Nirvana Pay Back Killing Joke

Dave Grohl drums on U.K. band's first studio album in seven years

April 10, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Twelve years after Nirvana borrowed heavily from Killing Joke's "Eighties" to create "Come as You Are," the reunited U.K. band is borrowing the defunct Seattle band's drummer to make its first studio album in seven years.

Dave Grohl laid down drum tracks during the last week of March at Grandmaster Studios in Hollywood for Killing Joke's The Death and Resurrection Show, due in mid-June on their Malicious Damage label, distributed by Sony. Of the 1992 Nirvana/Killing Joke controversy, Killing Joke bassist Paul Raven says, "Yeah, Dave and I had a few laughs about that over the past year or so. He mentioned it to me when I met him backstage at Pantera a couple of years back.

"Come as You Are" (1991) is fueled by a slowed-down version of the guitar riff in "Eighties" (1985). At the time, Killing Joke opted not to file a copyright infringement lawsuit for personal and financial reasons. Nirvana's then-manager Danny Goldberg later copped to the similarity between the two songs. In the 2000 book, Eyewitness Nirvana: The Day-By-Day Chronicle, Goldberg said, "We met to discuss what [Nevermind's] second single would be. We couldn't decide between 'Come as You Are' and 'In Bloom.' Kurt was nervous about 'Come as You Are' because it was too similar to a Killing Joke song ['Eighties'], but we all thought it was still the better song to go with. And, he was right, Killing Joke later did complain about it."

More than a decade later, no hard feelings remain. In fact, Killing Joke singer Jaz Coleman sang "Requiem," from their 1980 self-titled debut album, with the Foo Fighters during their show in New Zealand in January. As for Grohl's contribution to The Death and Resurrection Show, Raven says, "He's done his thing and it sounds amazing. He's on the entire record at this point. We also tracked three or four songs with John Dolmayan, the drummer from System of a Down, but since they're just compiling it now, we're not even sure what's gonna end up on the final version."

The Death and Resurrection Show, Killing Joke's first release of new material since 1996's Democracy, is produced and mixed by former Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill, who has also worked on albums by Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Jesus Lizard, Bis and Boss Hog. Artist Mike Coles, who's worked on all Killing Joke releases, is creating the album cover art. And, while other reports have cited the title of the record as "Axis of Evil," Raven says, "I believe the artwork with 'The Death and Resurrection Show' title is pretty much done."

Killing Joke plan to tour this summer and hit some of the European festivals, including Reading. As for Grohl, his current band the Foo Fighters kick off a tour in support of One by One tonight in Bakersfield, California.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

More Song Stories entries »