An excellent, archive Killing Joke interview, for Rock’s Back Pages via the Grauniad.
They aren’t “political” in any dogmatic way but our Prime Minister has managed to get under their skin – they brought her name up repeatedly and although she’s never mentioned in their songs last summer she inspired the first Killing Joke composition, Are You Receiving.
It says: “We got nothing at all/This is life in the fall/We keep searching for the positive/We’re using everything.”
Tomorrow’s World will probably be the title-track of the album they’re recording now for release on their own Malicious Damage label. It would be appropriate because it’s about an example of what the band mean by a “killing joke”. It portrays the “sci-fi lie … the spangled new age” and then into this complacency drops the just-for-you image of a call-up letter on the doorstep: chaos rules, always.
Judging from occasional outbursts in our letters column, there are those amongst you who will by now be denouncing Killing Joke as “Commies”. Save your sweat. Part of their game-plan for this interview was trying to winkle out what kind of a Lefty I am, so they could needle me (“Own up, you’re a Trot!” Sorry, don’t know how). They’re too far into alienation for anything as friendly as socialism.
In fact, they’ve been misinterpreted more often as some kind of degenerate neo-Nazis. Their Island track Turn To Red is fairly evidently about a nuclear explosion (“The sky is turning red with bodies”), but a reviewer fingered it as a piece of Lefty-bashing. Resignedly Paul pointed out that red is still a primary colour after all: “When you get to the traffic light they don’t turn Communist, do they?”
The nearest thing to a Killing Joke manifesto on these matters may be the creation of the Hammer horror all-purpose gauleiter in Psyche: “Look at the Controller/ A Nazi with a social degree/ A middle-class hero/ A rapist with your eyes on me/ You beast for masturbation/ A priest for the nuns you fuck/ You’d wipe out spastics if you had the chance/ But Jesus wouldn’t like it, no!”