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KILLING JOKE

This immensely powerful early 80s UK post-punk band combined a furious rhythm section with near psychotic performances from Jaz Coleman. The band came about when Coleman, of Egyptian descent, was introduced to Paul Ferguson, then drumming for the Matt Stagger Band. Coleman joined as a keyboard player, before incarnation added Geordie (born K. Walker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England) and Youth (born Martin Glover, Africa), who had made his first public appearance at the Vortex in 1977 with forgotten punk band the Rage. After relocating to Notting Hill Gate, London, they paid for a rehearsal studio and borrowed money from Coleman's girlfriend to release the Turn To Red EP
Picked up by BBC disc jockey John Peel, the band provided a session which would become the most frequently requested of the many he has commissioned. Via Island Records the band were able to set up their own Malicious Damage label, on which they released Wardance in February 1980. The single was notable for its remarkably savage b-side, Psyche: "Look at the Controller, a Nazi with a Social Degree, a middle class hero, rapist with your eyes on me". A succession of fine aggressive singles followed, alongside live appearances with Joy Division. They were in a strong enough position to negotiate a three album deal with EG, which allowed them to keep the name Malicious Damage for their records. After the release of a typically harsh debut album, the band were banned from a Glasgow gig when council officials took exception to posters depicting Pope Pius XII giving his blessing to two columns of Hitler's Brown Shirts. It was typical of the black humour which pervaded the band, especially on their record sleeves and graphics
After the recording of the third album was completed the band disintegrated when Coleman's fascination with the occult led him to the conclusion that apocalypse was imminent, and he fled to Iceland. He was followed later by Youth. When Youth returned it was to begin work with Ferguson on a new project, Brilliant. However, having second thought, Ferguson became the third Joker to flee to Iceland taking bass player Paul Raven (ex-Neon Hearts) with him. The Killing Joke output from then on lacks the menace which had made them so vital. However, Night Time combined commercial elements better than most, proffering the hit single Love Like Blood. Outside The Gate was basically a Coleman solo album wrongly credited to the band. They returned with their best album for years with 1990's Extremities, Dirt And Various Repressed Emotions, which saw the drumming debut of Martin Atkins (ex-Public Image Limited). However, the band broke up once more with bitter acrimony flying across the pages of the press the same year. While his former co-conspirators have pronounced Killing Joke dead, Coleman has pledged to continue under the name

Albums: Killing Joke (1980) | What's This For...? (1981) | Revelations (1982) | Ha! Killing Joke Live (1982) | Fire Dances (1983) | Night Time (1983) | Brighter Then A Thousand Suns (1986) | Outside The Gate (1988) | Extremities, Dirt And Various Repressed Emotions (1990)

Dates when they played with Joy Division:
Friday 8 February 1980 University College Union London (Bloomsbury) (UK)
Wednesday 20 February 1980 Town Hall High Wycombe (UK)
Friday 29 February 1980 Lyceum Ballroom London (Strand) (UK)


 

DETAILS

Line-up: Martin Atkins (drums) | Jaz Coleman (vocals/keyboards) | Paul Ferguson (drums) | Geordie (b. K. Walker (guitar) | Paul Raven (bass) | Youth (b. Martin Glover (bass)

Link to their website