While some of us don't even know what we'll be doing next week, Al Jourgensen has the next two years of his life all mapped out.
Last week, Ministry's final studio opus, The Last Sucker, the scathing third installment in Jourgensen's trilogy of LPs attacking President Bush's administration, landed in record stores. In March, he'll hit the road for the last time with Ministry, the band he's fronted since he formed it in 1981, for a tour that will last five months. But before that, he has to hit the studio and record Got Co--?, the studio-album swan song from his side project the Revolting Co--s. In October, the Co--s will head out on what will be their goodbye tour, with openers Prong and Mob Research, the latest signing to Jourgensen's label, 13th Planet Records.
"I am systematically going through and putting all of my side projects to bed over the next couple of years, and then, I'll strictly concentrate on production, running the label and doing soundtracks and a lot of other weird stuff," Jourgensen said, adding that there will be future, all-culminating collections from Lard and Pailhead too. "Then I'll do Buck Satan & the 666 Shooters, a country record I've been talking about for 20 years — once you see the Buck Satan album come out, then you know I'm completely done recording."
After that, Jourgensen said he'll finally get a chance to relax.
"I'm an all-or-nothing guy," he explained. "When I'm working, I work, work, work, work, work, and when I'm not, I'm the laziest sloth this planet has ever provided us. In about two or three years, I'll go full guns, but then I'll sit on my porch with a shotgun and my hound dog and chase kids off my lawn. I'll just sit back, in my 'Sopranos' bathrobe and slippers, going out to the mailbox, picking up checks and kicking back."
But why put Ministry on the slab after all these years? Well, Jourgensen doesn't think the Republicans stand a chance in the upcoming elections, and when there's a Democrat in power, "I think we suck," he admitted. But much more than that, he wanted out before he was dragged out.
"I hate bands that hang around like 10 years too long — they're like the drunk at a party you can't get rid of," he said. "I think we're on top of our game, and old George W.'s leaving office, so I just figured it was the perfect time for us to do that. I've got a million projects going on right now, and Ministry takes up a year and a half of your time whenever we release something. Within that time, I can probably do 10 different projects. We're going out with dignity, going out with class. Even if another Republican comes back, that's the whole point of having the label — we have other voices. I'm not going to be tempted if we get some other fascist in office."
But Ministry's true finale will come in April with the release of Cover Up, a covers album. Jourgensen is releasing the set under a different moniker: Ministry and the Co-Conspirators. The disc will include guest appearances by Static-X's Wayne Static (on a rendition of the Beatles' "I Want You [She's So Heavy]"); Cheap Trick's Robin Zander (singing Golden Earring's "Radar Love"); Fear Factory's Burton Bell (on the Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb"); and Victor and Mountain guitarist Leslie West (on Mountain's "Mississippi Queen").
Still, that might not be the last album we see from Ministry.
"I'm sure there will be Ministry albums coming out over the next 20 years — you can't stop my old catalog from being repackaged and re-put-out. [Warner Bros. Records] own[s] it, so I'm sure they'll find some outtakes. If I die in a plane crash, then all hell breaks loose, and they'll have 15 albums come out in one year — rare stuff, bootlegs."
Jourgensen is also working on a soundtrack for the forthcoming horror flick "Wicked Lake." The movie is being directed by Zach Passero, who helmed the music videos for Ministry's "Lies Lies Lies" and the Revolting Co--s' "Fire Engine."
Politically speaking, Jourgensen, who claims the FBI has an active profile on him, doesn't plan on silencing himself anytime soon — and won't discuss who he will support in the next presidential election.
"I'm not done criticizing this administration — I won't stop until I actually see them all in jail, where they belong," he said. "And I won't even comment on [the current crop of presidential hopefuls]. I think a two-party system — which in essence is a one-party system with two names — really sucks, and I don't think it's a wasted vote to vote your conscience, or to vote independent or for a Green [Party] candidate, because it's the only way we're going to get an alternative to this mess we have that we call this 'democratic system.' That's how I will approach it. I'm not going to [think], 'Oh well, it's the lesser of two evils.' I think we've gotten so accustomed to doing that, so you should just vote your conscience. The whole system's broken. All these candidates are bought by specific agendas. They are all already bought. They're running on a platform of who has more money to do negative campaign ads as opposed to running on a platform of ideas."