The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Joking Aside: Jaz Coleman's 13 Favourite Albums
Dayal Patterson , March 26th, 2012 06:12

Killing Joke's front man chooses his 13 favourite albums. As told to Dayal Patterson


Richard Wagner - Götterdämmerung
We have to bring Wagner in here ‘cos all the band love Wagner as a composer. 'Siegfried's Funeral March' - which is just so awesome, you have to get this and turn it right up - I include here if only to demonstrate how great art can inspire great evil. At the end of the funeral march comes the new Siegfried and of course the young Hitler had his mystical vision listening to this and saw himself as the next Siegfried. It’s an inspirational piece, it’s just so powerful. We were so into Wagner, and I was so into Wagner, every time it was performed by the Berlin Philharmonic and Herbert von Karajan conducted - I don’t mean the opera, I just mean the music to it, I cant stand the opera - we’d fly to Berlin to watch him conduct it.

In a way Wagner did influence Killing Joke, there’s something primeval about Wagner that you find in Killing Joke’s music. It’s just fantastic, the idea of perpetual melody - melody without end, one melody evolving into another melody, and of course in the last century melody was taken out, and that’s why the orchestra has declined. In fact, if I’d gone to any music college and studied orchestration, they’d have failed me, because I refused to acknowledge 12 tone scales and the modernist movement. In that way I’m an arch-conservative. My functional mode in classical music is reactionary and my mode with Killing Joke is revolutionary. One is maintaining tradition and the other is breaking with tradition.