Massacre was originally founded in 1980 in New York City by guitarist Fred Frith, bassist Bill Laswell and drummer Fred Maher as an improvising and experimental rock band. They performed live for just over a year and recorded a studio album, Killing Time (1981). Frith and Laswell reformed Massacre in 1998 with drummer Charles Hayward, and released three more albums, Funny Valentine (1998), Meltdown (2001) and Lonely Heart (2007). The last album was recorded live at two European festivals in 2003.
The BBC described Massacre as "an unholy union of The Shadows, Captain Beefheart, Derek Bailey and Funkadelic".