Last fall, Ministry's Al Jourgensen vowed to pack up his things and move to the great white north, should the nation re-elect President George W. Bush.
In an interview with the Duluth News-Tribune, the nihilistic pope of industrial metal said Ministry would "buy some parkas and be a Canadian band," in the event of a John Kerry shellacking. He'd released the band's Houses of the Molé about five months prior to making that promise — a furious and relentless onslaught of guitars and drums inspired by listening to more than 100 hours of Bush's speeches (see "In President Bush, Ministry Find Both A Monster And A Muse").
Jourgensen still lives in El Paso, Texas — but don't you dare call Al a welsh.
"We tried to move, man," he said, with a defensive tone in his gruff voice. "But Canada's the 51st state — you can't get away from the idiot. He's everywhere. So we figured we might as well come back to Texas, sleep behind enemy lines and do subversive sh-- there, as opposed to running up to Canada like the rest of the hippies did in Vietnam. We're going to stay in Texas and fight him head-to-head."
Al's planning to continue with his ongoing crusade against the Bush kith, which dates back to 1992's Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed & the Way to Suck Eggs and the track "N.W.O." Jourgensen said he'll finish working on the material for Ministry's forthcoming LP, Rio Grande Blood, before Christmas, and it's slotted for an April release. He has three tracks in the bag at this point: two as-yet-untitled cuts and "The Great Satan," which appears on the just-released Rantology, a collection of well-known Ministry tracks ("Stigmata," "Jesus Built My Hotrod") Jourgensen revisited and remixed to commemorate the band's 25th year in the biz.
"I was inspired at gunpoint to do [Rantology]," Al confessed. "The label was like, 'Oh my God — you've been around for 25 years. We've got to do a collection. It's been 25 years,' and I'm like, 'Shut up. I'm feeling old. Don't even tell people about that, man.' "
But Sanctuary, he said, was insistent on releasing something — anything. "They're like, 'We'll release these hits,' and I'm like, 'Look — we just had a greatest hits like four years ago. I'm not doing it again. F--- you.' I wanted to at least make it something special for the kids and not just a 'Let's re-release everything' disc. So I wanted to put a little work into it. I wouldn't have stopped to remix these things, because I feel like my best songs have yet to be written — so why waste time on old sh--?"
He said he plans on recording about eight more tracks for the disc, and that his muse has been providing him with endless inspiration for the new material. "I'm really pissed — so pissed," Jourgensen said. "But the more [Bush] makes himself sound like an idiot, the less I have to do."
Jourgensen's also planning on releasing an album in February from his 19-year-old side project, Revolting Cocks, called Cocked and Loaded. The disc will feature the talents of Jello Biafra, ex-Butthole Surfers frontman Gibby Haynes, ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons and Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielson.
"This is a party record, dude. It's not rap, but it would remind you of the first couple of Beastie Boys albums," he explained. "It's a bunch of middle-aged men trying to be juvenile delinquents again. It rules." The disc will boast 11 tracks, including "Purple Head," "Prunetang," "Pole Grinder," "Dead End Streets" and "Jack in the Crack."
Both the Ministry and Revolting records, which will be released through Al's 13th Planet label, will precede Jourgensen's 54-date MasterBaTour, which, although far in the future, is slotted to kick off on May 5 in Houston and run through July 14 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Ministry, the Revolting Cocks and Detroit-based Goth-rock act Spyder Baby are on the bill. He said he's also planning on re-releasing the entire Ministry catalogue through 13th Planet.
If it seems like Jourgensen's working overtime, he is. But really, when you've put your drug-addled past behind you, it's a lot easier to be productive, he said.
"The worst is living on 'Dealer Standard Time' — like, you can't do anything until the dealer gets there or, 'I can't write until I'm high, dude,' " Al, who's been clean for more than three years, said. "Now it's like, 'I have this idea. Let's go do it' — and bam! It's done."
Not that drugs ever helped him to be productive. "You know," he recalled, "there was this one time when we decided we needed backup gospel vocals for 'Destruction,' " from 1988's The Land of Rape and Honey. "So we got this Baptist choir [to come] in from the south side of Chicago — 60 people strong. We decided to dose all of them with acid while they were there. So we had 60 crazy Baptists tripping on a Sunday morning. But they got too high to sing, which we weren't anticipating. We figured everyone had the same tolerance for acid that we did at the time. So we weren't sure why all these people were acting so weird. We put it in their coffee that morning. We didn't get much done — a lot of them left, but some of them started praying real hard."