(From Guitar Player, US magazine, November 1994.)


Killing Joke Regains Its Youth


by Chris Gill



It had been more than a decade since Killing Joke guitarist Geordie Walker and vocalist Jaz Coleman crossed paths with the band's original bassist Youth, who dropped out of the band in '82. Youth subsequently joined several bands and produced the Orb, Crowded House, and Bananarama. When Geordie and Jaz recently ran into Youth in a London studio, they were surprised by his enthusiasm to reform the original band lineup.

"It was quite important for me to establish myself in other areas and take on different challenges," Youth admits. "Now that I've had the benefit of that experience, I can apply it within the band. It's been great to learn new things and come back full circle into Killing Joke." Youth added distinctive production and stylistic touches to the pummeling metal, techno chants, and brooding melodies of Killing Joke's new album Pandemonium Zoo . He employed a sampler to tighten Geordie's riffs on the title cut and "Millennium," and hauled a DAT recorder into the King's Chamber of Egypt's Great Pyramid to capture Jaz's "Exorcism" vocals.

But overall, the record maintains the organic sound of musicians playing together. "You have to establish a relationship with your machines," explains Youth. "You have to exploit them, otherwise they're going to exploit you. Guitars have their own language--Gibsons and Fenders are like different dialects. The guitars and sounds are our palettes, colors, brushes, and canvases. We use whatever it takes to create a nice painting."

For the album, Geordie abused Gibson ES-295 and ES-135 hollowbodies through Berman amps, an ADT delay unit for slapback, a T.C. Electronic 2160 stereo expander, and a noise gate. He recently acquired a couple of THD 100-watt head prototypes for live performance. "I got rid of my echo unit four years ago," Geordie says of the box that once defined his sound. "It broke down, and I suddenly realized how much I relied on the thing." Youth employed a Gibson EB-3 semi-hollow bass, as well as sub-octave and compressor pedals.

"It's great to do one-riff songs again," enthuses Geordie. "The band has developed fresh ideas and a really nice vibe. Getting back together with Youth is like being kids again, but ten years the wiser."