Painkiller (band)

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Pain Killer
OriginNew York City
GenresAvant-garde jazz, experimental rock, grindcore, avant-garde metal
Years active1991–1995, 2003, 2004–2006, 2008
LabelsEarache, Tzadik
Past members

Painkiller (also known as Pain Killer) is an avant-garde jazz and grindcore band that formed in 1991. Later albums incorporated elements of ambient and dub.[1]

The three primary members of Painkiller were John Zorn on saxophone, Bill Laswell on bass guitar and Mick Harris on drums. Zorn and Laswell work in the New York avant-garde jazz music scene. Harris was the drummer for the grindcore band Napalm Death.[2] Harris' blast beats inspired Zorn to create his signature style, forming improvisational groups like Naked City that merged disparate genres into a unique scene.[3] Several musicians have made guest appearances both live and in the studio, including Buckethead, Yamatsuka Eye, Mike Patton, Makigami Koichi, Justin Broadrick and G. C. Green of Godflesh, and Keiji Haino of Fushitsusha.

Harris left the band in 1995 to dedicate himself to computer music. Zorn and Laswell resurrected Painkiller and played with Yoshida Tatsuya of Ruins on drums. Hamid Drake joined the band for Zorn's 50th Birthday shows at Tonic in New York City. That show (which also featured Patton as a guest) was released as a live album by Tzadik.

In 2008, Painkiller performed a one-off show in Paris, France with the original line-up of Zorn, Laswell, and Harris, along with an appearance by Fred Frith and Patton.[4]

Band members[edit]

Last lineup

  • John Zorn – saxophone (1991–1995, 2003, 2004–2006, 2008)
  • Bill Laswell – bass guitar (1991–1995, 2003, 2004–2006, 2008)
  • Mick Harris – drums (1991–1995, 2008)

Former members



Box sets[edit]


  1. ^ Christie, I. Painkiller entry accessed 22 July 2008.
  2. ^ Huey, Steve. "Pain Killer". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  3. ^ Shteamer, Hank (2020-06-22). "'He Made the World Bigger': Inside John Zorn's Jazz-Metal Multiverse". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2022-04-20.
  4. ^ Violator_Vtr, 2008 06 23 Painkiller (w Mike Patton) - Cité de la Musique, Paris, France, retrieved 2022-04-20
  5. ^ "Pain Killer | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 December 2018.