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Helmets of blood: The Lost Gospels of Al Jourgensen
03.22.2017
11:03 am
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First of all, let’s face it, there is no way to overestimate Ministry’s influence on rock ‘n’ roll. For one brief moment in time (let’s say 1988), they were the heaviest band on the planet, and they are clearly the greatest industrial-rock band of all time (unless you include fire tricks, then obviously Rammstein). And probably the best part about it is that they’ve been shepherded for the past thirty-something years by a complete maniac.

“God, I hate that guy. And he owes me an ass-fuck.”
- Al Jourgensen on Robert Plant

Frontman/chief-strategist/visionary Al Jourgensen started Ministry in Chicago in 1981. Originally they were a soppy synth-pop band (see 1983’s With Sympathy album, still a dancefloor fave among less sociopathic new-wavers), but as the 80s wore on, the drugs and the guitars and the psychiatric disorders took hold and by 1987’s Land of Rape and Honey album, the sound and vision had evolved into an ear-bleeding digital acid-metal nightmare. Shows became war zones. The band ushered in the 90s with hardcore sex and violence and enough Marshall stacks to topple the New World Order. Throughout it all, Jourgensen crawled through the muck of his own tortured psyche, drowning his psychosis with more psychosis in an endless orgy of sex, drugs and debauchery. And in 2013, he spilled the beans in a tell-all autobio, The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen,  that would swear even the most hardened drug enthusiast into a life of quiet sobriety. I mean, this is how the goddamn book starts:

“All that came out of me was blood, and there was so much pouring out of my dick and asshole that I started to panic. I didn’t want the toilet to overflow, so I took off the helmet, held it to my ass, and let the blood pour in there. I fell off the toilet and I tried to put the helmet back on, and about twelve ounces of blood matted down my hair and ran down my face, pooling with the blood that was dribbling out of my face and nose.”

 

A Young Al Jourgensen (with Stephen “Stevo” George) in his pre-pissing blood pretty boy days
 
Given that audacious opener, you may be expecting a redemption story. Well, he eventually gets his teeth fixed, but that’s about it. Mostly it’s just full-tilt gonzo, all the time. Just ask Butthole Surfers’ megaphone abuser Gibby Haynes, who is no stranger to bad craziness himself. Touring with Ministry was heavy even for him.

“I had never really done that, where it was girls, hotel rooms, girls, blowjobs. There were so many girls and so many drugs, so much nudity. I was lying on the floor, and Al glanced over at me and went, ‘Nice cock, Haynes.’ I was like, ‘Aw man, no one’s ever told me that before.’ That’s so sweet. It might not be true, but it’s nice to hear.”

Hayne is not exaggerating, either. There’s an incredible amount of really weird, gross group sex on display in this book, most of it involving Jourgensen, it being his autobiography and all.

“One night I fucked a paraplegic chick in a wheelchair. I think she had Parkinson’s. So she’s blowing a guy in our crew and I’m fucking her. She’s wearing a colostomy bag, and I was naturally curious. I stopped fucking her for a second and I started squeezing the bag back into her.”

And as soon as the fucking is over, the drugs, booze, paranoia and craziness starts back up. And it’s not just Jourgensen. Most of his cohorts are just as nuts. Here’s a snapshot from the book of life with Pigface/Ministry singer Chris Connolly:

“One day Chris comes running over, sweating and all freaked out, saying skinheads attacked him. I grabbed some pepper spray and a baseball bat; I didn’t have a gun back then. I go running outside to confront these skinheads who harassed my new vocalist. It was two ten-year-olds on their bikes. I asked him, ‘is that what harassed you?’ And he said yeah. I was like, “They’re ten-year-olds with tennis rackets. I don’t waste pepper spray on ten-year-olds.”

 

El Duce, only just slightly more epically fucked than the guy from Ministry
 
He also spent more time with Mentors’ frontman El Duce than anybody in their right mind would.

“A couple of times he passed out in the aisle of the drugstore after stealing mouthwash. They’d arrest him and then we’d have to bail him out for being drunk in Walgreens. You can’t tell me that’s not cool, man.”

S’pose not!
 

What does this man have in common with Al Jourgensen? It might not be the first thing that comes to mind…

More after the jump…

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Posted by Ken McIntyre
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03.22.2017
11:03 am
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Tactics for Evolution: Industrial socialist pioneers Test Dept, live in Berlin, 1997
02.16.2016
12:03 pm
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When Test Dept were at the end of their first incarnation, performing at the Island Open Air Festival in Berlin, during August of 1997, the group had progressed from their hard industrial sound (hammers hitting metal) to a more experimental electronica much related (a second cousin twice removed, perhaps) to rave culture.

Some artists and musicians need pricks to kick against in order to produce great art—otherwise they would all end up being as anodyne as Justin Bieber or as deluded as Kanye West. Test Dept had the extreme machinations of the British Conservative government to kick against when they formed in south London’s docklands in 1981. Test Dept described themselves as “an urgent reaction to the materialistic drift and reactionary conservatism of the prevailing musical and political culture.” They were the antithesis of the moronic inferno of commercial music and the perniciousness of right-wing politics. Their motto was:

EXTREME CONDITIONS DEMAND EXTREME RESPONSES.

Test Dept were in opposition to the extreme conditions being created by the ruling Conservative party under the prime ministership of Margaret Thatcher. Mrs. T. had been elected in May 1979 on a campaign that claimed the previous Labor government had created high unemployment. By 1981 the irony fairy had been working overtime and Thatcher’s policies doubled the number of unemployed. It eventually reached a massive high of over 3 million people by the mid-1980s.

Across the country, industries and businesses were closed. Essential social services were devastated by the Tory’s cuts, which will sound familiar to younger generations. Thatcher operated on the belief that the previous Labor government had made the British far too dependent on state hand-outs (welfare) and this was why she hacked away at the benefits system like a drunk gardener uprooting roses to kill the weeds.
 

 
Test Dept were a response to the obscenity of a new political order and the decay and poverty left in its wake. TD scavenged for the tools to make their industrial sonic attack—discarded sheet metal, hammers, oil drums. They were aligned to political activism—seeking like-minded collaborators—filmmakers, sculptors, dancers and politically active groups—to produce site-specific works to fight back and bring change. In 1984, at the height of the miners’s strike—when Thatcher closed the mines and starved the miners out of work—TD collaborated with miners and their families to draw attention to their plight and raise money for their funds.

Anyone who saw TD during this decade felt emboldened and empowered to fight back against the Tories and bring about a fairer more equal society. They are very much needed again now.

As if responding to some psychic Bat signal, Test Dept regrouped for the release of a book to commemorate their involvement with the miners’ strike. Next month they’ll premier their soundtrack to the recently rediscovered and restored Soviet silent film masterpiece An Unprecedented Campaign by Mikhail Kaufman. Test Dept will appear at the film’s premiere in Newcastle, details here.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
EXTREME CONDITIONS DEMAND EXTREME RESPONSES: Test Dept’s industrial strength Socialism

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.16.2016
12:03 pm
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Collapsing and building: Blixa Bargeld documentary and “bloopers”

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Few artists personify the spirit of demoralized post-‘60s Europe like Blixa Bargeld, the frontman for legendary German post-industrial music outfit Einstürzende Neubauten. Born in Berlin two years before the Wall went up, Bargeld leveraged his destroyed looks and singular voice—which Nick Cave likened to the sound of strangled cats or dying children—to make Neubauten the key progenitors of Western machine-age art.

As brought to our attention by TwentyFourBit‘s esteemed Peter Henry Reed (and fortunately for us English-speaking-only dopes), YouTuber Nevaree has seen fit to add English subtitles to Birgit Herdlitschke’s fascinating 2008 Blixa doc, Mein Leben. It traces Bargeld’s journey from young, torn-up Berlin musician to cosmopolitan middle-aged avant-garde artiste, actor, and gourmet, and features both answers to the heroin question and a visit with his charming mutti.
 

 
Mein Leben part 2 | Mein Leben part 3 | Mein Leben part 4
 
After the jump: Blixa grimaces at Neubauten live mistakes…

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Posted by Ron Nachmann
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03.04.2011
11:06 am
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Some of Sleazy’s Best: The ecstatic anthropology of Threshold HouseBoys Choir

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Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson’s passing yesterday evoked many tributes to the man as a member of influential electronic acts Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV and Coil. But we haven’t heard quite enough about one of his best solo projects, Threshold HouseBoys Choir.

Both live and on the guise’s single proper release, Form Grows Rampant, THBC basically comprised Sleazy backing his own video of various rituals at the Vegetarian Festival in southern Thailand’s Krabi Town (12 hours from his adopted home of Bangkok) with an abstract soundtrack that drew on the many field recordings he made in the city. Christopherson’s infamous fascination with the young active male body is clear in this work. But many of the problematics surrounding the European gaze that typifies exotica seem mitigated somehow by the late composer’s intimate audio-visual treatment. 

Overall, Christopherson’s work helped create a literary, psychotropic aesthetic that synthesized aspects of outside sexuality, technology, and ritual magick, bound by a wry sense of humor. THBC brought that angle to a highly personal level, and will stand as an evocative late moment in the man’s prolific career.
 

 
More from Form Grows Rampant after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Nachmann
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11.26.2010
12:16 pm
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X-TG carry on

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The question of whether or not Genesis Breyer P-Orridge has quit Throbbing Gristle remains not fully answered. Despite Thee Deevelopment, TGers Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson, Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti have gone on to fulfill their early-November live TG obligations in Italy and Portugal as X-TG. The group has uploaded some media from those shows on their new site.

P-Orridge’s ambivalent statement on the matter was offset by “Unkle Sleazy’s” take, and there’s likely debate as to how much value a P-Orridge-less TG holds. I’d think the excerpts below from the two shows speak for themselves.
 

  X-TG ‘XPad’ Live at Porto Casa Musica by Industrial Records
 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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11.14.2010
07:49 pm
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