[kj] The weird and wonderful wisdom of Jaz Coleman (louder sound)

Paul dubecho at gmail.com
Wed Jan 15 14:25:29 EST 2020


*The weird and wonderful wisdom of Jaz Coleman*
By Ian Fortnam

Killing Joke vocalist Jaz Coleman joins us to talk classical music, the
survival of mankind and why he's banned from politics

[image: Jaz.jpg]
(Image credit: Spinefarm Records)

As Killing Joke step into their fifth decade as a band, ferociously intense
frontman Jaz Coleman laughs loud and long in the face of imminent global

At the tail end of last year, he was bringing his blood-curdling roar to
bear on packed US arenas as Tool's US tour support. When we caught up with
him, it was on the night he launched his classical magnum opus *Magna
Invocatio: A Gnostic Mass For Choir And Orchestra Inspired By The Sublime
Music Of Killing Joke*.

Across an insubstantial pub table, a jet-lagged, adrenalin-pumped Coleman –
eyes wide, soul ablaze – let rip with every ounce of his uniquely
passionate fury.

It was an awesome spectacle, like gazing into the abyss, but in a good way.
Here, the world according to Jaz Coleman.

*On the cult of Killing Joke*"Killing Joke gave me everything. It gave me
my life. It's my university. My best friends. My global family.

"Things are changing so fast on the planet now and I have the feeling that
we need Killing Joke more than ever. I see Killing Joke more as service,
it's a mission that we took holy vows on, actually. When I consider the
third movement of Magna Invocatio, and those vows that I took as a teenager
with Paul (Ferguson), here I sit with you, 42 years later and Killing Joke
is truly on the verge of becoming a global phenomenon like never before.

"We're being guided, and for Big Paul and myself it is truly, truly a
mystery, and the sense of being with everybody at this time – that we are
all in this together – and you get this feeling with Killing Joke. When
we're on tour in America, or anywhere, we see hundreds of people going from
gig to gig. Hundreds. And you're like one big family, and everybody is in
the same boat together and I'm so proud of what we've accomplished in
Killing Joke. We open up our soundchecks, not for 500 bucks or 5000 bucks,
but to Gatherers [the term for Killing Joke's devoted fanbase] where we
meet and talk and see our old friends, and we don't need security people
and bodyguards with guns because we personally throw people out of our
dressing rooms if they're out of order.

"It's our lives, you see. All of us signed up for counterculture. We're not

*On touring*
"When you're on these tours, you're like a coiled spring. It's the only way
I can describe it. You're in this holding position, and that intensity
increases, the spring gets tighter and tighter, and then bang, you're
onstage, and bang, it's released, and you're down again. And then the next
day, the tension comes back again – unless it's a day off – and so you're
in the brace position again.

"When you stop the tour, you go fucking mad, man, because your body's ready
for action – 'where's the gig?' In the old days it used to be “I've been
looking after the baby, it's your turn now... Catch.

"We all started going mad, so these tours that we're doing now, they ain't
long compared to what we used to do. Long is like when you go away for ten
months, you don't see your kids for ten months. We used to be like that
after a lot of the long tours we did. So we used to go to a halfway house
[when they were finished]."

*On the United Nations*"I would never have thought in my wildest dreams
that Killing Joke would be the official music of the United Nations. But it
is. Last week I was a guest at the United Nations, an official guest, and
they told me that under this Trump administration – because the US accounts
for 23% of the UN's revenue, and the Trump administration refuse to pay the
UN – everybody at the United Nations, and the United Nations do so many
things, this is the last month that everybody's getting paid. That's it.
Yeah, that's the state the world's in. I just couldn't believe it when they
were telling me this shit."

*On politics*"Bob Pandy, from the song The Pandys Are Coming, is the guy
who gave me my political education, if you like. The guy who asked me to
think about what a terrorist was, and pointed out that most of Israel's
founding fathers were terrorists and later on Margaret Thatcher, in my
lifetime, said that Nelson Mandela should be executed.

"I don't know whether you are aware of it, but the United Nations
officially ranked the United Kingdom a third world nation, and how they
come to this conclusion is because they measured the disparity between the
rich and poor, and that's what determines what a third world nation is. I
didn't know this. Look at this country. You've got pre-school nurseries
using food banks, meanwhile we're upgrading Trident which costs £400
billion. 400 fucking billion? What? Weapons of mass destruction? Did we
just go to war for that? Think about it. It's insane. [Jaz realises he's
shouting and takes a moment to throttle back while staring deep into our
already ravished soul]. It's insane.

"So we are here and they have mismanaged this nation, whoever 'they' are,
but it's a bloody mess and I could probably do better. But I'm forbidden
from going into politics. I've been asked. And that was the third time that
I have been officially asked to go into politics, and I officially said
'no!' A daughter made me swear I would never go into politics. She said
'You can do more to change the world with art', and I believe this and I
heed her counsel."

Jaz Coleman - The Raven King (Visualiser) <https://youtu.be/sTX7X5GzGsw>

*On keeping fit*"I'm in pretty good shape, mate. You wouldn't wanna fight
me. I'm physically strong, you know what I mean [Jaz slaps his chest]. I'm
strong. What happened to me is, I went fishing on the rocks, the fucking
tide came in, I threw my rod away and climbed up this cliff face because
the tide had come in, and at that point I didn't have enough upper body
weight to pull myself up. One of my ankles is metal, from a previous
accident and that wouldn't grip, and it was fucking scary, and I thought,
'If I get out of this I'm going to put some upper body weight on' [Jaz
laughs explosively and implausibly loudly]. I can do ten pull ups, I can
get over the fence in a run. I make sure that I'm fit enough to be in any
police force in the world – that means you've got to be able to do 35 push
ups, and that's easy for me. I can do that no problem. I'm a fanatic. It's
mind over matter. I don't mind and you don't fucking matter. HA! [Jaz
laughs and laughs and laughs].”

*On a new Killing Joke album*"Killing Joke's next album, that we're just
about to do, is lining up to be the biggest thing we've ever done. We can
feel it in our blood, and it excites us and terrifies us, and it's a
wonderful thing. With Killing Joke, you just know when a monster's coming,
and a monster's coming. And the thing is we've all got to live through the
year that's coming and I have to tell you that it's the worst astrology
that you can think of, this year coming. It's dire. We've just got to
survive, mankind."

*On the survival of mankind*“We're having this conversation pretty much on
the eve of World War III. World War III has already started happening, it's
a shadow war at the moment, but the feeling is that next year is going to
be so awful for humans on Planet Earth. World peace is on my mind a bit,
and the realisation that mankind is most certainly at war with himself. You
see, I have an interest in the study of the human genome and I am convinced
there is a part of us that doesn't belong here. That part of us doesn't
really like food in a natural state, it doesn't like sunlight too much, and
that's one of the reasons why I've come to embrace transhumanism [a
philosophy that advocates for the transformation of the human condition by
developing technologies to enhance human intellect] because I feel that
mankind needs further augmentation.

"I think that in his current state he is a very dangerous animal, human
beings cannot be trusted in government, the only way we could have a secure
form of democracy is if governments took on a form similar to jury service.

"So my time is spent thinking about, dreaming about the notion of world
peace and mankind living in harmony with the Earth. And the Earth is, of
course, intelligent and very much alive. And when you consider there's been
over 3,000 atomic tests done on the planet you see how fucked up mankind
is. If you consider for one second that if we effect a particle locally we
effect it universally – meaning that if we let off a nuclear bomb of a
billion horse power per cubic centimetre, it doesn't just happen on our
world, it happens in the many worlds – that's why, after the first atomic
explosion in 1945, in '47 we had mass UFO sightings that were seen by
people such as [ex-US President Jimmy] Carter. We are at a very interesting
time in human history, where potentially we will wake up to who we really
are, and a really mysterious history of mankind."

*On the revolution*"It's a climate for revolution, now. But I don't know. I
think people have become zombie-fied, not that I think a revolution is
always a good thing. Look at the terror of the French Revolution, and then
after that Napoleon crowned himself Emperor, so what did it accomplish? But
when you look at the background to the French Revolution, for example, four
years before the French Revolution, 52 volcanoes erupted, and it plunged
Europe into four years of darkness and crop failure, and that precipitated
the French Revolution. That could easily happen again. For example, if
India and Pakistan went to war we'd be in fifteen years of nuclear winter,
or a super volcano, it could easily happen to us again. Look at Iceland the
other year. Volcanic activity is increasing, so we're at that stage."

Magna Invocatio (Gloria) <https://youtu.be/8Rdd8mmmZro>

*On climate change*"Is Extinction Rebellion the new punk? We're living in a
sixth extinction period. If you go to Angkor Wat in Cambodia you can see
the ancients marked out the old equator with a system of temples around the
world so they could warn us about what's about to happen, and when you go
to Angkor Wat you can see the bas relief of stegosauruses and stuff which
were tramping over the planet when mankind was here, and what they are
saying is that this is going to happen again. It goes in cycles. Here's the
thing: disaster will probably dictate the next stage. I think that if we
can reach planetary consciousness we can actually change events.”

*On America*"America, since the concept of America started, has only not
been at war for 64 days in its entire existence. It's a war-like nation,
and it's a failed experiment, going the way of the Soviet Union.

"I've just come from America and when you have 80% of the population who
are just two paycheques away from homelessness, it's the end. We saw tent
cities that reached for miles round every city in America. It's worse than
they're saying. The worst thing about it is that it's so heartless as a
society, there are more people in prison than in college in America and I
don't feel that the United Kingdom and the people of the United Kingdom
have ever been critical enough of America. That's why I left, because it's
so reactionary in this country, there's no history of revolution and the
people just bend over and supply the Vaseline.

"It's been reported that 530,000 Americans filed for bankruptcy this year
due to an inability to pay medical bills. Yet still the majority reject
free healthcare, it's a baffling dichotomy. A throwback to the 'don't work,
don't eat' pioneer ethic and it's hard to see what people in this country
find so attractive about such a system."

*On turning 60*"I'm two months away from my sixtieth birthday and my
children haven't all met yet. I've got lives in different places around the
world and all sorts of things like this that are strange. I do feel closer
to the ultimate truth. One of the things I wanted to know at the start of
our career was about the power structure of the earth and now I have a very
good idea about that, and to see ourselves in the context of it. I want to
contribute, I want to make life more beautiful. I feel that we are coming
up to the most important time. Now. In Killing Joke's career for sure. And
in my career.”

*On the St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra*“Quite a few years back I
had a very dodgy manager, and I was meant to go and work with the Moscow
State Film Orchestra. When I got to Moscow it was a different orchestra,
and more to the point, they couldn't play my music and I ended up throwing
things at this orchestra. It's on film somewhere actually... Anyway, I was
fucked because they ran off with the money, or some of them ran off with
the money, and so I was then going to be sued by the record company for not
delivering the record.

"So I wrote a letter to the Minister of Culture, telling him about my
predicament and the next thing I knew, I'm heading for St Petersburg and I
go and do a press conference where they asked me what I thought about Pussy
Riot. And I said: 'I think the members of Pussy Riot should have an extra
six months in Siberia for making such terrible music.' And they all started
laughing, so after that I got the job with the State Orchestra.

"But then when I wanted to do Magna Invocatio last year, when I went to St
Petersburg I was upgraded to the country's oldest orchestra, and so was my
conductor (Yuri Serov). He's been with the State Orchestra all his life,
and his father and his grandfather, so he was upgraded to the St Petersburg
Philharmonic also and I suddenly had an elite orchestra that I didn't know
I was going to get. It was just an amazing experience to hear the music
that you have in your possession come back for the first time in Russia. It
was transcendental. Out of this world. Magnificent. Beyond.”

*Magna Invocatio – A Gnostic Mass For Choir And Orchestra Inspired By The
Sublime Music Of Killing Joke is available now via Spinefarm Records*
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