Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman pays tribute to late guitarist Geordie Walker: “When the going got tough and the money ran out, others left – you never.”

Geordie Walker onstage in 2022
(Image credit: Lorne Thomson/Redferns)

Killing Joke singer Jaz Coleman has paid tribute to his band’s late guitarist Kevin “Geordie” Walker on social media.

Walker died on November 26, aged 64, after suffering a stroke. Along with Coleman, he was the sole constant member of Killing Joke, co-founding the band with the singer in 1978. His unique, distorted riffs helped make songs like The Wait and Wardance cult classics, inspired such future players as Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, and shaped the post-punk and industrial rock genres.

Coleman posted his lengthy and heartfelt message to Instagram today (December 28). The singer, 63, expressed his long-running love for Walker, his grief at the guitarist’s passing and his gratitude for having known him.

Coleman also implied that Killing Joke will continue with the aim of fulfilling Walker’s “remaining goals” and implementing “radical changes which [Walker was] both passionate and empathetic about”.

The post reads in full:

“My dearest Geordie, for days I have been staring at the blank paper in front of me unable to write anything. How does one begin to convey this immeasurable sadness within? Or reduce the last 45 years into a few paragraphs? The epic journey we have shared together – the hardships and the victories, thousands of concerts, the multiple lives we have experienced together in this short life across the world. None of it would have been possible without your unfaltering resolve. When the going got tough and the money ran out, others left – you never. Over four and a half decades the only constant witness was you. The only individual to have attended every single KJ concert and recording since our genesis.

“All of us who have ever loved KJ owe so much to you. I am overwhelmed by grief; nothing can fill the terrible void you have left for you were the other part of me. I spent more of my life with you than my own blood brother, or any other human being for that matter. And, although in recent years we were separated by my sobriety, you always knew I was never far away from you, and you could rely on me if you needed me.

“I wish I could've been by your side in your final hours to give you comfort. Nevertheless, I take solace that your dad Ron, Terry Cox, [ex-Killing Joke bassist Paul] Raven, and Alan Glover were all waiting for you on the other side, and that you will wait for me when my time comes. We found each other before, and we will do so again.

“I want you to know how privileged I feel to have been the first person you met in London back in the seventies, and one of the last people to have an in-depth conversation with you before your parting. I know of your hopes, musical aspirations, and remaining goals for KJ – radical changes which you were both passionate and empathetic about. I know you will whisper in my ear and guide me in all my future endeavours. Thy will be done.

“Geordie, my beloved brother, you live in my heart for evermore. I shall never recover from your passing. Your work will shine on 'til the end of time.

“Your loyal and ever-loving brother. Jaz #jazcolemanofficial #killingjoke #geordiewalker”

In 2022, Metal Hammer journalist Stephen Hill described Killing Joke as “one of the finest cult acts this country has ever produced”.

He elaborated: “They’ve evolved from their early gritty punk and dub mash up, to touch on industrial metal, goth melodrama, slick new wave pop and much, much more over their time together, in the process inspiring everyone from Metallica to Nirvana to LCD Soundsystem.

“It’s been a wild ride - to our knowledge, no other band fled to Iceland during the '80s in the hope of escaping the apocalypse - but, the band's current line-up is the same as the 'classic' line-up they began with, namely Geordie Walker on guitar, Youth on bass, 'Big' Paul Ferguson on drums and Jaz Coleman on vocals. And remarkably, perhaps uniquely, they sound as fearsome now as they did 40 years ago.”

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.