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‘Don’t Kill the Animals’: PETA’s 1987 experimental compilation produced by Ministry’s Al Jourgensen


 
Celebrity endorsements of PETA are nearly as infamous as the company’s graphic and often-questionable awareness campaigns. Since the animal rights organization was founded in 1980, influential figures from the arts and entertainment world have voiced their concerns over animal cruelty, whether in favor of vegetarianism or in disapproval of product testing on animals. Even Iggy Pop and Nick Cave are known proponents.
 
The man behind the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ most controversial campaigns is Senior Vice President, Dan Matthews. Much earlier in his career, before more famous people like Paul McCartney, Pink and Pamela Anderson got involved, Dan reached out to none other than Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen—an inspired choice, I think you’ll agree—about a compilation album to benefit PETA. With Jourgensen on board as the album’s primary producer, Matthews put together a different kind of record; one that would find a correlation between music and animal activism.
 

 
Featuring a forlorn monkey in a laboratory on its cover, Animal Liberation was released by legendary Chicago independent label Wax Trax! on April 21st, 1987. All songs on the compilation were donated to PETA by the artists (some had been previously released) and featured subjects of animal cruelty. Among key contributors to the album were musicians like The Smiths, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Captain Sensible, Chris & Cosey, Shriekback, and a collaboration between Nina Hagen and Lene Lovich. Song clips between tracks featured ominous segments of “actual dialogue from animal experimenters and meat farmers and actual alerts from TV and radio shows.” While Jourgensen did not contribute any actual music to the project, the interlude clips were all produced by him.
 
From the album’s linear notes:
 

In 1985, Dan Matthews (PETA) approached Al Jourgensen (Ministry, Wax Tax) about helping put together a “different” sort of benefit album - for animal rights. Sympathetic artists from across America and Europe were approached to donate material on animal issues (some songs previously released). From all these submissions, ANIMAL LIBERATION has surfaced - the songs interspersed with action segments containing actual dialogue from animal experimenters and meat farmers and actual alerts from TV and radio shows. The introduction carries, in 11 languages, the central theme: “ANIMALS ARE NOT OURS TO EAT, WEAR OR EXPERIMENT ON.”

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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11.13.2017
01:23 pm
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Al Jourgensen and Gibby Haynes were Timothy Leary’s psychedelic guinea pigs


via Timothy Leary Archives
 
I knew Al Jourgensen and Dr. Timothy Leary were friends. Leary’s voice opened the Revolting Cocks’ Linger Ficken’ Good (see below), and when I saw Ministry at the Hollywood Palladium a couple weeks before Leary’s death in ‘96, Jourgensen announced from the stage that Tim was in the building. Jourgensen writes in his memoir that at the Palladium, he and Leary “hung out with Joe Strummer and Captain Sensible, and the four of us did more cocaine than you can fit onto a picnic table.”

But I was unprepared for the revelation, dropped as casually as a handkerchief two-thirds of the way through the same book, that Jourgensen lived with Leary for two years in the mid-90s, during which time both he and Gibby Haynes were test subjects for Leary’s experiments with psychedelics.

In the context of the book, this comes as a piece of good news, because at least Al is getting something like a doctor’s care. Fix, the depressing documentary filmed on Ministry’s Filth Pig tour (or “Sphinctour”), leaves no doubt as to the severity of Al’s multiple drug problems during this time, and the corresponding chapters of the book open dark new vistas of degradation. (One of Jourgensen’s war stories from this period includes the sentence: “She’s wearing a colostomy bag, and I was naturally curious.”)
 

Timothy Leary backstage at a Ministry show
 
At this point in the narrative, White Zombie bassist Sean Yseult has kicked Jourgensen out of their shared apartment on Melrose, and he has moved in with Leary. And here comes Gibby Haynes:

In addition to taking me in, Tim let Gibby Haynes stay at his house for a while. Tim encouraged us to take whatever drugs we wanted—he was the guru of LSD, after all. But as an academic and a researcher, he wanted to see what effects different hallucinogens had when they were coupled with different substances—coke, heroin, Nyquil, Hungry Man dinners. He would get all this hallucinogenic shit mailed to him from all these companies and universities and then test it on us every couple weeks. Actually, it was mostly on me. He kicked Gibby out of the house after he peed in the drawer of an antique desk in Tim’s office when he was off his head. So Gibby went and I stayed. Tim would get me to shoot up all these laboratory drugs that were based out of MDA—ecstasy and Ayahuasca, an Amazonian concoction made from shrubs, leaves, and Virola, a South American drug that you grind into a powder and cook down. Tim had me shooting up all this shit. He would be all excited and say, “Hey, I got a new package.” And I would groan, “Okay, fuck. Let’s do it.” I would shoot it up, and he would scribble down notes on how the drugs affected me. I don’t know what he was writing because to me the hallucinations were always the same.

I’d have these horrific visions of Hell and the apocalypse: naked people with blood spouting from every orifice; skies that turned black, then silver, then white again; winged beasts with razor-sharp talons; and, most of all, spiders of all shapes and sizes. They’d fall from the sky. They’d come up from the ground. They’d creep around corners and crawl all over me. I’d be screaming and trying to brush off the bugs. And I’d always end up staggering over to Tim’s blind dog, Mr. Bodles, that Lemmy, my dog, is probably related to. I’d grab his collar, and he would take me outside so I could breathe without spiders scurrying in my mouth and down my throat. Talk about the blind leading the blind. After an hour or so Tim would come out and stare at me. Then he’d take more notes and ask me some questions about how I was feeling and what I was seeing. He’d measure the diameter of my pupils and see if I could track his fingers with my eyes. I don’t know if I passed or failed; I just know I saw spiders. The stuff he gave me was so strong that it took effect in less than twenty minutes. The visions were instantaneous, and they were never enjoyable. But I’d subject myself to it because it helped him out somehow, and I knew if I did my job, my rent was paid and I had a place to stay.

 

Jourgensen and Leary horsing around
 
Elsewhere in the book, Gibby Haynes shares his own memories of the Leary years in an interview with the book’s co-author, Jon Wiederhorn:

When [Al] hooked me up with Tim Leary a lot of weird situations happened. We got kicked out of a Johnny Cash concert at the Viper Room because Tim was heckling Johnny Cash. The killer one was waking up in Tim’s study and seeing him feverishly typing three feet away from me. I was so hungover that I had pissed in his kitchen. He was nervously typing, like I shouldn’t have been in the room, and I discovered my dick was hanging out of my pants and was warm and moist.

Errr, what caused that?
Who knows? I guess when you sleep in Tim Leary’s study your dick comes out of your pants and gets warm and moist.

Maybe you pissed yourself?
I definitely pissed in his kitchen. Oh, and I let his blind dog shit in his living room. In the middle of the summer the sliding-glass doors to his house were open. I shut them in the middle of the night. I didn’t know you were supposed to leave them open because of his blind dog: It was the only way he could go outside to poop in the middle of the night. Not only did I urinate in his kitchen but I let a dog shit in his living room. I was not the consummate houseguest.

Is that why Tim kicked you out of his house?
The urine thing wasn’t really my fault. I was like, “Dude, your entire kitchen is white. That screams toilet to me.” There were probably three times I got so drunk in the middle of the night I got up and randomly urinated. It usually involved the color white. I peed on a couple one time, in their bed in the middle of the night. Their room was white.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.26.2016
08:57 am
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If you’ve got a few thousand bucks to spare, you could always attend the ‘Ministry Boot Camp’
01.26.2016
12:46 pm
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Attention Ministry diehards! (If there are any still out there.) Al Jourgensen recently announced that three hundred lucky Ministry devotees will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pay for the privilege of a big bath of Ministry love (including “access to band rehearsals” and “access to band’s soundcheck before show”) all while staying at the swanky Freemont Country Club in downtown Las Vegas at the end of May.

The whole affair is called “Ministry Boot Camp,” and it’s basically a massive Ministry fantasy weekend in which you can spend three nights in a fancy hotel room and have a Q&A session with Jourgensen, attend a Ministry show in the “VIP area,” get shit signed (one item only, greedheads!), and so on.
 

 
The full weekend has a tiered pricing structure in which you can pay $2,000 to become a Ministry “Sergeant,” $3,000 to become a Ministry “Major,” or $4,000 to become a Ministry “Colonel.” (I love the military metaphor, it’s just like joining the KISS Army!) The three packages are distinguished by how nice a room you get and if you can pick your roommate and stuff like that. But all three packages receive the following:
 

Three nights accommodations at The Golden Nugget (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
$50 food and beverage credit per day (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Welcome reception with the band Friday night
Access to band rehearsals Friday & Saturday night
Access to band’s soundcheck before show on Sunday night
Access to full live show on Sunday night with VIP area
Q&A session w/ Al Jourgensen and Ministry
TBA daytime activities with Al Jourgensen and Ministry
Meet and greet with Al Jourgensen and Ministry including individual photograph and signing of one item (With Sympathy excluded)
Ministry merch goodie bag

 
Remember, don’t bring a copy of With Sympathy and expect Al to sign that shit! It ain’t gonna happen.

Upon reading this announcement, a friend wondered, “Does this mean he didn’t meet his Patreon goal?”

Turns out, that witticism may be dead-on accurate. Late last year (sometime in November, it seems) Jourgensen actually did start a Patreon crowdfunding project with the stated goal of generating $5,000 a month—as of now the page has stalled at $525.44 per month (which is still kind of impressive).

More Ministry, after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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01.26.2016
12:46 pm
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Ministry’s Al Jourgensen guests on the new single by ONO: A DM premiere
07.28.2015
09:44 am
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Now that ONO’s second incarnation has lasted longer than its first, the theatrical gospel/avant-noise performance-poet/musicians (did I leave anything out?) seem to be picking up long-overdue steam. Dangerous Minds clued you in on them a few months ago, in a guest post by Plastic Crimewave Sound/Moonrises psychedelia pooh-bah Steve Kraków, so I’ll go easy on the history here and refer you to that post, but the tl;dr is that ONO’s singer/invoker of spirits Travis and sonic guru P. Michael Grego led the archly arty Chicago band from 1980-86. They resurrected the project with new and returning members in 2007, releasing the album Albino in 2012, and going on their first tour in 2014, in support of the album Diegesis.

I was incredibly fortunate to have been in one of the opening bands for ONO’s very first show on tour last summer, and it is to my lasting regret that I didn’t think to shoot any video. Travis, resplendent in white (he often sports a wedding dress, to match his white beard) cut a compelling and shamanic figure while the band’s improvisations lurched about dizzyingly and unpredictably. I could not help but think that if only they had gotten out of Chicago more in their original incarnation, they’d be so much better known today. P. Michael was quoted in an excellent 2008 Rocktober article as having said “We toured in our mind, but not in our feet.” Pity. An ONO show can be described, but only seeing one is seeing one. Frontmen like Travis do not come along often.
 

 
But cross your fingers, if we’re lucky another tour could be in the offing, as ONO’s third new album since their reactivation is due this fall. Titled Spooks, the album features contributions from Tiger Hatchery drummer Ben Baker Billington, OBNOX singer/guitarist Lamont Thomas, and I shit you not Ministry leader Al Jourgensen. Jourgensen contributed to the band’s first album, Machines That Kill People, and has significant behind-the-scenes history with ONO. P. Michael again, from the same Rocktober interview:

We ran into this guy that was skating that turned out to be Al Jourgensen. He was in the Immune System and then he left them and then he was going into Special Affect. One night they were playing with Naked Raygun. Somehow we knew Naked Raygun, probably by going out dancing. No, we hadn’t played any shows at all, but Naked Raygun saw us somewhere. Special Affect was playing at the Exit, and Naked Raygun was opening for them. They asked us to go on after them, like at two in the morning. So the first ONO show was me, Travis and Mark [Berrand, guitar]. After that, we had gotten shows at O’Banions, Lucky Number. We played a lot of these old punk venues little by little. Mark eventually had to leave town; that’s how Ric [Graham, sax] got into the band. Al, who by then had left Special Affect and was starting up a group called Ministry, his girlfriend was Shannon Rose Riley at the time. He said, “I got somebody that would really be cool for you guys,” and he introduced us to her. She sorta played saxophone and the accordion. She was a character. She joined up with us, and Al said “I got this record deal. Thermidor Records (owned by Joe Carducci and Joe Boshard, distributed by SST) wants Special Affect singles. They had officially broken up, but he had told Thermidor Records about us. So they were interested. Al was going to go into the studio with us. We were gonna make a single. We were able to get a hold of Al and his engineer, which was Iain Burgess, so we went out to Chicago Recording Studios to record two numbers with Shannon, and Al was the producer.

 

 

 
Shannon Rose Riley—who Jourgensen credits with launching his career in his autobiography Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen—is still involved with ONO, listed in the band’s Punk Database page as “Sax-Bass, Percussion and Keyboards.” The collaboration with Jourgensen is called “Punks,” and you’re hearing it here first.
 

 
After the jump a taste of live ONO that actually captures the chaotic feeling of being there… and more!

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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07.28.2015
09:44 am
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Al Jourgensen & Trent Reznor’s cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Supernaut,’ remixed by Die Krupps


 
By about a thousand lengths, Black Sabbath’s best song is “Supernaut” from Black Sabbath Vol.4. You’re free to argue the point, but you won’t change my mind. Yeah, “Paranoid” and “Iron Man” are obviously among metal’s greatest works, and the MONSTER riffs from “N.I.B.” and “Into the Void”  are indelible. But “Supernaut?” BEST. PERIOD. The hefty physicality of Tony Iommi’s performance of the main guitar riff melts me down into a puddle every time I hear it, and when Ozzy wails “I wanna reach out and touch the sky / I wanna touch the sun but I don’t need to fly”  I goddamn believe HE CAN, with or without mountains of drugs. It’s absolutely perfect.
 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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05.13.2015
08:44 am
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‘The Game is Over’: Previously unreleased Ministry song from 1983
03.25.2015
07:52 am
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In late 1983, after completing the With Sympathy tour, Ministry hunkered down at Pierce Arrow Recorders in Evanston, IL, to write and demo new music. Four songs were tracked in what would be just about the last gasp of the band’s first incarnation. The band’s singer/guitarist/keyboardist Alain Jourgensen, keyboardist Robert Roberts, and drummer Stephen George were joined by touring bassist Brad Hallen to work on the songs “The Game Is Over,” “Let’s Be Happy,” “Same Old Scene,” and “Wait,” none of which were ever officially released.

Which may have been because the band was about to change dramatically. Founding keyboardist John Davis was already out, and Roberts would exit for good soon after these sessions, and while George and Hallen would remain on board in diminishing capacities, appearing last in a remix of song that made its way onto the Twitch LP, Jourgensen’s increasing interest in the danceable industrial music typified by Cabaret Voltaire was steering Ministry away from the dark synthpop they’d been pursuing, and towards the much more aggressive sound of the band’s lasting fame. But from what one can hear of those four dead-end demos, Ministry may well have evolved satisfyingly even without such a major sea change. Here’s “The Game is Over.” It’s never been heard before—I couldn’t even find it bootlegged, and believe me, I hunted. It’s of a piece with all of Ministry’s early work, but, and perhaps this is due to the prominence given bassist Hallen, it feels more organic and flexible than With Sympathy, and more in line with the band’s live recordings from that era.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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03.25.2015
07:52 am
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‘Saturn Drive’: When Alan Vega met Ministry, 1983
10.20.2014
02:03 pm
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Saturn Strip, Suicide frontman Alan Vega’s third solo album and his first for a major label (Elektra), kicks off with the single “Saturn Drive,” a six-minute hybrid of early Ministry synth and sequencer sounds and Vega’s futuristic rockabilly. Co-written by Vega and Alain Jourgensen, the single was recorded with the whole With Sympathy team: Jourgensen plays keyboards, his original Ministry partner Stephen George drums, and Ian Taylor and (former Psychedelic Fur) Vince Ely are credited with producing the song’s basic tracks. Vega’s staunch supporter Ric Ocasek, who produced Saturn Strip (as well as the second, third and fourth Suicide albums), also appears on the song playing guitar and keyboards.
 

 
Vega’s lyrics to this time-traveling sci-fi epic aren’t easy to find online, so I’ve transcribed them for you from my tear-stained copy of Cripple Nation:

Wild stormy Monday
A gray rain came
Touchin’ Infinity’s prison
The creature made a war
Take the plane to Saturn
Celebrate their comin’
Lord knows Mr. Cheyenne
It’s a crucified photo
Of the wrong century

High price soldiers
Knockin’ down Eternity
Soda city delusions
Snake knows for sure
Winning by confusion
It’s a losin’ game
Saturn’s rings of reason
So’s a lonely street
Profits by the billions
Got the mornin’ line

Momma’s future children
Buy a bad machine
The computer knows nothin’
It’s feelin’ sympathy
What price glory
It’s too much infinity
Take the plane to Saturn
Follow the Indian
Lookin’ for that comet
Feel that fantasy
Huh oh yea fantasy
Yea

The creature’s nothin’
Just a stain on a wall
Death Row gets a window
Here comes Eternity
A million candelabras
Ya gotta have a scheme
Dr. Doom got a lash
It’s a time machine
That comet got religion
Yesterday
Snake eyes
Layin’ on the shore
It’s a losin’ game
It’s lonely streets
I got that mornin’ line
Yea what price glory
There’s too much infinity
Take the plane to Saturn
Lord knows Mr. Cheyenne
It’s a crucified photo
Of the wrong century
Yea, it’s the wrong one
The wrong one

I had really hoped Jourgensen’s memoir would shed some light on how this collaboration came to be, but I found no mention of Vega. Maybe Al will reveal all in one of the upcoming sequels?

I realize the fruits of this collaboration might not be to everyone’s tastes. But look at it this way: if Vega and Jourgensen hadn’t worked together on “Saturn Drive,” Vega never would have delivered this completely insane performance of the song on Spanish TV, which must be seen to be believed.
 

 
Click here for Vega and Marc Hurtado’s 2010 remake of the song, “Saturn Drive Duplex.”

Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.20.2014
02:03 pm
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