(From the Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 27 August 2003.)
Matt is Here -- The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but Gossip
by Matt Frilingos
Nevermind the joke
The release of influential UK post-punk rock act Killing Joke's latest album has helped to heal some old wounds.
Believe it or not, Nirvana's classic, Come As You Are, from their album Nevermind, comes frighteningly close to being a rip-off of Killing Joke's '80s single, Eighties.
Killing Joke frontman Jaz Coleman said before the recording of the band's new self-titled album, he got blind drunk with Dave Grohl backstage at a gig and all was forgiven.
"He said 'I wasn't the guitarist, I was just the drummer'," Jaz laughs.
The two agreed Grohl should have a go at playing drums on the new record.
"Our initial idea was to get our three favourite drummers on the record," he says.
"When Dave heard it - him being one of our favourite drummers - he wanted to do the whole thing.
"We got the guy from System Of A Down in for three tracks but we wiped them all because Dave was infinitely superior."
Jaz, who is known for his psychotic stage performances and as the guy who famously fled to Iceland in the late '80s, fearing Armageddon, has seemingly mellowed a bit in recent times.
Since Killing Joke's last album, 1996's Democracy, Jaz has spent most of his time working on classical music.
He produced two albums for violinist Nigel Kennedy and one for opera singer Sarah Brightman, conducted and composed for the Prague Symphony Orchestra and had his own opera premiere at London's Covent Garden.
Oh and he also acted in a movie called Year of the Devil, playing the devil himself.
Now that's more like it.
"I just finished doing the V2 Festival and we've just done 18 shows that have been just explosive," Jaz says.
"We're now preparing for one year on the road. It's a wonderful experience spending time with your band in its 25th year. They remain my closest friends. The band is playing like I've never ever heard them.
"Things get better with age . more explosive than any record that we've ever done before. I've done so much orchestra that I'm just really ready for this."
Killing Joke are touring Australia in November. Though they haven't been here since 1985, Jaz reckons the audience won't just be filled with people on the wrong side of 30.
"Everything's been sold out and when I look at the fan base, there's predominantly people who were probably about one or two when we put our first record out, but of course we get some people who actually know our history," he says.