Killing Joke’s ever imposing, ever ebullient frontman, Jaz Coleman is preparing to take a flight to Morocco. There he plans to kick back in his regular one-star Marrakesh bolt-hole for a much needed recharge prior to unleashing a fresh Killing Joke assault in the new year.
There’s a Royal Albert Hall show on the horizon, and a new album, but prior to that there’s the serious business of selecting for Classic Rock the prime examples of the music that defines him.
Although, in the case of one question, he doesn’t appear to fully comprehend what it is that he’s being asked, admitting: “My guilty pleasure is being diabetes one, eating things I shouldn’t eat, and shooting up more insulin to compensate."
The first music I remember hearing
Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion. My mother made me follow the score when I was four years old. A compilation called Russian Orchestral Masterpieces, with Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Night On Bald Mountain.
The first song I performed live
Are You Receiving? with Killing Joke on August fourth, 1979 at Witcombe Lodge, Cheltenham, with The Selecter and The Ruts. It was the first time I’d seen my colleagues on stage.
The greatest album of all time
We’re from a generation that believes you can change the world through art and music; it’s just entertainment to subsequent generations. And if there’s one album that sums up this dream it’s Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon. It affected me profoundly, philosophically, and continues to affect me.
The guitar hero
Geordie Walker. He can play three guitar parts at once. I don’t know anybody who can do what Geordie does. His use of resonances, it’s mystifying. And there is no rhythm player quite like Geordie. His rhythm is immaculate.
Alex Harvey. He had great character to his voice – you can hear a man who’s lived. Bon Scott’s got the same sort of thing. There’s a sincerity in their voices. They’re hard guys. Hard, powerful people. Alex lived hard.
I’ve got to say Ludwig van Beethoven, because he’s a genius – and that’s a word I use sparingly. He was deaf from the age of thirty-one, so all of his most important works were created when he was stone deaf.
The best live album ever
Bob Marley And The Wailers’ Live!, recorded in 1975. Especially No Woman No Cry. That’s an example of a song where the live version is better than the studio version, and you can feel the atmosphere of history in the making.
The most underrated band ever
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Faith Healer is out of this fucking world. Still. They played Madison Square Garden at their peak, but subsequent generations don’t really know this band. So it’s my pleasure to introduce this track to a different generation. It’s so ahead of its time, and profoundly affected all of us in Killing Joke.
The cult hero
It’s got to be Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel. I first became aware of them in about 1974. I like the style of his vocals, and the orchestration and drama of their early recordings; The Psychomodo, all that kind of stuff. Some of it was brilliant.
My conduit from orchestral to rock
The sound that unites Killing Joke
We used to listen to Chic all the time. All four of us loved disco. There’s still an element of disco in what we do, but probably not enough. But reggae and disco were the sounds that united us all, and we still listen to these genres for recreation.
My Saturday might party song
It would be a mixture of bands, a punky reggae party. I’d go from something like Aswad’s New Chapter Of Dub to Jesus Built My Hot Rod by Ministry. Then I’d go from Nine Inch Nails to bits of Killing Joke. Doomsday by Discharge, then back to Culture’s Two Sevens Clash and so forth.
My 'in the mood for love' song
When I have breakfast, my partner puts on bossa nova. And I can recommend this with breakfast. It lifts your spirit. It’s out of my genre. I don’t know anything about this music, but I love it for breakfast. And for love? The Gotan Project’s first album La Revancha Del Tango. The modern form of tango is incredibly seductive.
The song that makes me cry
That has to be the only song that I like from this artist: A Thousand Kisses Deep by Leonard Cohen. He’s looking back on the years of an artist’s life, and the lyrics are just so profound on promiscuity and everything. He’s reflecting back and it’s just fabulous. Amazing.
The song I want played at my funeral
Well, I’m currently composing that, and we don’t want to hurry a good thing, do we?