Tag Archives: Killing Joke

A Conversation With Kris Jozajtis

London’s Notting Hill circa early 80s was yet to be gentrified. The ubiquitous Portobello Road did bring hoards of tourists and suburbanites looking for an actual antique treasure. But the throngs who crowded the ramshackle market on a Saturday were equally delighted to witness a never-ending parade of crusty-hippy-types; rasta youths sporting fierce dreads; skinny-wasted-silk-scarf-draped-wannabe-Keefs with androgynous girlfriends in tow. Unbeknownst to the visitors, behind the raggedy dark-curtained windows of the soon-to-be desirable Victorian three and four-story homes that loomed over every street were a seemingly never-ending warren of squats. These were the days long before Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts turned Notting Hill into a magic place for millionaires to settle. It was in a squat, on a garbage-strewn street in Notting Hill that Geordie, Ian Lowery conjured up the idea for a new band. He hailed from Sunderland, the bleak, tough, coal-mining and industrial north-eastern town. It was there Ian formed The Wall. Regular airplay from John Peel and the relative success of The Wall’s debut single, New Way prompted Lowery to end up in a squat in Notting Hill. Rapid disputes within the band saw Ian Lowery form Ski Patrol. Now closely connected to fellow squatters, Killing Joke and their management, Malicious Damage, the tensions that were endemic to that scene led to Lowery forming a new band, Folk Devils with Alan Cole on Drums, Mark Whiteley on bass, and Kris Jozajtis on guitar. Their sound was a bastardized blend of punk, blues, and amphetamine-fuelled angst with the music often walking a fine line between a patchwork of brilliant musicianship and violence. The political and ideological canvass for Folk Devils was the miner’s strike, Thatcher’s Britain, mass unemployment, and the flooding of Britain’s streets with heroin and despair. Folk Devils first single Hank Turns Blue recorded for £180 (allegedly the bands combined dole money) resided at number three in the indie charts for six weeks. Three John Peel sessions followed in quick succession and subsequent recordings were critically acclaimed. Brian Taylor, of Killing Joke’s management, said at the time, “Folk Devils were a force of nature live and were never quite able to capture that ferocity on record” Ian Lowery died in 2001 having continued to work throughout the late ’80s and the early ’90s on the King Blank project and the Ian Lowery Group. In November 2015, a digital-only release album entitled The Best Protection and the BBC Sessions was made available. And, in September 2016 a collected works album entitled Beautiful Monsters was released and the band resurfaced to play live with a line-up including Dave Hodgson (vocals), Mark Whiteley (bass), Kris Jozajtis (guitar), Nick Clift (guitar), and John Hamilton (drums). Recently the new Folk Devils recorded a stellar three-track EP, titled Forever, and are performing live when the pandemic restrictions allow. Kris Jozajtis joins Life Elsewhere for an in-depth conversation about the history of Folk Devils, the Peel sessions, music now, and Ian Lowery’s boots.

Show #391

Another Conversation With Martin Atkins

Best known for his work in post-punk and industrial groups including Public Image LtdMinistryNine Inch NailsPigface, and Killing Joke, drummer, Martin Atkins has many fascinating stories to tell. In the next edition of Life Elsewhere, Martin shares never before revealed intrigues of his time in and out of Public Image Ltd. He talks of his often uneasy relationship with John Lydon and the mutually volatile association with Keith Levene. With his charming Midlands brogue, Martin Atkins recalls unexpected moments – when backstage at a concert two of his (then) very young sons had giggly-fun pulling back the ears of an atypically docile Mr. Lydon. And, he blames Sir Paul McCartney for Public Image Ltd not being able to play in Japan, (listen for details). The question of age comes up in the conversation,  Martin suggests that to have survived all these years of the non-stop rounds of a rough and tumble life on the road with an often motley cast of characters, is quite possibly a miracle. Martin’s buoyant energy and enthusiasm for life and rock ’n’ roll permeate through the airwaves as you enjoy one of the best raconteurs in the business. 

Show #356

Remembering Brian Taylor

It was late on a dreary afternoon in London, I was jet-lagged after a flight from Seattle. I made my way cautiously from Notting Hill Gate tube station to an address near Ladbroke Grove. Although the area was as familiar as the back of my hand, a lot had changed in the years I had been in America. The birth of Punk had coincided with my departure to the land of the free and the home of the brave. Portobello Road, was just around the corner, where I fondly recalled my days selling hand-painted ties in the market on Saturdays. The area was now awash with spikey-haired youths sporting studded leather jackets, assorted piercings, tattoos and awkwardly-contrived wasted-poses. Many of the once glorious townhomes were now boarded up or in a state of suspended demolition. The impact of Thatcher’s Britain was not looking so good around these parts. Eventually, I found the address, obviously run-down, with some windows missing. The front door, barely on its hinges. Clambering up the filthy, rickety stairs, I remember noting that the aromas of piss, greasy food, vomit and ganja really don’t mix well. I discovered a door with a hastily scribbled note, that read, “Malicious Damage is here and th…” The rest was ripped off, leaving visitors guessing.  After knocking on the door many times, it creaked open and a wobbly head with disastrous white-boy dreads appeared and inquired as to my reason for “Fuckin’ banging on the fuckin’ door, you cunt!”. Dread-head* then brushed passed me, leaving a trail of patchouli essence and harsh cigarette smoke gagging my throat on top of all the other ripe smells. Dready lurched down the hallway, then almost falling down the stairs, managed to call me and possibly every person he ever knew, “Cunts! fuckin’ cunts!” I entered the room, introduced myself to the assorted Muppets gathered in various languorous states. A tousled-haired fellow sitting cross-legged on the floor was wrestling with plastic bags and what looked like record sleeves, only they were about 10 inches square and were apparently one-sided. “Hi, there.” Said the industrious fellow, “I’m Brian, c’mon in.” Beers appeared out of nowhere and copious amounts of hashish were consumed and hours went by. My memory may fail me, but I’m sure that was the time Brian suggested we go eat and we toddled off to South Kensington at my suggestion, to scoff down wonderful Thai food at an old standby of mine, The Bangkok on Bute Street. The enigmatic Ian Lowery. joined us. He and Brian screamed at each other in the cab on the way to the restaurant. It was a serious disagreement over what Plato meant to the 20th century. Later, I was to discover this was standard when hanging out with Brian Taylor. The man not only had an encyclopedic knowledge of music, he was also able to quote Rimbaud or Nietzsche or Freud or whoever you suggested, at will. He was as fluent in Bukowski as he was Shakespeare. He knew the names of cameramen on obscure foreign films. His love of kilims was matched only by his expertise. Brian amazed me. I loved being around him. His brain worked fast and hard and his humor was priceless. That first meeting with Brian Taylor was triggered by a visit to Rough Trade, where Geoff Travis had urged me to check out Brian and a new band he was managing, Killing Joke. Turn To Red was just about to be released and the Peel sessions were still to happen. I scampered back to Seattle with a cardboard box full of wonderful platters. The Killing Joke 10 inch was my treasure. Back in the states, I treated listeners to my show on KRAB the wonders of that record, playing it again and again, week after week. To my knowledge, I was the first person to play Turn To Red on the radio in America. That cemented my friendship with Brian. Each new release on Malicious Damage was rushed over to me, which in those days meant, if Brian could afford the postage, I received a brand new platter in about two weeks after it came off the press. Brian and I communicated by phone occasionally, but mostly by mail. I still have those long, often rambling letters from Brian, documenting the goings on with Killing Joke, and the other acts now on his label. At some point, Brian announced he was coming out to Seattle for a visit. He was having a hard time with some of the members of KJ, he wrote. He was pissed off and needed to get away. Come on over I said, and he did. I remember little of his visit other than we spent many hours drinking and solving the world’s problems while neglecting our own. Time went by, things happened for both of us. We grew older and moved around. In the past few years, we spoke regularly, with Brian in Turkey and me in Florida. Often we agreed after long, long conversations to meet up again. Just a few days ago I mentioned to Brian that I would be in the UK soon. “I’ll be in Brighton.” He offered.  “So will I!” I shouted. It was agreed, we’d meet up, probably drink our fair share and put the world in order and of course, overlook our own problems, again. Rest In Peace Brian. Norman B June 4, 2017

The image of Brian Taylor is courtesy of Frank Jenkinson who managed to capture a time and place with deft skill and determination as illustrated in his self-published book, KILLING JOKE Picture Book 1979   

*Dread-head went on to fame and glory.

Life Elsewhere is available at iTunes

Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  
Mondays 5.00pm PT & Wednesdays 2.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio
Thursdays 6.00pm ET at Internet Radio Network
Fridays at 9.00pm GMT on Cornucopia Radio

Life Elsewhere Music airs:
Mondays at 6.00pm & Wednesdays at 3.00pm Pacific Time on NWCZ Radio
Fridays at 10.00am Eastern Time on IRN
Cornucopia Radio airs Life Elsewhere Music throughout each week

You can hear all the volumes over at Mixcloud

Star Signs & Life Changing Music

“May 21 rolls around again, and another year in my journey through life has passed,” says Norman B, referring to his birthday. “Looking back over the years,” he continues, “I’m fortunate to have wonderful memories, each with their own soundtrack!” In the next edition of Life Elsewhere, Norman B recalls the music that has made an impact on his life. He’ll take us on his life-changing journey complete with his musical soundtrack including Elvis Presley, Elmore James, The Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, Van Morrison, Cornell Campbell, Gregory Isaacs, David Bowie, The Smiths, The Only Ones, Killing Joke, A.R. Kane, Barzin and Hugh.

Plus, Norman B will ask acclaimed astrologer Joyce Levine why star signs and birthdays are inextricably connected? Joyce a top expert on the subject, knows her stuff. She has all the answers and will also explain why Pop Astrology is entertaining but not very useful. But, can Joyce read the star chart of a certain Mr. Trump, to let us know if he will be elected President? Find out in the next edition of Life Elsewhere.

Life Elsewhere Show #170 airs:
Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  

Mondays 7.00pm ET at WROM Radio
Mondays 5.00pm PT & Thursdays 7.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio

itunes-podcast-logo-250

Life Elsewhere can be heard on CMG Global Media
If you miss any editions of Life Elsewhere, go here then go to the Listen On Demand panel, choose the date of a show and click play.

PS: You can now download the new WMNF mobile app for FREE and listen to LIfe Elsewhere as it streams live at 12 noon ET every Sunday

Next On Life Elsewhere

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 5.02.24 PM

Next on Life Elsewhere, a special feature on one of the most influential bands to emerge from the late 70’s music scene in London. A band Nirvana and  Soundgarden, amongst many others, cite as a major inspiration for their forays into rock ‘n’ roll. Those two Seattle bands, who emerged out of the Seattle’s “Grunge” scene, were regular listeners to Norman B’s early incarnations of Life Elsewhere, where he was the first DJ in America to play the formidable and extraordinary music of…Killing Joke.

Killing Joke, John Peel Sessions, 1979In the next edition of Life Elsewhere, we talk with Frank Jenkinson who in 1979, happened to be living in the same ramshackle house as Killing Joke and their original management team, in the then bedraggled area of Notting Hill Gate, London. “These were early days and I happened to have a camera.” Recounts Jenkinson“Things were kicking off for the band and I was there at all the early gigs, including the legendary John Peel Radio Show Sessions.” The photos Frank took, graphically document a moment in time, now long gone and shrouded in mystery. His extraordinary photographs lay dormant in a dusty box, under his stairs, until he recently noticed on Facebook, Killing Joke‘s ever-increasing and devoted following. Recently, Jenkinson self-published his unique photo-book, documenting a special period in 1979, and, if the response to this book is encouraging, he plans to publish a much larger volume of his historical pictures.

Frank Jenkinson will join the next edition of Life Elsewhere to talk about his historical photographs, the early days of Killing Joke and what life was like in London, circa 1979. To round out our focus on Killing Joke, we look to the future of music, as envisioned by Martin Youth Glover, with highlights from Norman B’s 2013 in-depth interview with Killing Joke‘s bass player.

The Killing Joke photographs are from the BBC John Peel Sessions, October, 17, 1979, by permission of Frank Jenkinson

Life Elsewhere airs:
Sundays at 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  
Mondays at 7.00pm ET at WROM Radio
Mondays at 5.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio

 

« Older Entries