Friday, February 01, 2008

Killing Joker: Further Down the Abyss

Well, the story is out. Leave it to Page Six, the gossip page of Murdoch's New York Post to go there first. But given the eerie parallels between Heath Ledger's death and that of former Killing Joke bassist Paul Raven, the fact that Page Six ran a shot of Ledger wearing a knit cap made me sit up and take notice, since that was Raven's trademark look.

I'm not sure when this picture was taken, but I'd imagine it was several years ago given Raven's relatively healthy look. This was probably during one of his sabbaticals from Killing Joke, probably here during his stint with New York-based metal band, Prong. I'm not sure if this picture was from Prong's 1994 tour with Pantera. Raven was close friends with Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, who was shot to death onstage in Ohio by an ex-Marine named Nathan Gale (whose birthday was on September 11, incidentally).

Here is Raven onstage with Killing Joke for their 25th Anniversary Concert in London, wearing his trademark cap. This concert was recorded for an album and a DVD. Jaz Coleman is again wearing a variation on his evil clown makeup.

Which brings us back to Mr. Ledger. Watching the Gathering DVD I was struck that the Batman producers could have saved themselves a lot of time and trouble in the makeup department simply by hiring Coleman, who is far more frightening in real life than some dumbass comic book super-villain.

On the CD The Courtauld Talks, Coleman prophesied the return of the 'Elder Gods' described in the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. Here is an excerpt, the full effect of which is hampered by the absence of Coleman's manic, hectoring delivery.

Hear me out, please.
The major means of contact between the conscious man and the Elder Gods are the forgotten ones. Now, the forgotten ones dwell in the individual and irrational unconscious. They are the gods of survival, they are pre-rational, they are blind and immensely powerful. Their force manifested in man as hunger, the sex urge, the 'fight or flight' adrenaline reaction and the tribal cohesion factor. Hunger constitutes the primary link between the Elder Gods and the forgotten ones. The search for nourishment antedates the desire for mating, even the asexual amoeba must eat to survive. The process consists of the intake and assimilation of energy either directly as in vegetable photosynthesis or indirectly by consuming energy-storing matter. The forgotten ones seek both matter and energy. Particularly in substances that consist of both modes: blood, mediumistic ectoplasm, the alchemical elixir; now, this type of substance is used to trap the forgotten ones into manifestation.

Dare we entertain it, to effectively counter a planetary invasion by the Elder Gods the forgotten ones must be summoned to consciousness. In the process the individual's demons will be released and must be reabsorbed, the forgotten ones must be comprehended and absorbed and the link that exists between them and the Elder Gods must be obtained and controlled by the will of the magician. The forgotten ones have been left to work and function in the lower levels of sentience, gathering power and accumulating explosive potential under pressure. Now, it is in the controlled release of these gods that the consciousness will be propelled beyond its present state and achieve the next and necessary condition of gestalt-consciousness.

I believ

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.

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. 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.

In May of 2007, 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.

I'm not trying to exploit or sensationalize these tragedies, I'm simply trying to connect the dots between them. Like Ledger, Paul Raven seemed to be one of those strange attractors, though Killing Joke itself is also certainly at the center of all of this real-life, synchronistic mayhem. The band has spent 30 years knocking on very strange doors. One is given to wonder who- or what- has answered their summonses.

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."

"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."

Post Script- Even if he had thought of it, Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan couldn't have cast Jaz Coleman as the Joker. Jaz is currently composer-in-residence for the European Union.


  1. "Jaz is currently composer-in-residence for the European Union."

    That's the frosting on this exceptionally nasty cake.

  2. That story-line runs even deeper than I had originally thought. Being that I am a Killing Joke fan, I say extremely good work here...\


  3. Deeper than I thought as well. Digging this stuff out I felt like I was careening down a hill with no brakes. I thought the scariness in KJ was from Geordie's insane riffs but that's just half the story. I can't think of another band with this kind of energy around it.

  4. I would agree...odd in some ways that they never saw much mainstream action. Although they have certainly been a huge influence on "counter-culture" and other musicians .

    I had seen that too Michael...does say much. Not unlike Eno. Who I was planning an article on.

  5. I was told that Motley Crue hired Killing Joke to open their tour because the Crue nicked bits from "Love Like Blood" for "Dr. Feelgood."

    Were they worried about being sued or did the Crue have someone with a greater awareness advising them? I can't help but think of what Mick Mars went through before that tour.

    This stuff is extremely weird.

  6. Ohhhh, I didn't realize that about the Crue...I'm sure they were being squeezed by lawsuits. Not unlike the Nirvana suit which they immediately dropped when Cobain offed himself.

  7. This is from one of the links:

    When we were in Manchester, our manager went and saw Tommy Lee—and they tour a bit differently than Killing Joke, let me tell you: They were all staying at different hotels, they each had their own limousines to the gig, and then they were told by their different tenders and sub-managers when to go to their little tents by the side of the stage. They wouldn’t speak to each other; then they’d go onstage, do the show and go back to their little tents. And they were charging 150 quid for people to go back to the tents, meet the band and have them sign posters. [Laughs] F++king hell! We didn’t meet them, but their crew was really nice to us. That was a funny adventure.

    So what happened when your manager went to see Tommy Lee?

    Tommy goes, “Right—Killing Joke. I love those guys. I’ve got like six of their albums. What are those guys doing these days?” [Laughs] He didn’t even know we were on f++king tour with him!

  8. Hi- This is off topic and I don't even know if it will get through but- how do you get on this blogger site to read blogs if you don't write one? Ive signed in but no cigar since I don't write a blog- I can't get anywhere. Is this a control measure? First Dream's End, now Battling the Behemoth- will you all be locked away soon? NO....

  9. Kirkita- Ben has taken his blog private for a short time for reasons I'm not certain about. Those blogs should be live again soo, from what I gather.

    You can get on the Sun, so spend more time here!

  10. Hi Chris- So nice of you to answer! Thanks! And I've listened to the music of the Cocteau Twins for the first time ever lately because of your interesting posts- Killing Joke next. Deeper and stranger.

  11. Cheers, K. I'm just trying to turn like-minded people onto new things I believe have greater significance so I'm very gratified by your interest.

  12. Does anyone have an explanation as to why Ben's sites are private? IT's been over a week now.

  13. Heath Ledger wears a wooly hat so Killing Joke are evil?

    You're all nuts

  14. This is insanely idiotic and not even coincidental. Someone needs to go outside and socialize with the world instead of the computer.

  15. Another satisfied customer! We're here to please.

  16. I've spent sometime getting to know this band called Killing Joke. I was browsing YouTube tonight and came across one of their videos, one thing led to another. Reviewing their music on iTunes, reading what Wikipedia had to say about them.
    Because they have been around for some time I thought I would see what Jaz Coleman looked like today, which when I googled his name and went to images this came up. So here I am....
    I thought your blog was in-depth with lots of links and facts, but I think this is just a way to start a myth of sorts.
    Why don't you put the idiocracies that you have on Killing Joke with maybe a blog on Brandon Lee and the last movie he was filming when he was murdered by an estranged bullet from a prop gun. I'm sure you will find so many interesting links to him and movie and the things he may have been involved in. I’m sure you can link about 50 people who have died or have been involved with death and persecution on their own's all relative.
    I find your blog interesting with a motive, why don't you also say that Magic Johnson who played for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 80's also listened to the Killing Joke. Maybe you can add because of his acts and relationship with their music, Magic Johnson received the AIDS virus...
    And I'm sure you can find more trash on anyone if only you put time into it...
    Keep up the work, I see where myths and legends form.

  17. Anonymous- I'm happy you're just now getting into Killing Joke. I've been into Killing Joke for almost 30 years. I first saw them in 1982. So take my word for it- Killing Joke themselves will know EXACTLY what I am talking about and there is ZERO doubt in my mind that they are totally down with what I am doing on this blog.

    In fact, your comment -Anonymous- has inspired me today to track Jaz down and turn him on to what's going on here so thank you very much.

    There's no trash here, only unusual truths.

  18. Getting nicked is usually sunchronized with things going on in your life. You don't just get picked-off for no reason.
    I could just as easily claim responsibility for Raven's death--having been socially involved with him shortly before he died and experiencing his lack of integrity. When you're powerful, people can not easily walk away from having known you...

  19. If You want to know the real meaning of the Pyramid Google search the May 15th Prophecy

    and You will see with 100% accuracy

  20. This is as good a place as any to get into this: watched part of the Killing Joke vid-felt it was more comedy than anything else, and that led to my own thoughts about 'reality'. First, that syncromysticism can easily be called 'lateral thinking' or 'intuitin' as anything else. When I was a young 'un, any media or art or personal experiences I happened across, I would often place various 'imprints' onto-watch a horror movie as a comedy (did you know that the first Halloween movie used a life mask of a young William Shatner?), or vice versa. I would also fool around with whatever interpretation I felt like at the time, primarily because I wanted to. The collective unconcious reads to me as the symbolic underpinnings of group mind.
    That being said, I feel that skeptics and objective materialists suffer from a binary perception-either or. Either real, or not real. I suspect that there is something inbetween those two, an hallucinatory reality, or a real hallucination, where simple 3D 'objective' perception fails. Because they have aspects of both, and neither. Bryce.

  21. listen to VHK, als known as galopping coroners. a hungarian psychedelic/postpunk band established in 1975 who are beyond anything KJ have ever touched. KJ is one of my favorite bands, but VHK live is absolutely amazing.

  22. This has been a particularly tasty morsel, thanks very much Chris!

    Seems to me like Jaz Coleman graduated from the same "school" as Jimmy Page.

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