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"Painkiller", sometimes officially typed as "Pain Killer" was a band originally formed in 1991.

Their style might be described as a mix of Avant-Garde, Jazz and Grindcore. Later albums also incorporated elements of Ambient and Dub, a band that truly defies Genrefication.


The three primary members of Painkiller were;-

John Zorn on saxophone

Bill Laswell on electric bass

Mick Harris (formerly of Napalm Death and founding member of Scorn) on drums.

The band has also had several musicians make guest appearances both live and in the studio, including Yamatsuka Eye, Buckethead, 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 solely to computer music. Following his departure, many assumed that Painkiller was defunct. However, John Zorn and Laswell resurrected the project and played some live dates with Yoshida Tatsuya of Ruins (Japanese band) playing drums. Hamid Drake also sat in for John Zorn's 50th Birthday shows at Tonic in NYC. That show (which also featured Mike Patton as a guest) was released as a live album by Tzadik.

In 2008, Painkiller performed a one-off show in France featuring the original line-up of John Zorn, Laswell and Harris, along with an appearance by both Fred Frith and Mike Patton.


Albums and EPs

1) Guts of a Virgin EP (Earache Records, 1991)

Painkiller album 1.jpg

2) Buried Secrets EP (Earache Records, 1992)

Painkiller album 2.jpg

3) Rituals: Live in Japan (Toy's Factory, 1993)

Painkiller album 3.jpg

4) Execution Ground (Subharmonic, 1994)

Painkiller album 4.jpg

5) Talisman: Live in Nagoya (Tzadik, 2002)

Painkiller album 5.jpg

6) 50th Birthday Celebration Volume 12 (Tzadik, 2005) - with Hamid Drake and Mike Patton

Painkiller album 6.jpg

7) The Prophecy: Live in Europe (Tzadik, 2013) - with Yoshida Tatsuya

Painkiller album 7.jpg


1) Painkiller: The Collected Works (Tzadik, 1997) - compilation of the first two EPs with Execution Ground and a bonus live disc

2) Guts of a Virgin/Buried Secrets (Earache Records, 1998) - compilation of the first two EPs onto a single CD