Marshalling his mystic energies
before warming up for a world tour, Coleman has found a "hidden
history" in Prague.
Making a killing
Jaz Coleman sets out to save the world
For The Prague Post
(July 31, 2003)
Somewhere not too far away from Prague, beside a
green forest, sits the enigmatic, cheerful Jaz Coleman, sporting a
black felt hat and a very rock-star English accent. He's in an
expansive mode, eager to recount the history of his band Killing Joke.
It's a story of fate. The young Coleman's parents were away on holiday
in 1978 when he suddenly felt that something was going to happen. He
hitchhiked from Cheltenham to London on a Friday, hitched back the
next day, picked up his stuff and by Sunday night had moved into an
apartment with a beautiful piano for only seven pounds (now $11/308 Kc)
When: Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 8
Where: Palac Akropolis
Tickets: 300 Kc ($11) through Ticketportal and at the venue
On Monday morning Coleman met an Indian man named Carlos in the
welfare line and told the man he intended to start a band. Carlos
replied, "I know and I'm going to introduce you to the drummer." He
did so that day, in the form of Big Paul Ferguson.
"I was in awe of complete recognition," says Coleman. "I had never
heard him play, but it was obvious we'd begun. As I've got Eastern
blood in me, the ideas of reincarnation are very dear to me and I
accept them fully."
The rest of the band came together in similar fashion: "Paul and I
both had an interest in the mystery tradition. So we decided to focus
our wills and our visualizations in a ritual which was held the 26th
of February 1978 at three o'clock. And within two weeks of that we had
Geordie [guitar] and Youth [bass]."
Youth has since been replaced by Paul Raven, and the band also has a
different drummer these days: Ted Parsons, who was chosen by Dave
Grohl. Grohl, the former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman,
will tour with Killing Joke next year. He appears on the group's new,
eponymously titled 11th album, a return to the band's hard-rock roots.
Coleman moved to New Zealand in 1992 as part of his spiritual quest,
and the view from what he calls "an island at the end of the earth"
continues to fuel and inform his music. "At the heart of Killing Joke
is that farm," he says. "It's not enough to tour around the industrial
centers of the world moaning about how bad things are without having
some sort of blueprint of something that's better. At the end of the
day, I believe very much in sustainable resources. The water wars and
the resource wars are just beginning and [governments] are not being
frank with us about it. I think the world is dreadfully corrupt."
Among the current items on Coleman's always-packed list of things to
do: conduct an Arabic orchestra, get the Doors to speak to one another
again, and play onstage with his metal band. Through all of these
occupations, his mystic journey continues.
"All terrestrial life is amplified in certain areas," he says. "Prague
is one of those places, and hidden in the masonry, in the architecture
of Prague, is the hidden history of mankind. That's another one of my
The Killing Joke gig at Akropolis is being billed as a celebration. If
Coleman in person is any indication, it should also be a lot of fun.