Paul Ferguson was the drummer in the band of Mataya Clifford (a. k. a. Mat Stagger) when he met Jaz Coleman (from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire) in Notting Hill, London. In October 1978, after Coleman was briefly the keyboard player in that band, he and Ferguson left to form Killing Joke. They placed an advertisement in Melody Maker, which attracted guitarist Geordie Walker and bassist Youth. Coleman said their manifesto at the time was to "define the exquisite beauty of the atomic age in terms of style, sound and form". Coleman gave an explanation concerning their name: "The killing joke is like when people watch something like Monty Python on the television and laugh, when really they're laughing at themselves. It's like a soldier in the first world war. He's in the trench, he knows his life is gone and that within the next ten minutes he's gonna be dead . . . and then suddenly he realises that some cunt back in Westminster's got him sussed - 'What am I doing this for? I don't want to kill anyone, I'm just being controlled'. " The band played their debut gig on 4 August 1979 at Cheltenham Witcombe Lodge supporting the Ruts and the Selecter.