28 October 2007

Paul Raven - RIP

Photo of Paul Raven
Paul Vincent Raven
, born 16 January 1961 in Wolverhampton, passed away in Geneva on 20 October 2007 at the age of 46 from a heart attack.

Known as ‘Raven’ to his fans, his contribution to the music world began in the early 1980s as bassist for Killing Joke, the seminal post-punk, industrial band from the UK. Raven enjoyed success with Killing Joke during the height of their popularity with the singles ‘Love Like Blood’ and ‘Eighties’, before departing during the recording of their 1988 album Outside the Gate.

Following the break-up of Killing Joke, Raven formed the industrial metal band Murder, Inc in 1991 with former Killing Joke band mates Geordie Walker, Martin Atkins and ‘Big Paul’ Ferguson. He also participated in industrial rock super-group Pigface, a project conceived by Killing Joke drummer Martin Atkins, which over the years, included contributions from Trent Reznor, Genesis P-Orridge, Flea, John Lydon, Jello Biafra, Bill Rieflin and Chris Vrenna. Raven’s next musical project was with the band Prong, followed by a career as a producer and remixer. He also played with the band Zilch, a project which suffered a premature demise when front man Hideto ‘Hide’ Matsumoto died in 1998.

Raven joined industrial metal band Godflesh in 2001, however the band disbanded in 2002 when founding member Justin Broadrick suffered a nervous breakdown just before departing for a tour of the US. In 2003, Raven played bass on Society 1’s ‘Exit Through Fear’ album and briefly toured with the band. Society 1 front man Matt Zane issued a statement upon Raven’s death:

“The thing about Raven is that, after working together, he made an effort in the following years to stay in touch, even if it was just to drop you a quick message to let you know he was keeping an eye on you,” he said. “That’s what separated him in my eyes from all the other musicians I’ve had dealings with over the years.”

Raven rejoined Killing Joke for their 2003 album Killing Joke and its follow-up, Hosannas From the Basements of Hell. In 2005, Raven began working with Al Jourgensen on Ministry’s album Rio Grande Blood and, in 2006, he completed a European and American tour with the band. In 2007, Raven wrote and recorded on Ministry’s final studio album, The Last Sucker. Of working with Ministry, Raven said that the political bent of the music is what attracted him to the band. In an interview with Gearwire in December 2006, Raven said, “For me, politics and punk rock went together…I have tried to keep my musical roots intact. I have lived in America so long I feel entitled to state my opinion. Maybe I can put a foot on George Bush’s ass on his way out of the White House.”

He also began work on his own project, Mob Research, and was recording with the band Treponem Pal on their new album at the time of his death. Prong band mate, Ted Parsons, found Raven sitting in a chair without a pulse on the morning of 20 October and called the ambulance, who were unable to revive him.

“I’m devastated,” Parsons told the BBC. “He will be missed by many.”

Killing Joke front man, Jaz Coleman, said on the Killing Joke website, “We are all deeply stricken with grief at the unannounced departure of possibly the funniest man on planet Earth and a brother to us all…unimaginable sadness is felt by all.”

Raven’s brother, Daniel, announced on Mob Research’ MySpace blog on 25 October that, due to confusion and a complicated set of circumstances, Raven’s body is unable to be repatriated to his native England and that a cremation and service in Raven’s memory will be held in the city of Annecy in France in late October.


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