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Wednesday, 5 December, 2001, 17:32 GMT
My Music: Jaz Coleman
Jaz Coleman
Coleman has moved from rock to classical - and elswhere
Vocalist and keyboard-player Jaz Coleman was the co-founder of post-punk rockers Killing Joke, whose recording career lasted from 1980 to1996.

Coleman is also an orchestral composer, best known for his composition The Doors Concerto, performed by Nigel Kennedy.


What was the most recent album you bought?

Promeny, by Czech band Cechomor on Universal Records.

Where do you most like listening to music - and why?

I like to regularly listen to my own music in an expensive recording studio, with an orchestra of 120. I am totally addicted to the process of writing and recording all my classical works.

What songs do you sing in the bath ?

The Rezzillos' Someone's Going To Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight - or for serious drinking, The Revolution Starts at Closing Time.

Are there any songs you can't listen to because they remind you of something you'd rather forget?

Nimrod from Elgar's Enigma Variations. This particular piece conjures up the England of my childhood, with all the images of the hedgerows and the classic English landscape that is disappearing so rapidly.

It conjures up a picture of the country that I loved.

What song always makes you cry?

The song that makes me cry is an old folk song called You Are Happy Janek by Cechomor, on the album Promeny.

The reason it affects me emotionally is that the song is some 400 years old, and tells the true story of a man imprisoned in a castle in Bohemia. He has just received news from his lover outside that she loves him and will wait for him.

What were the first album and single you ever bought?

I bought my first album at the age of six - Russian Orchestral Masterpieces, performed by Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra on the MFP label.

I never buy singles.

Which is your favourite song? And your least favourite song?

My favourite song is the New Zealand national anthem, in which I take a credit for changing it from English into the native Maori tongue.

This was at the last rugby World Cup at Twickenham between the All Blacks and England. When the national anthems of the respective countries were sung, I managed to manipulate a well known Maori activist into singing the national anthem in the Maori tongue.

If you can imagine nine million Kiwis worldwide who were unable to sing their own anthem you also would have fallen down laughing at the side of the pitch like I did.

This event was debated in the New Zealand parliament for a further six months, and was resolved in favour of the Maori language being sung under New Zealand law in the National Anthem.

My least favourite song is the New Zealand National Anthem in English!

Which song by another artist do you wish you had written?

Praise the Lord And Pass The Ammunition (a traditional American folk song).

Do you prefer CDs or vinyl?

Vinyl - the majority of musicians and sound engineers seem to agree it still has the edge over CDs. The second reason is that you are able to see the detail of the artwork.

Roughly how many records are there in your collection?

Thirty-three - all my own work.

How long do you spend browsing in record shops - and what's the best record you've ever bought on impulse?

I don't browse through record shops and never buy records on impulse.

Which song from the past 12 months is most likely to gain classic status?

Promeny by Cechomor.

Which artists do you currently most admire ?

Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter.

If you organised your dream music festival, who would have as headline act - and supporting acts?

Killing Joke as headline band, supported by Ramstein, Natacha Atlas, Cechomor, Big Youth - and Jaz Coleman conducting the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra.

  • Two new works by Jaz Coleman will be premièred at the Royal Opera House on 9 December at 1500 GMT

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