Tag Archives: Killing Joke

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.

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

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Next On Life Elsewhere

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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

 

Dr. Bass Explains His Passion

Dr. James Bass

“It’s just like rock ’n’ roll, it’s all about life and love!” Proclaims Dr. James Bass, explaining his passion, Choral Music. The esteemed Director of Choral Studies in the School of Music at the University of South Florida and the artistic director of the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, becomes animated, gesticulating with a conductor’s panache as he leans into the microphone. Norman B invited James Bass to talk about an often misunderstood genre of music. Choral music refers to music sung by a choir. Each musical part is sung by two or more voices. The size of a choir varies, it can be as few as a dozen singers or as large as to be able Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in E Flat Major also known as Symphony of a Thousand.” Explains Dr. Bass, who illustrates his chosen topic with judiciously selected works. Be prepared to reappraise your thoughts on Choral Music, as James enthusiastically shares his knowledge. His refreshing take is unwavering, even when asked if sex is integral part of Choral Music.

Make sure you do not miss the next edition of Life Elsewhere, Dr. Bass is an extraordinary guest. His music selection will amaze you, including a special Hit That Never Was, featuring the late Elliott Smith.

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 12.04.05 PMSpecial programming note: The October 4th edition of Life Elsewhere will feature an exclusive interview with Frank Jenkinson, who documented the very first days of Killing Joke in 1979. Frank was right there, living in the same ramshackle house in Notting Hill Gate, London, along with band members and the original management team. Jenkinson witnessed the birth of what was to becomeScreen Shot 2015-09-25 at 12.03.51 PM one of the most influential bands of the late 70’s London music scene. Better still, he had a camera, which he took along to gigs, including the legendary John Peel Radio Show Sessions. The photos he Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 12.03.16 PMtook, graphically document a moment in time, now long gone and shrouded in mystery. Frank’s 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. HeScreen Shot 2015-09-25 at 12.03.00 PM has self-published a unique photo-book, representing a small moment of time in 1979, with plans to publish a much larger volume of his historical pictures. To round out our focus on Killing Joke, we look to the future of music with highlights from Norman B’s 2013 in-depth interview with Killing Joke‘s bass player, Martin Youth Glover.

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

Past editions of Life Elsewhere are available at the WMNF Listen-On-Demand feature

Legendary Music Interviews.

Norman B‘s interviews are legendary, since the late 70’s he has chatted with rising stars to superstars, unexpected newsmakers to career politicians, revered celebrities to aspiring entrepreneurs. His thoughtful and inquisitive approach has led to a vast archive of memorable and revealing conversations, especially with musicians. Yet, artists from the world of music are not always forthcoming or willing to divulge their “real” opinions, but Norman B has a knack of getting his musical guests to talk openly. Here then, is a small selection of recent interviews with musicians who have comfortably disclosed more than the usual talking points:

Wreckless Eric best known for penning the iconic Whole Wide World, spent over three hours offering up his well-considered opinions on almost everything, from religion to The Rolling StonesSir Mix-A-Lot, the man who revealed in the early 90’s to the MTV generation how much he liked Big Butts, has proven many times, through his dialogue with Norman B, that he has strong, and sometimes surprising views on everything, from racism to gay marriage. The sadly departed, Ian McLagan enthusiastically chatted with Norman B about not only his early days with the Small Faces, but also the break up of the Faces, touring with The Stones and the importance of a muse in his life. Ian McLagan and Norman B had attended the same art school in London, so the two silver-haired Englishmen had a connection that went way back to make the interview even more poignant after Ian died. Back in late 1979, Norman B was the first DJ in America to play the unique Turn to Red EP by Killing JokeFrom that moment on he became an ardent fan of the band. So it was only natural that many years later, Martin Glover, bassist and founding member of Killing Joke, was invited for a lengthy chat. Glover also known as Youth, has gone on to make his mark as a much sought-after producer. In the in-depth conversation with Norman B he talks about the future of music, what he enjoys listening to and offers advice on making a career in the entertainment business. Canadian singer-songwriter-poet, Barzin caught Norman B’s attention with his emotive and beautiful music. The shy, humble musician talks about his influences and explains how he comes up with the hypnotic music he creatively produces. Multi-talented drummer, producer, author and entrepreneur Martin Atkins is one of rock’s legendary drummers, his stellar resume includes playing with PiLBrian BrainMinistryPigfaceKilling Joke and Nine Inch Nails. He is an engaging raconteur, but Norman B was able to take the interview to where Martin’s real-life anecdotes lay bare, the rarely-heard thoughts of a major rock star.

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

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