Music: Killing Joke

Killing Joke's reformed founding lineup

Killing Joke are a Post-Punk band from London, England. Formed in 1978, the band were instrumental in the development of Industrial Metal and various aspects of Alternative Rock. Their sound throughout the years has ranged from "quasi-Metal" Post-Punk, to Gothic Synth Pop, to Industrial Alternative Metal. Their lineup has always been based primarily around singer Jaz Coleman and guitarist Geordie Walker, with the current (reunited founding) lineup including bassist Martin "Youth" Glover and drummer Paul Ferguson. Former members have included drummer Martin Atkins,note  and late bassist Paul Raven,note  whose sudden death caused the original lineup to reform in tribute.

While the band has only had minor commercial success, they have been cited as an influence by Ministry (perhaps their most obvious fans), Nirvana (Dave Grohl plays drums on their 2003 self-titled album!), Metallica (covered "The Wait"), Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Faith No More, Rammstein, and Korn among many, many others.

Jaz is also an accomplished classical composer and sang in Mulan. Youth is a prolific producer and remixer, working with Guns N' Roses, Primal Scream, U2, Depeche Mode, Paul McCartney,note , among many others.

Not to be confused with the Joker comic, though the name could be a Shout-Out to the band.


This band provides examples of:

  • Alternative Metal: From the 90s-onward, when the Industrial aspects aren't as prominent.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Jaz is famously a looney. Heavy involvement in the occult and magic will do that to you.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Their first EP, Turn to Red, has a pronounced Dub influence. Their following albums would be closer to Heavy Metal.
  • Epic Rocking: Many songs are over 5 minutes long. One of their most famous, "Love Like Blood", is nearly 7 minutes.
  • Goth Rock: Much of their 80s output.
  • Harsh Vocals: Jaz's voice became much rougher in the 90s, until this trope was in full blast by the 2003 self-titled. It's been reigned in for the albums since.
  • Industrial Metal: Very influential in its development. After the Synth Pop era started to sour, they began taking back influence from the likes of Ministry.
  • Long Runner Line Up: Type 5. Kept its founding lineup of Jaz Coleman, Kevin "Geordie" Walker, Martin "Youth" Glover, and Paul Ferguson until Youth's departure in 1982. Ferguson left in 1987, and the band as a whole was inactive from 1996 to 2002. Since 2008, the lineup consists of all four original members plus Reza Uhdin on keyboards, a position added in 1984.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Have ranged from a 3 to a 7 throughout their career. The 2003 self-titled album pushed into a 9.
  • Post-Punk
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Paul Raven's death inspired the original lineup to reform in 2008.
  • Self-Titled Album: Their 1980 debut and the 2003 record with Dave Grohl.
  • Something Completely Different: The Courtauld Talks is a Spoken Word album, based around a lecture Jaz gave at London's Courtauld Institute.
  • Synth Pop: Hinted at with Night Time, in full force with Brighter Than a Thousand Suns and Outside the Gate.
  • Title Only Chorus: The majority of their discography.