KIller Clowns from Other-Space



I've been trying to wrap my head around the events of the past two weeks, on account it seems like somebody might have opened a Gate or broken a Seal somewhere. I'm still waiting for some fresh shoes to drop so please bear with me while the apocalyptic cake bakes. But then again, you don't probably need to tell you just how weird everything seems to have gotten out there, as if the Watchers may have come back from vacation and wanted to hit the ground running.

Well, we know how this all started, but the Secret Sunnification of the entire world isn't truly complete without a certain quartet of apocalyptic horsemen. And right on cue, they done rode into town...







Killing Joke kicked off their 40th Anniversary (kill me) tour in Cyloneattle, a top testing ground for world enslavement that damn well could use some Joke. Indeed, the band's second life kicked off in 2003 with a self-titled slab of scorching apocalyptic jeremiads inspired by 9/11 and the Iraq War and they've been raging against the machines ever since.

That album, produced by Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill, not only saw Foo Fighter Dave Grohl slamming the cans as a short-term Joker it was drenched in anti-NWO lyrics so paranoid, pissed-off and radical they make Alex Jones sound like Anderson Cooper on molly.

They're the kind of righteous rants Bill Cooper might have find a bit over-the-top. But that's been pretty much all their lyrics ever since.

The album inspired a host of YouTube pamphleteers who threw up homemade collages of current horror stories with KJ soundtracks faster than the Thought Police could yank them down. "Total Invasion" was a favorite and a couple are still up. Use caution if you go hunting, some of them get pretty graphic.



All of Killing Joke are also involved in esoteric pursuits to some extent or other and some of you might have heard the story that the band broke up for a short time in 1982 to decamp to Iceland and sit out the approaching Apocalypse. And then sheepishly slinked back to London when it didn't come. We all make mistakes.

And I'm sure most of you know that Killing Joke has inspired pretty much every hard rock and metal band that followed them, in one way or the other. The articles always cite Nirvana, Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails and Ministry but that's not even the start of it.

They're also in large part responsible for inspiring Nu Metal, but we won't hold that over them.



Some of you might also know that Killing Joke singer Jaz Coleman is a serious occultist and is very tight with Jimmy Page. I've been told by a very inside source that Jaz is one of a tiny handful of people that Page allows into his private Crowley library.

But for all his occult connections and all his hoodoo mambo man posing none of it would amount to anything more than a LARP if Jaz didn't have a human riff-factory standing behind him, tearing open dimensional gateways with his hollow-body Gibson.


What I mean to say is that Jaz Coleman is an occultist but Kevin "Geordie" Walker IS THE OCCULT. 

Let me see if I can explain.



Back in the much-maligned first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation there was an episode called "Where No One Has Gone Before." The premise was that a big-deal Starfleet engineer was coming onboard the Enterprise to tune up the engines and so forth. The problem was that the engineer was actually coding in utter gibberish and the real work was done by his alien adjutant, the Traveler.

But then all manner of spacely hijinks ensue and the crew find themselves on the other side of the Universe. Worse, the Traveler is phasing in an out of different realities, as one does, and soon reality goes kerblooey all over the ship. Then Wesley saves the day, bla bla bla.

So the engineer thinks he's the shit but he's just a loudmouthed loon and the magic is all being done by the quiet guy in the corner. I don't want to go too far with the analogy here but when it comes to the conjuring, Geordie is the guy phasing in and out of dimensions and Jaz is the guy screaming about Lovecraft's Old Ones returning.

No, literally. Jaz actually released a double-album where he rants for an eternity (or an hour) about precisely that.





What gives Coleman's nightmare visions such heft is that they're laid atop slabs of molten iron guitars, over riffs so non-Euclidean yet so god-damned catchy that you could have seals barking over them and it would still come out totally metal.

This video here is a perfect marriage of music and movie. Geordie's guitar can often (OK, usually) sound like some infernal machine, some nightmare-factory from another world. Especially since his style is heavily reliant on trance-inducing repetition.

I WENT TO HELL BUT I GOT BETTER

Hey, did I ever tell you about the time I went to Hell and when I got back I couldn't listen to Killing Joke for two years? No?

Well then, let me tell you a story...




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Back in the early 80s, angel dust was a huge problem. It was especially a problem since dealers liked to sprinkle a bit of it on weed to give their customers a little extra bang for their buck.
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Well, one fine day I wandered out to the smoking area (which doubled as an open-air drug bazaar) in front of my high school and scanned around for a friendly face. I found one, handed over my hard-earned dollar, pocketed my prize and went about my merry little way.
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I went home and partook it in this little wonder and decided it would be jolly smashing fun to give Killing Joke's What's THIS for? a spin. Not one of my best ideas.
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Art by longtime Killing Joke associate Mike Coles

Unbeknownst to me at the time, the parcel I'd obtained was carrying a chemical stowaway. I didn't notice anything out of sorts until all the light and color drained from the world, my limbs got filled with concrete and my bed became an endlessy-spinning vortex.
  

All of a sudden those pounding drums, distorted howls and flamethrower guitars didn't sound quite so entertaining.
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I tried to take the needle off the record but suddenly the turntable (which was next to my headrest) seemed like it was a hundred feet away and receding.

It was just one of a number of experiences I've had where I feared I had broken my mind. 

When it was finally over, I took the record carefully from the turntable, placed it gently in its sleeve and stored it under a pile of books and things on a shelf I knew I'd have scant occasion to rifle through. 

It stayed there for nearly two years. 



You see, you might hear me drone on endlessly about sweet-voiced sopranos, but Killing Joke is what it actually sounds like inside my head. In fact, it was that way long before the band even existed. I knew that sound. That guitar-- especially that fucked-up impossible guitar at the coda there-- was talking to me and it was a voice I'd heard for a very long time.

I knew it from those holographic nightmares I'd had since I was a wee wane. And as you might expect, there are also synchronistic emanations attached to them in meatspace involving dolphins. Because why not, right?

But oddly enough, I pre-knew songs like "The Fall of Because" from those warm summer nights in the 70s, holding seances with my youthful cohort in one of the worst places on Earth you could possibly go about trying to dial up the spirits. A fact we'd all learn soon enough when the world caved in on us.

Oddly enough, that all went down smack dab in the heart of Lovecraft Country. Innsmouth, in fact.


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So yeah, I've been thinking a lot about sound and sonic frequencies lately.
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I've read reams of material speculating on the use of sound in occult practice and its use in bridging dimensions. I've been thinking about how information we haven't yet learned to decode is embedded in music and singing. I mean, it's no surprise that a lot of ancient scripture was meant to be sung or that mantras and the like are such a major part of meditation.
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But I'd bet good money there's a lot more to it than that, though. More than we currently understand. I dunno, maybe more than we ever will.
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I obsess a lot over music because I grew up surrounded by it but also because I've experienced paranormal experiences through it. Things like out-of-body experiences at concerts and spirit possession while playing guitar (I actually caught one of those events on tape if you're at all interested).
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None of this is even remotely unusual to any serious musician. I mean, the very word music literally means to be possessed by the Muses, amirite? That's kind of the whole point.

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So when I think about songs like this, where Geordie is playing chords I never dreamed could actually be chords, in a song I felt like I first heard a thousand years ago (and possibly on another planet), I do have to wonder what exactly is behind it.

Because that doesn't sound like a guitar to me.
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It sounds a cybernetic demon-serpent spitting out horrible prophecies in the night. As opposed to Optimus Prime locked in a deathcage match with Gamera, which is how it sounds on the rest of that album.
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So why do I find it so invigorating?
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Well, Jaz has spoke of the immense darkness Killing Joke conjure as having a powerful homeopathic effect. In other words, you draw out the poison, play with it, cackle like a minah bird at it and then go back to your normal life feeling refreshed.
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With Geordie-- and as with all true shamans, he'd gag at this kind of pretentious flooble-- it reminds me how ancient exorcists were able to gain power over demons by learning their secret names. If you are the kind of person given to believe our world is being invaded by entities from places unknown, I'd think there's a tremendous advantage in that. What about you?
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So I knew the band was touring but wasn't too keen to go. Part of it is the hassle (I'm old) but part of it is not wanting to see 60 year-old guys playing metal. I saw Killing Joke in 1982 when they were barely in their 20s and seeing them well into their maturity might sully that effect.
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This is a bit inside baseball but this lineup-- the original lineup-- was never one of my favorites live. By far my favorite in the studio but not onstage. Not the same primordial fury as other lineups. I prefer my live Joke at Category 4 or higher.
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Killing Joke have gone through more drummers than a barrel full of Spinal Taps but they've all been pile-driving monsters like occasional Joker Jason Bould there (now in nu metal hitmakers Bullet for My Valentine), who is playing the drums like they said something rude about his mother. So do check out this mind-boggling performance of the darkly prophetic "Great Cull."

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Unlike most of their ilk, the Joke are capable of honest-to-God beauty and melodicism, probably because Jaz is a serious classical composer and Geordie was also classically trained when he was young. They all know real music.
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In fact, the next album is going to be a symphony based on the Killing Joke back catalog in the same way Jaz did the Symphonic Pink Floyd and Symphonic Led Zeppelin albums back in the 90s. With a Sumerian-language choir this time.
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Since bassist Youth is a producer who's worked with The Orb and Paul McCartney and scores of others, the Jokers also released a fucking absolute killer three-CD dub album a few years back. I think the original title was Suck on This, Clash but the record company made them change it.
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Don't quote me on that, though.
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THE FATAL CURSE OF KILLING JOKE
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Of course, I'd be remiss had I not talked about, y'know, the deaths.
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We touched on this briefly with Chester Bennington last year:
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On a slightly more ominous note, Linkin Park also lifted the title from Killing Joke's 1986 album Brighter Than a Thousand Suns, which was released on Jeff Buckley's 20th birthday. Longtime Secret Sun readers understand it's not a real good idea to piss off The Joke. (Incidentally, Chris Cornell is on record in claiming Killing Joke as his primary inspiration for forming Soundgarden).
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And here's where we looked at how not a good idea it was to piss off the Joke, from 2008:
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Here is another picture of Raven, which I believe was taken shortly before his death. He was not looking healthy for a few years before his death. One thing that is not well-known is that his most recent departure from Killing Joke was not amicable, and that he unleashed venomous tirades on his former bandmates on his MySpace blog. The posts vanished after his death and I haven't been able to track down them down as of yet.


Plus this.

So we have three individuals, now deceased, whom Killing Joke would have had reason to be displeased with. Kurt Cobain for his lift of the "Eighties" riff, Raven for leaving the band on the eve of an important tour and Ledger for appropriating Coleman's look.
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There is certainly no question of any sort of foul play, no possible suspicion of anything untoward, just three dead young men and strange synchronistic threads weaving between them and a band of practicing occult magicians, who recorded one of their biggest hits within the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid at Giza.
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In May of 2007, Killing-Joke.com moderator 'Jester' was tragically killed along with his 6 year -old daughter in a head-on collision in Texas. Killing Joke had played a benefit concert for Jester, who had suffered from cancer. But he and the band became at odds when Raven quit the band and Jester sided with the bassist.
And strangely enough, the first record made by Metallica after the death of bassist Cliff Burton included a cover of "The Wait," a Killing Joke setlist staple from their landmark first LP.
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This sort of thing is not new for Killing Joke - a strange energy has followed them around for several years. In a 1986 article entitled "The Fatal Curse of Killing Joke" Sounds journalist Neil Perry witnessed Coleman reveling in the fate of a fan who'd been impersonating Paul Raven: 

Five minutes later the rest of the band have departed and Jaz and I sit in the Virgin press office, waiting for a car. He hands me a recent cutting taken from a provincial paper, which tells of the death of a man who has been impersonating Raven for the last two years. Jaz is morose and darkly amused by the whole episode.
"Ha! We've known about him for some time. It was coming to him."
Sorry?

"It was coming to him, we knew about this chap."
But the fact that he got wiped out in a motorbike accident...?
"Raven took particular offence to it."
And it would be silly to draw any conclusions I know, but...
"It all depends on your intentions. If you associate with it, or use the name, it all depends on your intentions, what happens to you."
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As it happens I have a fresh example of this, after a fashion: two Howard Stern clones, Jim Norton and Louis CK tag-teaming on the Jokers on So Painfully Unfunny, You'll Despair for Ever Laughing Again, also known as The Opie and Anthony Show.
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Of course, these serial comedy-killers are all still among us. I guess the Curse was content to simply kill all their careers. Which something did. Killed them all dead.
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It's a lot crueler, you gotta admit.



I should mention I had two odd experiences with Killing Joke concerts. I won tickets on WFMU to see them at The Ritz in 1991 but when it came time to go my car keys vanished. I mean they were just gone. They didn't resurface until almost a year later.


Back around 2004 or so I went to see them in Philly at the TLA. There was a bad storm that night and I was debating not going. I went, got up front and waited for the band to come on. There were a couple of guitar nerds with preprinted tab charts who were going to try to figure out what chords Geordie played. Then a guy came out, said Jaz was really sick (read: 'drunk') and couldn't do the show. 

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