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 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 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, with dates planned through until the end of November.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.