An Interview with Al Jourgensen: The King of Side Projects Talks RevCo, His Production Compound and a New Solo Album
When Al Jourgensen pulled the plug on Ministry last year, a gaping hole formed where once stood a band so loud it felt as though guitar riffs could poke through your eyes, a band whose volume could only be rivaled by its scathing political commentary. But the king of side projects was quick to fill the void. Jourgensen's long-running endeavor RevCo, the band formerly known as Revolting Cocks and the creator of club classics like "Beers, Steers and Queers," released the full-length Sex-O, Olympic-O earlier this year (remix album Sex-O, MiXXX-O streets on September 29). Jourgensen's 13th Planet Records, the label he launched in 2005, has evolved into a full-service "compound" complete with studios and rehearsal spaces. And then there is his new project, one that might seem shocking to those who only associate Jourgensen with the harsh sound of songs like "Stigmata," "Thieves" and "Just One Fix."
Sunday night, Jourgensen plays with RevCo at House of Blues as part of its current tour (he's only playing a few dates with the band). Tomorrow, Hollywood club Bar Sinister will be hosting a record release party for Sex-O, MiXXX-O. The first sixty people to arrive will get a free copy of the CD and anyone showing proof of purchase for RevCo concert tickets will get into the club for $5.
Why the name change?
Because it's a new generation of kids. We're like the industrial Menudo. We get done with the old guys and then we get the new guys. We made a slight change. It would be like Menudo just being Men or Menu or something.
When you go into a project, do you go in with a distinct vision or is there overlap between your different groups?
No way. I go in there completely shitface drunk and what happens, happens. There is no plan. That's the best part about it. That's what makes it fun. It's pretty much spontaneous combustion and there is absolutely no plan, like "Hey, we're going to do this band that sounds like this." None of us know what we're doing. It's not just me that's shitface drunk and clueless, we all are. That's the best part of it.
Is it kind of like recording a party?
Yes, exactly like recording a party. Being in all of these side projects is like living in a frat house, an Animal House movie or something. There's really no plot to the whole thing. It's just a bunch of musicians getting wasted and going into the studio and having fun, creating stuff. That's the way it used to be, but now it's all corporate. I guess I don't fit in.
You kind of run the whole show now with 13th Planet, with the studio and everything, right?
Yeah, we've got the whole thing going and it's basically an artist compound. We've got thirteen bedrooms here at 13th Planet, of course, and kids come in and out and record. I help them out. It's kind of like an old '60s hippie commune only without all the pot smoking. I'm not a big pothead.
How hard was it to get it all up and running with the label and the studio and the management and publishing?
It was hard, but it's very similar to what we did at Wax Trax in the '80s. Basically, Ministry had a name and we funded Wax Trax by signing Ministry to a major label. Then the major label money came in and we got to do our own independent label. Basically, I whored out Ministry.
Right now, it's the same thing. Ministry pays all the bills and then we all get to do fun stuff. Not that Ministry isn't fun. It's really serious stuff, you know, it's pretty political and blah blah blah. Then we get to have some fun outside of that.
RevCo "(Let's Get) Physical"
With Ministry having such political lyrics, was there ever a political side to RevCo?
No, because I don't run the lyrics. Josh Bradford runs that department and he's a maniac. He has absolutely no political stance whatsover. He's just an absolute weirdo and I love him for that.
When Ministry disbanded last year, Bush was leaving office. Was there a connection between the two?
Between Bush leaving and me leaving? Oh, yeah, of course. I was turning 50. Bush was leaving. I didn't want to be one of these old rockers on stage going from stadiums down to pizza parlors and doing the State Fair circuit or something. I figured it was time. I was 50, Bush was leaving, I'm tired of singing about Bush. It was just time. Everything was pointing towards that time.
I'm working on a solo record right now, which is not metal at all. I'm working on it with Mark Thwaite from Mission U.K. He's playing guitar with Peter Murphy right now. Me and him are doing my solo record and it's really poppy stuff. All the metalheads are going to be like "This sucks!" Whatever. We're having fun with it.
Like guitar pop? Synth pop?
Both. I'm really happy with it. Mark just left today. He went to LA because he has to go on tour with Peter Murphy. He'll be back in November and then we start on it again. We have one song done that's a Christmas song. It's really uplifting, Merry Christmas to everyone, you fuckers. It's good. As a matter of fact, that's going to be released on iTunes on December 1. Ministry's first Christmas song. We already did a Halloween song, so I'm doing Christmas song and maybe in a couple of years, I'll do an Easter song.
When you mentioned the Halloween song, you mean "Everyday is Halloween," right?
This one you'll like even better than that. This one is really poppy and uplifting. There's no metal. There's no politics. There's no hatred. There's no anger. There's nothing. It's just straight, wow, this is really good stuff. Like, let's chew bubblegum and do these songs. It's good.
I saw Ministry a long time ago. My friend and I went knowing that it was going to be loud, but not realizing how loud a Ministry show actually was. So, I was wondering, what was it like to be on the stage for that?
Well, I'll tell you this, the loudest band I ever saw was Motorhead and Lemmy personally came up and told me that we're the loudest band he ever saw. To me, that meant a lot. That was like a feather in my cap. I enjoy it. A couple of the guys in the band, they had to wear in ear monitors and stuff and they don't hear how loud it is. I've never worn earplugs. We just go up there and I enjoy it. How do I say it? It rattles my balls. That kind of feels good. At my age, when you get your balls rattled and you're 50, that feels pretty good. The louder, the better.
I read that there's a new Lard album in the works.
That's going to be a while because I'm doing the solo project. I just got done with a brand new RevCo record and it's called Got Cock?, like the Got Milk? commercials, except that it's not milk on the chick's upper lip. That one is done. Lard wouldn't happen until, um, it's next on the agenda, but it wouldn't happen until early next year.
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