard, he used to blow fire. He
was a real nut case, that guy. He used to blow fire and war dance. He has
not done it for a long time. He had some interesting ideas. He blows fire,
this is about him not us, but he blows fire, he does not blow it in the sort
of conventional theatre-come-cabaret sort of act. He blows it in a very
ritualistic sort of way. He takes fire as being your will, your desire, and
he uses it in that way, and it was really good at that time, and it just
seemed to fit, and that was it.
NC : Haven't you got him anymore?
JAZ : No, no, he's doing his own thing now working with that group, Shock,
that dance company. It doesn't matter, anyway, it's nothing to do with us.
NC : Is there any meaning behind the album cover, the people running away
and the ladylike figure in the centre?
YOUTH : It's Christ!
JAZ : As I say, it's your interpretation of it. Everyone has got their own.
NC : Good cover.
JAZ : Do you think?
YOUTH : Better than the fucking Jam's!
*** THE END ***