You’d be hard-pressed to find a genuine rock ’n’ roll weirdo like Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman. And I don’t mean crazy like Lady Gaga wearing a dress of meat, or Buckethead. I mean literally, because, for real, no one knows where that dude is right now.
Recently, the front man for the post-punk-cum-proto-industrial legends allegedly posted a statement on the band’s Facebook page indicating that their upcoming UK tour with fellow post-rock magnates The Cult and The Mission was cancelled, specifically calling out Ian Astbury & Co. as money-grubbing hacks. Ouch.
"It gives me great pleasure to announce the cancellation of the upcoming gigs with The Cult and The Mission," Coleman allegedly wrote. “Frankly, playing at a gig with The Cult never appealed to me in the first place… there would be a problem with the dressing room and witnessing The Cult charge the fans $200 per head for a Meet & Greet… Lastly, all their songs suck! They clearly have no integrity.”
And then Jaz Coleman vanished off the face of the Earth without telling anyone where he was going, including his band mates of 30-plus years.
Last time homeboy disappeared was 1982 when his involvement with the occult seemingly lent him visions of the impending apocalypse, leading him to hole up in Iceland for months. There he believed he could commune with the spirit of the dark new age through song. When that didn’t pan out, he regrouped with Killing Joke and went on to make some of the best records of the 80s and beyond. He also won several awards for his work with intellectualist composition, such as “Music of the Quantum,” a piece he wrote with his brother Piers, a theoretical physicist at Rutgers. Wild shit.
Only time will tell what sort of hallucinogenic-induced mischief ol’ Jaz has gotten into this time. We decided to use this grim opportunity to imagine some sort of abstract cage match between Jaz and his arch-nemesis, The Cult’s Ian Astbury, where the outcome determines absolutely nothing.
Let’s go to the stats!
Coleman: Who the fuck knows? That’s why we are here. Though he has previously spent stretches of time in Berlin, Prague, Cairo, and New Zealand, in addition to his native England.
Astbury: Los Angeles
ADVANTAGE: Astbury. Tacos in those other spots are suspect.
Coleman: “Love Like Blood” has acted as an aphrodisiac for many goths and pseudo-goths since its release in 1985, despite having a title that makes you think of menstration.
Astbury: “Fire Woman” has been featured heavily at titty bars worldwide for two decades and caused many to head home broke with stripper smell stuck in their pores.
ADVANTAGE: Tough call. Uhhh…Coleman?
Coleman: Composed several acclaimed operas, concertos, and symphonies—some based on the works of the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and the Doors. That brow, she is high.
Astbury: Sang Doors karaoke with Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger for a spell. Fart noise.
Coleman: Fearing an apocalypse, disappeared to Iceland in 1982. Started a band with Björk.
Astbury: Fearing leafy greens, gained what appeared to be 50 pounds in the late 90s. Started a soccer team with members of the Sex Pistols and Def Leppard.
Coleman: Michael Myers jumpsuit and face paint that highlights every facial contortion in a way that resembles those awful goblin masks those people had to wear in that one Twilight Zone episode because they were greedy dicks.
Astbury: Once rocked a sick deathrock-Apache-meets-psych-punk vibe. But for the better part of the last decade, he appears to be aiming for “paunchy Hollywood d-bag,” with Steven Tyler scarves, shiny shirts, and hairline-concealing bandanas. Lately, however, he seems to have eased back into shaman lids, wolf pelts, and leather so we’ll give him a pass because at least he doesn’t dream-walk my nightmares.
ADVANTAGE: Astbury on all days not called Halloween.
Coleman: Artists including Nirvana, Kate Bush, Faith No More, and even The Cult themselves, have all pointed to KJ as an early influence. In fact, KJ tried to sue Nirvana because the riff to “Come As You Are” is basically the riff to KJ’s “Eighties.” Then Dave Grohl made a record with them. Fuck, even Metallica covered them to look cool.
Astbury: Outside of me and a handful of my friends, I’m really not sure. There must be someone but I’ve never really given it much thought, and the internet proved of little use on this one in the 37 seconds I looked. Stone Temple Pilots? Buckcherry? But really, most everything they did pre-Ceremony (as the The Cult, Death Cult, and Southern Death Cult) was killer.
ADVANATGE: Tie due to personal bias, but in reality, Coleman.
Coleman: Once bribed the Egyptian government so KJ could record inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. BONUS: Claims to be saving up for his own army.
Astbury: Turned Oliver Stone down cold after the director offered him the role of Jim Morrison in The Doors 1991 biopic. Which, yeah...
FOR FUCK’S SAKE
Coleman: Refers to the “true location of his genius” as his “Holy Guardian Angel.” Oh brother...
Astbury: Named his kids Dustyn and Che. How interesting of him.
ADVANTAGE: No one. These are both terribly stupid things.
Coleman: Worked on Walt Disney’s Mulan soundtrack. I just found this out. Wow.
Astbury: “She Sells Sanctuary” was featured in a mash-up with Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling” during this year’s Super Bowl, which actually just felt icky.
ADVANTAGE: Astbury. Mulan lost its appeal when I gave up on Asian chicks and cartoon porn in the early 00s.
IT’S A MAJOR AWARD
Coleman: Received the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, which the French Government awards for “significant contributions to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance.” Recognition sounds more significant in French, mon dieu!
Astbury: No idea. Though he did live in a squat with Crass for a period of time, so that’s got to be worth one of those old brown spray cans of Right Guard or some shit. What’s up with those? My dad has had the same brown can of Right Guard sitting under the bathroom sink for 30 years like it’s a bottle of Johnny Blue.
ADVANTAGE: Coleman, I guess? I mean, the French…you know…
Jaz Coleman. Batshit genius always wins. Remember that.
Now go buy every Killing Joke record ever and pray to Cthulhu for his safe return.