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Painkiller (also officially known as Pain Killer) is a band originally formed in 1991. Their style can be described as a mix of avant-garde jazz and grindcore; later albums also incorporated elements of ambient and dub.[1]

The three primary members of the band were: John Zorn on saxophone, Bill Laswell on electric bass and 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 departed from the band in 1995 to dedicate himself solely to computer music; following his departure many assumed that Painkiller was defunct. However, Zorn and Laswell resurrected the band name and played some dates generally with Yoshida Tatsuya playing drums. Hamid Drake also sat in on the occasion of their show during Zorn's 50th Birthday month run of shows at Tonic in NYC. That show (which also had Mike Patton guest) was released by Tzadik.

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



Execution Ground
Execution Ground is a double CD by Painkiller, a band featuring John Zorn, Bill Laswell, and Mick Harris.
Buried Secrets
Buried Secrets is the second EP by Painkiller originally released by Toy's Factory in Japan and Earache in the UK, featuring guest appearances from Justin Broadrick and G.C. Green from Godflesh.
Guts of a Virgin
Guts of a Virgin is the first EP by Painkiller, a band featuring John Zorn, Bill Laswell and Mick Harris.
Rituals: Live in Japan
Rituals: Live in Japan is a live CD by Painkiller, a band featuring John Zorn, Bill Laswell, and Mick Harris, performing live in Tokyo in 1991 with guest guitar and vocals from Haino Keiji.

Photos - Painkiller8

Popular Albums5

Album Appearances & References14

Popular Live Albums3

Music-Related Relationships5

Band Members3

You May Also Be Interested In11

Spotify - Albums21


Spotify - Appears On14


Spotify - Top Tracks10


Affiliated Locations3