“He smashed up my parents’ house three times”. Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman on how Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones was a regular guest at his family home

Jaz Coleman and Brian Jones
(Image credit: Getty)

As the frontman of Killing Joke, Jaz Coleman is one of music’s most entertaining and dynamic figures. He is all things to all people: a wide-eyed post-punk maverick, an art-metal visionary, a mystic warrior (and also, outside of Killing Joke, a classical composer, actor and shaman). In an interview with Metal Hammer in 2006, he looked back to his younger days growing up in Cheltenham, and revealed that some of his earliest memories were Rolling Stones guitarist and founder Brian Jones visiting the family home.

“I met Brian Jones at a very early age,” Coleman said. “I remember him lifting me up and putting me on top of a fruit machine. He asked me, ‘Do you believe in Christmas?’ I said, ‘No’. He asked me, ‘Do you believe in magic?’ I said, ‘No,’ and he said, ‘You will do one day’. I’ll carry that with me for life.”

It’s not the only lasting memory that Coleman has about the guitarist. “Brian Jones also smashed up my parents’ house three times and got a certain member of my family up the duff as well,” he said, matter-of-factly.

Speaking to Classic Rock earlier this year, the Killing Joke frontman elaborated on Jones’ connection to the Coleman family:  

“My Grandma Pandy was close to Brian. He trusted and confided in her, referring to her affectionately as ‘his pal’. With Brian, the bad-boy image of the Stones was by no means contrived when we look at some of his earlier behaviour patterns. Cliff, a friend of Uncle Bob’s, remembers Brian breaking into gas meters with a crow bar in order to extract a booty of shillings. Uncle Bob referred to him as a thief, but grandma Pandy called him (in broad Cockney) a ‘randy bantam’!

"My mother was more explicit when I questioned her on this. She described Brian as bright, a possible sex addict and occasionally malicious. I pushed her for more details. Ma C replied that he would go with anything – he was a womaniser with an insatiable appetite. I personally could not find anything wrong with this.”

Jones died in 1969, drowning in his swimming pool. Ten years later, Coleman would form Killing Joke, and perhaps Jones’ words about believing in magic were still ringing in his ears.

Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.