(From the Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 19 November 2003.)


Who's Laughing Now?


by Kathy McCabe



Killing Joke frontman Jaz Coleman is barking mad. Just look at his current resume - punk legend, classical music composer, priest and aspiring politician. No sane person could manage such a roster of roles. And then there's his crazy cackle.

Jaz is pumped about being back with Killing Joke, performing songs from their first new album in seven years.

"When we all get together, we tend to get into trouble," Jaz laughs. "We get into fights. The guitarist had to sit on a stool for the show the other night because he came off worst."

While members have come and gone, Killing Joke never split. They reconvened to record their current self-titled album last year with former Gang Of Four guitarist, Andy Gill, producing.

Everyone's favourite guest drummer, Dave Grohl, joined for the album but the touring line-up features Jaz, bassists Youth and Paul Raven, guitarist Geordie Walker and a couple of hired guns on drums and keyboards.

Like their music, Jaz is fiercely political - don't get him started on the war in Iraq - but admits to some self-censorship during their recent US tour.

"If I say what I really want to say in America, God knows what would happen," he says. "There are some marvellous people like Sean Penn and Bruce Springsteen raising their voices ... but as far as other musicians using their voice, it is very disappointing."

Jaz, based in NZ and Prague, has also kept a close eye on Australia's political landscape. "What's the story with John Howard? ... The question Australians have to answer is do you want to be a US-occupied country?" Jaz, who attaches Right Reverend to his name courtesy of a doctorate in theology, has said once he completes his next symphony and another Killing Joke tour next year, he will seriously consider a move into NZ politics. "I want to serve my country. And I will do it for no money and take second class travel and stay in one-star hotels," he says.

Killing Joke play The Metro tonight.

Why should you worship at the Killing Joke altar?

Besides the fact this band has influenced every decent punk and rock act to emerge in the past two decades, the Right Rev Jaz Coleman promises to deliver "peace of mind" at their noise-fests.

What other plans does Jaz have for Australian audiences?

"Tell the Sydney Symphony Orchestra I want to play with them. And the Australian Chamber Orchestra."