Ten Things You Might Not Know About Killing Joke

Earlier today we announced that Killing Joke are playing the Metal Hammer Golden Gods awards show – which is freaking nuts if you ask us. But if you’re not well-versed in the post-punk legends (or even if you are), we’ve put together this list of things you might not know about Jaz Coleman and co.

  • Drummer Paul Ferguson and vocalist Jaz Coleman first met when they were both in Zimbabwean vocalist Mataya Clifford’s backing band. They quit to start Killing Joke. * Their debut gig was at Witcombe Lodge in Cheltenham, when they opened for The Ruts and Selecter. That was on August 4, 1979.

Killing Joke circa 1980

  • In February 1982, Coleman and guitarist Geordie moved to Iceland. The reason being that they felt there was more chance of surviving the oncoming apocalypse, which Coleman predicted was imminent. * The band’s most successful album was 1985’s Night Time. This sold over 60,000 copies in the UK, where it peaked at number 11 in the chart. Killing Joke’s only Top 20 single in Britain came in 1985, when Love Like Blood reached number 16.
  • Metallica covered Killing Joke’s The Wait for their Garage Days Re-revisited EP in 1987. And six years later Helmet covered Primitive.
  • The band caused controversy with a poster supposedly showing Pope Pius IX walking down rows of Nazi solders giving the Hitler salute. In actual fact, the figure was German Abbot Schachleiter, who was known as a Nazi sympathiser. * In 2008, the original Killing Joke line-up reunited, following the death of bassist Raven. Coleman said at the time: “Everything came together when we all met at Raven’s funeral. It was funny the unifying effect it had on all of us. It made us realise our mortality and how important Killing Joke is to all of us.”

Killing Joke live, circa 1982

  • There have been nine full-time members of the band over the years. In addition, a further eight musicians have played with them live including Dave Grohl. * Killing Joke covered the Sex Pistols’ Bodies on the live album The Ongoing Unperverted Pantomime. It’s the only cover they’ve recorded. * The Foo Fighters covered Reqiuem as the B-side of the 1997 single Everlong.

Killing Joke live at Sonisphere 2011

To be in with a chance of seeing Killing Joke play the Metal Hammer Golden Gods you need to win tickets by voting in the Golden Gods here. Good luck!

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021