(From Kerrang!, UK music magazine, exact date unknown)
MURDER MOST FOUL
With a pedigree that most bands would kill for - they include ex-members of Ministry and Killing Joke to name just two - Chicago-based noise merchants MURDER INC have come up with an eponymous debut LP that MORAT reckons puts them on the winning side. What better setting to meet the band than the city of a thousand serial killers? ...
Gospel radio blares at full volume as the cab driver points out local points of interest, like McDonalds and the Hard Rock Cafe. A blanket of snow covers the city, bright white against the concrete backdrop that is Chicago.
No wonder this is a breeding ground for mass murderers like Henry Lee Lucas, Richard Speck, John Wayne Gacy, William Heirons and the Mafia. Sweet Home Chicago, my arse!
Ex-Killing Joke guitarist Geordie Walker, now with the suitably named Murder Inc, isn't impressed with the city either. For the last three days he's been holed up in his smoke-filled hotel room, and has only come out for food or to join us in the bar at night.
Only two of the band (vocalist Chris Connelly and drummer Martin Atkins) live here, so why work here?
"There aren't distractions in Chicago," Geordie points out. "But I'm sure it would really get to you after awhile."
Isn't it difficult being in a band who hail from different parts of the world?
"Not these days," shrugs the Rutger Hauer lookalike.
Surely bands are supposed to hang out together and all that crap?
"Well, if a band's a mutual appreciation society I'm f**king sure they do," laughs Geordie, lighting another cigarette, "but if it's a band that's at world touring stage it doesn't matter where you live does it?"
The funny thing is that Murder Inc have written, recorded and released an album before they've even been out on the road.
"Yeah, but f**king think about it," Geordie exhales into a smoke screen. "With the pedigree of the members, it's not a real risk, is it?"
He's got a point. We're talking members past and present of Ministry, Killing Joke, Pigface, PiL, Revolting Cocks and Warrior Soul to name but a few. Drummers Big Paul Ferguson and Martin Atkins are powerhouse skin-bashers that most bands would kill for, with them both being ex-Killing Joke, how on earth did they come to be working together?
"When we decided to do this I just rang Big Paul and said, 'Do you wanna do a record?'," explains Geordie. "I either thought it would be a complete nightmare having the two of them together, or just f**king unbelievable. It turned out unbelievable.
"Paul's different to Martin. Martin's very busy, very flash, lots of ideas, and Paul's just got this... it just grunts! The two of them together are great; it's the sound that I've always been interested in, a massive drum sound. I was stuck in a different room doing the guitar, but I saw the two drummers playing together and it geed me right up!"
Perhaps because there's such a strong Killing Joke link, there is an uncomfortable atmosphere when band members get together. Shortly after the interview Geordie sods off to Detroit on his own, so a couple of hours later in Atkins' home/studio/office on the wrong side of town I ask about the vibes.
"I can't stand to be with Geordie, to tell the truth," says bassist Paul Raven.
"I started having a hotel room as far away as I could get," admits Atkins, "so if Geordie's on the 16th floor on the left I ask for a room on the first floor on the right!"
All the same, there's no denying that Geordie is one of the most influential and original guitarist to have emerged from the post-punk noise scene. With Killing Joke being, briefly, one of the finest bands on earth, it must be a hard act to follow.
"The music sounds nothing like Killing Joke," says vocalist Connelly, "and there was no, 'Okay Chris, try and do a Jaz Coleman'."
"What, sing out of tune about black magic?" laughs Atkins, referring to the ex-vocalist's obsession with the occult. "It's very different to Killing Joke. It would have been a travesty if it had sounded like them. So many bands now are plugged into that early Killing Joke sound, and it was great for us to come out with something ground-breaking. I'm sure in a few years time a lot of people will sound like this."
Maybe so, but aren't you worried that working in such a god-forsaken part of town, Murder Inc might become Murdered Inc?
"You can get a f**king glass in your neck in Portobello Road just as easily as you can get shot here," grunts Raven.
"I feel safer walking around Chicago than Edinburgh," opines Scots-born Connelly. "I feel nervous walking around in Edinburgh."
Are you called Murder Inc because of the city's abundance of notorious serial killers?
"Murder Inc was a name coined at a trial in New York," explains Raven, "where Jewish businessmen hired the Mafia to kill off their business rivals..."
"...And so when we decided to kill off other bands," grins Atkins, "we thought we'd assault the charts by simply murdering..."
"Teenage Fanclub for a start!" explodes Raven. "F**king retrogressive shite!"
Sounds like fighting talk to me - and certainly I reckon Murder Inc are on the winning side.