(From the Western Mail, 8 October 2003.)


Killing Joke: Back, but Who's Laughing?


by Karen Price



THERE are few groups who can match Killing Joke for sheer rock'n'roll intensity.

Formed in Notting Hill in 1978 by Jaz Coleman, Geordie, Youth and Paul Ferguson, they lit up the post-punk music scene in the UK thanks to a rhythmic fury, inflammatory imagery and borderline psychotic stage performances. Often misunderstood for both their doom-laden lyrics and their black humour, Killing Joke nonetheless harboured a near uncontrollable rage at authority to match their political pretensions.

With the route to inevitable world domination signposted by classic singles Wardance and Eighties, the band self-combusted spectacularly prior to third album Revelations when Jaz - fuelled by his occult obsessions - fled to Iceland fearing imminent Armageddon.

With the apocalypse unforthcoming, the band reformed several times, most notably for 1990's Extremities, Dirt and Various Repressed Emotions, though they never recaptured the intensity of old.

They bowed out with the Tony Blair-baiting 1996 album Democracy, leaving their doom-laden legacy to those fans who'd now formed bands themselves: The Cult, Nirvana, Metallica, Faith No More, Nine Inch Nails and beyond.

Until now that is. Recorded in London and LA and produced by Andy Gill (Gang Of Four, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Killing Joke's brand new self-titled album sees them back to their brooding best. Featuring all of their original line-up plus none other than long-term fan Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters/Nirvana) on drums, it's the pulverising hard rock classic Killing Joke always threatened to make.

Now living an idyllic life on a Polynesian island, Jaz is clear about his reasons for getting the band back together.

'I'm fascinated by music in all its forms and I certainly don't need the money to reform Killing Joke. I just know that we have to do this thing. For ourselves, but most of all for the thousands of fans in the States, Europe and South America who want to see us play live again. To me that's what it's all about.'

Killing Joke return to Wales at Cardiff Coal Exchange on October 13 at 7.30pm.