John Zorn: Painkiller
John Zorn, Bill Laswell & Dave Lombardo
John Zorn has always been a voracious listener, famously building up a massive and wildly eclectic record collection. In the late 1980s, as his jump-cut quintet Naked City were slicing and dicing entire genres together within a single piece, the saxophonist and composer became enamored of hardcore and speed metal, reflecting his interest in racing through different styles as if he were channel surfing through pre-cable television.
He initially enlisted the singular Japanese musician Yamatsuka Eye—of Boredoms and Hanatarash fame—as a guest during Naked City’s final concerts and recordings, a presence who amplified the music’s ferocity and impatience. By the early 90s Zorn formed Painkiller, with bassist Bill Laswell, to focus exclusively on his fascination with vicious, guitar-driven music. For most of its active years the trio featured Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris, with Ruins drummer Yoshida Tatsuya and Hamid Drake subsequently filling in. The trio will perform again for the first time in 15 years with no less than Slayer’s Dave Lombardo atop the drum throne.