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Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman: I could have saved Heath Ledger

Jaz Coleman
Jaz Coleman in a still from the Hosannas From The Basement Of Hell video

Killing Joke (opens in new tab) frontman Jaz Coleman says he could have saved the late Heath Ledger if he had known him.

Ledger died in 2008, with a toxicology report finding that the Australian actor died from an accidental overdose.

And in a new interview with the Life In The Stocks (opens in new tab) podcast, Coleman says Ledger based his Joker character in 2008 Batman flick The Dark Knight on Jaz in the music video for Killing Joke's Hosannas From The Basement Of Hell.

Coleman says: “Petr Zelenka, who was the director of 2002 film Year Of The Devil, directed the video for Hosannas From The Basement Of Hell

“I was drunk and overweight and fucking nasty – and stills from that video were used by Heath Ledger, who studied me for that part as the Joker in The Dark Knight over and over again.

“He had pictures and stills of me everywhere. I was overweight and fucking drunk and smashing things up and fucking going mental. He used that from Hosannas and other stuff he’d heard about me as the model for that character. That is true."

Explaining the face-paint he used in the video and what he wears on stage, Jaz adds: "It's because I have some experience with occult forces. It’ll send you crazy, this energy. 

"I use the mask as protection. Even when I don’t use it, I use it just a little bit sometimes because I know that it will send you mad – this energy of the harlequin madman or fool. The eleventh path on the tree of life this energy – I know exactly what it is. And I know exactly what it does.

“I’ve had a 40-year experience with it. I could’ve saved Heath Ledger if I’d known him. You have to do certain things when you work with these energies. Energies are very real."

Killing Joke are currently on tour across North America (opens in new tab), with dates planned through until the end of November.

Scott looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.