Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Question: how did John Zorn become involved with earache? as ive heard two different verions of events the first was that he met napalm on tour in japan, the second was that his band was playing a show in london wih the band of british jazz legend ( and radiohead collaberator) Humphrey Lyttelton and it was john peel who took john zorn to the napalm show the night before he played his show, which version of events is the correct one? also is it true that naked city and painkiller are/have reformed for a one off event? From:

Answer:The early Napalm Death gigs 1987-88 or so were -quite bizarrely, looking back- attended by a motley collection of the very hippest of the London A-listers, as well as as the regular kids, the thrash & hardcore freaks moshing down the front,these hipsters would instead crowd the back and the bar.It was strange mix. John Peel's championing of the band on the radio and TV meant that for a year or so, Napalm attracted that hipster crowd, before they moved sheep-like onto the next hipster thing. I recall one gig had Craig Charles and Vic Reeves hanging backstage- both up and coming comics at that time,nowadays both major TV celebrities, and massive Napalm fans to boot.
So the band were quite used to strangers from different scenes hanging out, and being music nuts themselves,and open-minded to new scenes, would be highly interested in other musicians works. My recollection is that Napalm Death first met John Zorn when he attended a ND gig in japan- this would be summer 1989 and included the line up of Lee Dorrian and Bill Steer.I was'nt on that tour but the tour manager was instantly aware of who he was, including his VIP status in the avant garde/jazz scene,he probably invited him to the gig, I expect! So even if the band members didnt know about Zorn himself, they appreciated the fact he was interested in them.I must admit that when word of John Zorn showing interest in Napalm death reached me, I had no clue who he was, and thought it odd that this studious American jazz bloke was dropping hints he wanted to work with Napalm and /or Earache.I confess, I was dead against such collaborations at first, fearing he might blunt the momentum of the young band.
Zorn immediately did the band a massive favor- booking them onto a New York music industry showcase called New Music Seminar, for a really decent fee, which meant they could travel to USA for a debut gig, and perform with no financial loss, which is unheard of. This incredible generosity by someone they'd just met was typical of the man, and blew away any scepticism I had.
What became obvious was that Zorn's interest was sincere and genuine,and he forged a firm friendship with Mick Harris.Over the months he suggested Earache release his upcoming Naked City 'Torture Garden' on LP and Cassette (no CD) in UK and Europe (original discussions were for it to be released on my label managers fledgling sub-label Staindrop - as Sweet Tooth was before it, because both were deemed by me to be too avant garde for Earache proper).The USA CD release was handled by Shimmy Disc, as Earache had no distribution there at that time.Looking back, its one of the most jaw-droppingly intense things we ever did, and we were incredibly privileged to release it on Vinyl.
Painkiller was again an extension of the friendship Zorn forged with Mick and that ensemble recorded 2 albums for Earache.At some stage Zorn moved onto other experimental music and our association fizzled out.
Painkiller did play a show June 23 2008 In Paris, featuring Zorn, Laswell and Harris on grindcore drums in front of the public for the first time in a decade.
View what you missed here:


HolgerregloH said...

Reformed only for this show!

After the Electric Masada concert two days later, Zorn said to me it was the last Painkiller performance ever.

I hope it was a lie, because he said the same 2 or 3 years ago about Masada and this supergroup is still alive.

Thanks for the great info in your PK-post.


Anonymous said...

I would have bought a plane ticket to see that show.