Whether politics or music, Ministry’s leader Al Jourgensen is known for his uncompromising stance — and that same attitude goes toward touring.
But after 27 years of vitriol-fuelled industrial metal, the surprisingly good-natured Texan is ready to hang up his cowboy hat.
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“I wanted to end on a high note, since there’s nothing more pathetic than some band that’s too old and tries to keep touring — I call it doing the Botox tour,” he said. “I won’t do those Corn Dog tours at high schools and state fairs.”
Instead, Jourgensen decided to make this round his last. Running around planning the tour, he suffered a brutal flu, and when interviewed, was “hungover as shit” — though he sounded more energized than some artists half his age.
“This is the best band I’ve ever had, and that’s not just hype,” he said. “I’ve had the same roadies for the last five tours — for some reason those knuckleheads keep coming back to get abused by me — and they’re like ‘dude, listen to that band play, they sound really good’.”
Jourgensen is just as optimistic about the current political and musical scene. He feels more young people are turning out to vote — including the 80,000 he claims to have registered at shows in the last six years.
U.S. President George W. Bush, whom Jourgenson refers to as “that idiot,” is leaving office, making him “practically giddy” — though Jourgenson jokes that he doesn’t write good songs when there’s a Democrat in charge.
And as for the music business, Jourgensen is settling down to run his label, 13th Planet Records, and mentor younger bands.
“My advice is to get ready to sell lots of T-shirts and design a cool hoodie, because that’s the only way you’re going to make any money,” he said. “(And) if you have to try to be hard, you probably aren’t that hard.”
Rob McMahon is a freelance writer. A graduate of UBC’s Journalism program, he contributes to Metro and other publications. Top music memories include a road trip to Coachella and catching Lollapalooza ‘95.