With a temperamental tape recorder, the No Class squad set off to Malicious Damage’s headquarters deep in the heart of Notting Hill Gate. Having been made welcome by various label representatives we then found ourselves in the company of Jaz from Killing Joke, to be joined by Youth later. From here, the conversation went something like this:
JAZ : You’re going to have to inspire me to answer some of the questions you want to ask, but don’t ask a question for the sake of asking – it’s really boring. You want to know more about our lives.
NC : Do you take the view that playing in a band is a job?
JAZ : The routine gets a bit much after a while, but we have a fucking laugh. It’s a right scream what routine there is. These last two weeks in the studio we have to go in at 2 o’clock, or if we are tired we go in at 5 ‘clock but we go on to the early hours of the morning and we smoke and have a bit of a drink. It’s a relaxed atmosphere you could say, you do a bit of what you want and it’s all right. We like working at our own sort of rate,as opposed to be pressured. Some days you go in and don’t fucking get any ideas so that’s £100 down the drain.
NC : So all the songs start in the studio, do they?
JAZ : The last two weeks they have been. Instead of working in a rehearsal studio, we’ve been working in a recording studio, an eight track recording studio, and we’ve been going along, building the songs in the studio, then putting the keyboards on after and listening to what it sounds like. If we don’t like that we can change it. It’s much faster, you could say, writing like that, and yes, it’s been quite successful.
NC : Do you write the lyrics like that?
JAZ : The words are really weird in this band, they sort of just happen, either Paul turns up with some words or I might have a few lines, or Youth might have some, and they just fit together. Somehow I just end up singing them for a particular fucking song. It just sort of happens like that, nothing is planned in this band, it never works if it’s planned.
(We previously spoke of star signs)
NC : What are the star signs of the other members of the band?
JAZ : It’s only my personal interest in it. They do recognise certain principles you could say. I would say we don’t delve heavily into astrology. Certainly there is a Sagittarian, an Aries, a Piscean and a Capricorn, two fire signs. I try and find the facts behind everything. I spent 13 years of my life with the church, intensely, so I’m obviously interested in, you could say, divine principles, but I discovered them to be different to what they’re stated to be. Remember this band’s Killing Joke, so ask any question you want to ask.
NC : How did it turn out that you did the CND gig at Trafalgar Square?
JAZ : Do you go to that?
NC : Yeah. What did you think of it?
JAZ : I thought it was a right laugh, a right scream. I sympathise with all the people that went there and their feeling towards this revolting subject,but I thought it was just a joke, because young people are interested in results, not celebration, understand what I mean? How many weeks have gone since that CND thing, and what results have we had? That’s the Killing Joke.
NC : So you think we can’t achieve anything by just marching up and down a road?
JAZ : No, because I believe, if you want my personal opinion, destiny is destiny. If it’s going to be that way. I don’t believe in looking away from the problem, I believe in staring it in the face. That’s why we have numbers like ‘Wardance’, when we can enjoy it, have a laugh about it, revel in it, don’t look away from it. So what, one minute you’re gone. Life goes on.
NC : Do you think it goes on afterwards?
JAZ : What do I think ? I know.
NC : Does it?
JAZ : That’s my personal opinion that I believe life goes on. You’ve got to think, you’re a human being, what’s a human being? It’s an advanced from of nature, basically. If you observe nature, you will notice that nature goes round in a cycle. As we are a part of nature we must also go round in a cycle. When it comes to winter everything fucking dies and in fucking spring it fucking grows again, so therefore the same principle has got to be applied. Seems logical to me.
NC : So we are going to be wiped out?
JAZ : No, every forty or so years you get a war, don’t you? There is an influence around, don’t ask me how or why, but there are fucking wars. This is a fact of life. There’s bloodshed isn’t there?
NC : I want to postpone it.
JAZ : That’s all right – postpone it mate. You know what to do, go 2,000 miles from the nearest fucking strategical point. Think about it.
NC : North Pole.
JAZ : (laughs) It’s up to you to decide.
NC : So you agreed with the idea of the march, the whole thing about the CND rally.
JAZ : Well, if I had my way, but I don’t have my way. The only way to get results with a government like we’ve got, not wishing to get political, because I’m not interested in politics, the only way to get results is if you’ve got some nutter like my brother, he’s a nuclear physicist, if you get the plans of the nuclear bomb and you sent an anonymous letter to the government, saying that in each of the major capitals there’s hidden a nuclear device, we have the plans, show them the plans so that they know you really mean business. Unless your terms are met, the first one goes up, and if they aren’t by then, the second goes up, understand? It’s the only way you’re going to get results out of people like these. They’re interested in themselves. You got to remember, people like Maggie Thatcher, why should they be concerned about 2,000 years onwards from now. They’re only going to live another 10 years, what’s it to them past the year 2000?
NC : How can she live knowing what she’s doing? Don’t suppose she’s bothered.
JAZ : Not as bad as fucking Reagan. People say I’m a nutter, but I reckon there will be survivors and they’ll be young people that will be the survivors and that’s the only people I’m interested in. I think the younger generation should understand the laws of Earth itself. Even a nuclear bomb is that product of nature. Understand that?
NC : (shaking of head)
JAZ : ‘course it fucking is. The sky allows it to be there, the Earth allows it to be there, it’s sitting in between the two of them, isn’t it?
NC : It’s the end of the scale though.
JAZ : No, it’s just change. What a nuclear bomb means is like an earthquake, you can have an earthquake or a nuclear bomb, choose! There’s going to be both, I believe and when the fucking bomb goes off, it means that for a good few years, and then after fucking Whitehall quietens down, and the fucking whole cycle grows again. You know they found fucking planet Uranus when they discovered Uranium. Pluto, Plutonium. I believe in the astrological link up, it does work. Our fore-fathers, our ancestors have been doing it for centuries, and it was only until the church came along, that they changed all the sciences. Where science and religion parted company, science doesn’t accept that which cannot be measured. There are certain things you can’t fucking ever measure, certain things like infinity. You’ve got to have a view on that. Just accept it and that’s one thing the scientists can’t do. It’s like everything is getting out of balance because of people forgetting their roots, that they are part of nature themselves.
NC : Are you still connected with the church?
JAZ : Fuck off, you cunt!
JAZ : I was an active member, church music. I learnt a lot of things. I noticed that the colours of the altar changed exactly with the cycle of the zodiac. Funny, innit? The colours of the altar front, or the colours they used for different seasons is identical to the colours of the zodiac. I noticed that all the festivals, like the Harvest and Mayday and Candlemas were pagan, and when the church moved over here, it christianised the pagan festivals. All I see is a man and a woman, I see the sun and the moon, I see black and white, the equality of everything. And the church just goes against that. It’s all a masculine kind of thing. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, whereas the mother Earth, well, we could talk about symbolism.(pause) Youth! (He calls the bass player and music drifts from his bedroom) – he’s up!
NC : Why did you join the church?
JAZ : Why did I ? Because there was something in my personality that obviously needed to combine spiritual with music. Now I do that in a verydifferent way.
NC : How old were you when you joined the church?
JAZ : I went to the church out of my own free will at six. My parents are pagan. So I know what I’m talking about.
NC : Until you were about 12-13?
JAZ : Then I started radically changing my view and started questioning a lot of things I didn’t get answers from, and I made my own decisions.
(Youth appears from his bedroom with just a towel wrapped around him – we all laugh).
YOUTH : Hello (he disappears into the kitchen)
NC : Let’s ask a question about the music. Do you think your attitude come across in the music?
JAZ : In the music ? I think it depends on our environment, are you talking about live or on record?
NC : Either.
JAZ : Yes, sure it does. You haven’t heard any of our later stuff. Anyway, ‘The Fall Of Because’ and some of the later tunes we have written. I think it comes over excellently.
NC : Do people, just by listening, know what it’s all about?
JAZ : It depends how far you look into it. Have you read the words to ‘Pssyche’, our second single? Do people listen to lyrics these days? A few do, a lot of people don’t. They just like moving with it. People are different. Some people they understand a feeling more than a word and they don’t put in words, they just want a feeling. Other people may like the words to inspire them. People are different, aren’t they?
NC : So you would not say that the lyrics are more important that the music, or does it depend on the person?
JAZ : Yes, it depends. As a band, we describe ourselves better in the music than the lyrics, and we use the lyrics to suggest. But the sound is within the music, and I find that’s how we describe ourselves the best. We are doing a lot of different stuff at the moment, really different.
(Some time later)
JAZ : I believe you can achieve more by putting yourself through your own experiences, searching for what you particularly want. Like I say, you should never compromise, you should find out what you enjoy doing most and follow it, and don’t chicken out. I believe that people now shouldn’t do what’s laid out for them, your careers information officer. Our manager, as far as universities go, the man’s a genius, there is no two ways about it. You ask him what he thinks about universities, it’s just wasted time. All that knowledge that he learnt has taught him to communicate in a fashion that is beyond the average person. Things are getting vastly out of proportion, but I believe in the Earth enough to know the Earth will sort it out. Whether it means an earthquake or an atomic bomb, or whatever, you just go with it. Another thing, they teach you fear of death in this society, there should be no fear of death.
NC : Some we inherit, is it actually taught?
JAZ : Yes, but is should be understood. Death, you should know what it means, you came from the womb and go out in the tomb, but womb and tomb are feminine words. It’s all related back down to Mother again. So, some facts are being hidden, I believe. You have to sort that out yourself these days. When you are going along the street in your car, and you stop at the colour
red, and go at the colour green. Now, the psychology behind that is that the colour red limits your mind and the colour green releases your mind. If you look at the zodiac, you will see that Aries rules red and Libra rules green. Both are on opposite parts of the zodiac. It’s up to you now to shape society, you’re going to have to breed one day, you’re going to have kids some day, it’s up to you to shape the way for those fucking kids, and what have you got to shape it with? Fucking useless knowledge which they palm you off with. You don’t want to follow theirs and make the same mistake again, that’s fucking stupid. You’ve got to find out all the hairline faults in it, so that they can be corrected, if you’ve got any real feeling for the way you love your life, and those around you. It’s all fucked anyway.
NC : If you try and change anything, it’s just slammed back into your face.
JAZ : Depends how you go about it. Things can be done, and will be done. I believe that totally. I get a lot of my inspiration, not off other musicians, I get them off other writers, all types of people.
NC : Do you read a lot?
JAZ : Yes, I read a lot of books. I look at the writers the same as a musician. A musician deals in sound, that’s the way they describe themselves and maybe an artist describes himself in paint, and a writer describes himself in words. You pick the one your personality is suited to the most.
NC : Who’s books do you read?
JAZ : Aleister Crowley.
NC : The Black Magic spectrum?
JAZ : Ah, there you go again. The Black Magic, see. Ah, you don’t want any of that Black Magic and evil, kind of thing. You believe them, that’s why they tell you, just go to church and you’ll be all right. There’s a whole science that is just being forgotten about. Lunatic, lunar as in moon. You know that the full moon has an effect on the psyche. The moon controls all the water. As we are 90% water, it must therefore control us. “Who’s truth is your truth” that’s the line of one of our songs.
(Youth walks in)
YOUTH : What have you been babbling about ?
JAZ : They just been asking questions. (To Youth) What do you think is going to happen in the next few years?
YOUTH : I don’t know.
NC : What are the lyrics about generally?
JAZ : Each different fucking number is an event, you will have to pick out one in particular to pinpoint anything.
NC : Can you tell us about the fire-eater?
JAZ : Oh yes, that’s a long time ago. The Wizard, he used to blow fire. He was a real nut case, that guy. He used to blow fire and war dance. He has not done it for a long time. He had some interesting ideas. He blows fire, this is about him not us, but he blows fire, he does not blow it in the sort of conventional theatre-come-cabaret sort of act. He blows it in a very ritualistic sort of way. He takes fire as being your will, your desire, and he uses it in that way, and it was really good at that time, and it just seemed to fit, and that was it.
NC : Haven’t you got him anymore?
JAZ : No, no, he’s doing his own thing now working with that group, Shock, that dance company. It doesn’t matter, anyway, it’s nothing to do with us.
NC : Is there any meaning behind the album cover, the people running away and the lady-like figure in the centre?
YOUTH : It’s Christ!
JAZ : As I say, it’s your interpretation of it. Everyone has got their own.
NC : Good cover.
JAZ : Do you think?
YOUTH : Better than the fucking Jam’s!
*** THE END ***