Brighter Than A Thousand Suns - A Tribute to the Life and Riffs of Geordie Walker
I couldn’t let today pass without writing a few words about Geordie Walker. I’m sure I’ve said this about other musicians in the past, in fact I know I have, but in the case of Geordie these words are truer than most – there really was no-one else like him. On stage he was coolness personified, and his guitar playing was unique. I can’t think of another sound like it, and can think of few other players with a sound so distinctive, so instantly recognisable. A Killing Joke track demands attention and Geordie’s riffs are the main reason why; rhythmic, primal, often savage, the audio equivalent of razor blades tearing at the air.
The first Killing Joke album I bought was ‘Night Time’, on the back of the big hit, ‘Love Like Blood’, and this was soon followed by 1983’s ‘Fire Dances’. When playing either I would feel compelled to keep the volume to a minimum, to the point where before long I would only play them when my parents were out of the house so I could listen to them loud, as nature intended. Maybe this was a subconscious act on my part, perhaps I genuinely felt that one day a track like ‘Frenzy’ or ‘Tabazan’ might invoke a physical manifestation of something evil, which, by being alone in the house, at least I would have time to try & get rid of it before anyone got wise to what was going on.
There has always been that occult-ish side to Killing Joke. For anyone who has watched the brilliant documentary about the band, ‘The Death & Resurrection Show’, – and for those who haven’t I would urge you to do so – I’m sure you will recall drummer Paul Ferguson’s darkly hilarious recollection of the time he and Jaz Coleman, having just formed the band and at that point being the sole members, decided to conduct a magic ritual at Ferguson’s home in order to summon a bass player and guitarist, which resulted in them burning the flat down. Before long, however, Geordie and Youth appeared, so, although flawed, the ritual did work eventually.
Anyway, this is for Geordie and isn’t intended as an obituary for Killing Joke, although it is hard to imagine them carrying on without him. The world has lost a unique sound and spirit with his passing, but his riffs will live on, and in his honour, here are five of the best…