(From the NME, 1994; further details unknown)
AWOL - Jaz Coleman
It was March [sic, February], 1982. Jaz Coleman - singer with Killing Joke, follower of Aleister Crowley and worryingly facially-painted warrior - vanished into the night after a Killing Joke gig in Brighton.
The other three members of the Joke, who then included Youth (now a top producer) on bass, muddled through a subsequent TV appearance, using a dummy in Jaz's place. In the days that followed, the singer phoned only his mother, to reassure her that he was all right.
The plot thickened considerably when the band's manager, Brian Taylor, explained to the music press that, in the world of occult followers like Jaz, March 1982 bore a curiously meaningful relevance, possibly connected, as is usual with these things, with The End Of The World. Also, he pointed out, Jaz had vanished on his birthday, which he shared with none other than The Beast himself, Aleister Crowley.
The search turned to Iceland. Jaz had visited the remote, chilly outpost of Europe before, believing it to be the focus of planetary ley-Iines. At the end of March, it was confirmed that he had, indeed, turned up there - and left Killing Joke forever. According to a Reykjavik newspaper, Jaz was collaborating with a local band called Peyr ("Thaw"), who were even more scary than Killing Joke.
The deal went something like this. Peyr had invented ominous-sounding "diabolic devices", which they apparently used to control audiences. Psychic links could be established with said audiences by means of electro-magnetic waves. They had also set up their own alternative community. They lived "outside society". And they were building a studio. Underwater.
Killing Joke, sensing they were beaten, auditioned for Jaz's replacement. "We're not looking for Jaz clones," Brian Taylor explained, "although we've already had one application from someone claiming to be Jaz in a different form."
Coleman was tracked down in his Icelandic psychic lair by the NME. His first words spoken to an English person for several weeks were carefully considered. "Fuck off," he said. "I hate the NME."
In April, in a move strange even by the looking glass standards of Killing Joke, guitarist Geordie Walker followed his leader and fetched up in Iceland too. He and Jaz now planned to open a club, specialising in "somewhat barbaric music". It was said that Geordie was under Jaz's sinister black magic spell. Jaz had, meanwhile, written a novel.
"Not to put too fine a point on it," suggested Brian Taylor, "I think they're both nuts".
Then - in what, if any other band had been involved, would have been described ass "a shock move" - drummer Paul Ferguson moved to Iceland too! Now, only Youth remained in London. What in the name of all that is sacred was going on? Seasoned Joke-watchers, unfazed by the band's unlikely, and bizarrely gradual migration, thought they knew. Jaz was on a personal search for a mythical, mystical place he knew as The End Of The World. He obviously thought it was to be found in Iceland. Geordie and Ferguson had been persuaded to follow. Youth, sceptical, had demurred.
That was the end of Youth's first stint with Killing Joke. The others stayed in Iceland for the best part of a year. Then, strikingly bereft of much evidence of The End Of The World, they came back. No explanation was ever proffered.
The now-wealthy Youth rejoined the band for this year's techno-influenced album, Pandemonium, which was the first rock album ever to include a vocal recorded in the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid in Egypt. Plans are afoot to record the next album in King Tubby's studio in Jamaica. Jaz, who had a nervous breakdown towards the end of the '80s, now lives on an island off New Zealand.