Previous Ministry Interviews
The Gauntlet: So this is it?
Al: Well, there is also a cover record coming out that we had some fun with. It isn't a pure Ministry record as I have some other people singing on it like guys from Static-x, Robin Zander from Cheap Trick, Burton Bell from Fear Factory. It is just a bunch of bad 70's covers that I tortured. It isn't too serious. Sometime in April the covers thing will come out. It is hard to even call it Ministry, but what the hell. We will just have one last party under the name. It is just my way of tipping my cap and saying thanks to all the people I have worked with over the years. We had a lot of fun going into my studio and cranking out all these hits.
The Gauntlet: "The Last Sucker" comes out on Tuesday.
Al: This coming Tuesday, wow. I didn't know that.
The Gauntlet: How was the recording of this album?
Al: It was a gas. It was the same basic people from the last album. This time I did the whole thing in my own studio. I finally got my studio complete which was good. It gave me a little more time to work without freaking out about going over time and over budget. It was really chill. The last week it got a bit weird when you start thinking 'wow, this is the last song.' I just started getting anal retentive about the last song and how it should go. Thank god my wife came in and said "let it go, just shut the fuck up! Just do it!"
The Gauntlet: Was the entire recording process nostalgic for you?
Al: Not until the last week. It didn't even dawn on me til then. It wasn't nostalgia, it was more paranoia. I wasn't thinking about it til then. Then she came in and slapped it out of me.
The Gauntlet: What was the last track you worked on?
Al: Ahh…let me think. I can't even think. Let's see, the last one was…'No Glory.' Yeah, I think that was the last song that we mixed. There was really no rhyme or reason to why that was the last track. It just happened to wind up being the last one for no intended purpose. It just came out that way.
The Gauntlet: The last two songs, End of Days (pt 1 and 2) have a different feel to them.
Al: Basically me, Raven and Victor put on a basic drum beat and just jammed for like 14 minutes. I just remember Raven had a big fat wonker of a joint in his mouth and he lit it up and we played until it burned his lips and said no more. We were basically just jamming and warming up not thinking that this would be a song. Then Burton Bell came in to the studio the next day to sign a contract for his solo project . He heard the track and said "man, that's awesome!" We weren't even going to use it. So he just sat there and scribbled out some lyrics for it. The next thing we know it's a song and I am adding all these orchestra stuff and choirs and all that. Pretty soon it became this behemoth and it just started out as a jam to make sure we were in tune.
The Gauntlet: The lyrics for the last 3 albums are about a favorite topic of yours, the Bush's. Why do 3 albums dedicated to them?
Al: Well, the fucking idiot is still in office. He hasn't been impeached yet. I would have gladly traded in this album if he had been impeached or out of office. Unfortunately the same corrupt system is running all these candidates. It is pretty frustrating. I don't think enough people are really hammering the point home. I really feel not enough people think about it. If I did, I wouldn't be yabbering about it. How can 33% of this country still think this is a valid government? I can't even believe there is 33%. Everyone says that 67% agree with me. But I can't believe there is 33% that don't believe there is a complete corruption of the system. If we can even convert 10 people it will be worth it.
The Gauntlet: Are the Bush's your muse?
Al: I wish they didn't have to be. I would gladly trade it in if they weren't in office. I can't think of a more disgusting passed time than me sampling hundreds of hours of his speeches for the good bits to fuck em up a little bit. It is just tedious.
The Gauntlet: That would lead me to heavy drinking.
Al: Yeah, you pretty much need to numb your mind to just take a constant 8 hours a day for a couple weeks of listening to this idiot.
The Gauntlet: I can't imagine. I was sick after listening to his drivel.
Al: Yeah, that was just ridiculous. That's what I was saying. You asked why I keep singing about this, why does he keep giving the same speech? If he quits giving the same speech and the same set of bullshit I'll quit singing. Hopefully one day he'll be impeached and out of office.
The Gauntlet: If brother Jeb throws his hat in the ring…
Al: Ain't gonna happen, ain't gonna happen. Maybe he is an idiot. But the oil executives that fuel the Republican Party realize that he is the most hated person. Accept for lining their pocketbooks, they don't want to run him. Once this Bush is out and he is out of peoples memories, Jeb will be too old to run and out of the political picture. I am sure he thinks he'll be in politics though. The Bush administration has become so loathed that it is an impossibility at this time.
The Gauntlet: What candidates are you getting behind?
Al: Kucinich's wife is hot. [laughs] Other than that, not really. She is pretty hot though.
The Gauntlet: I am sure Tipper Gore was quite the looker at one point, but her politics frightened me.
Al: Are you a chubby chaser? [laughs] In other words, my answer is no. Even people with the best intentions that haven't been corrupted by the Washington Cancer yet are just beaten down. After a while they are beholden to special interests and the military industrial complex. Even if they come in with the best intentions, they must seriously compromise their beliefs. It doesn't matter who is running as it is the system that is corrupt. It is inconsequential who is in office. What the powers that be have found is that if you piss people off enough, they might riot and take to the streets. They don't want that. They found it is cheaper to buy them out and change a few things around. They just sugar coat these nice little cosmetic changes. It is obvious that we need to switch over to an economy that isn't entirely fossil based. They are doing that but they are stalling as long as they can so they can position themselves as the new keepers of the keys for the new economics coming up. We have the technology to switch our entire infrastructure over, but we haven't.
The Gauntlet: I think things are pretty bad now, what more needs to happen for people to take action and take to the streets?
Al: I think if it ever comes out that Bush or Cheney had a hand in the actual 9/11 events, that would be cause for people taking to the streets and overthrow the government. That is why I don't think the evidence will ever be out on that conspiracy theory as the stakes are too high. My personal opinion though, yeah it happened. I don't think you'll see it. I think it would disgust everyone to the point to realize we need a new fucking system.
The Gauntlet: A couple days ago was the 6 year anniversary of 9/11. Six years ago, were you rallying around the president like the rest of the nation?
Al: FUCK NO! Seriously, you know what else, I am a political junkie. I went from a heroin junkie to being a complete political junkie. I pretty much saw the writing on the wall right after it happened. To me it was blatant as to what was going on. You had a floundering presidency with a useless figurehead. They had to rally the troops and get their war out because certain people had to make more money and get more power than they already have. This is the flaw with our system. On paper it looks good, but how do you curtail greed? That is just human nature. On paper the constitution and capitalism look great. Shit, on paper even Marxism looks great. How do you curtail the human spirit of greed and incompetence in this case?
The Gauntlet: Back to music. It seems like you have been hyper-focused on music lately.
Al: This last year has been my busiest ever. I quit dope five years ago and woke up after a 10 year coma and thought I wasted ten years of my life. I was a junky longer than that, but I was a functioning junkie. During the late nineties and early 2000, I was useless. I am very driven right now to make up for that waste of time.
The Gauntlet: You also have the Ministry tour starting in March?
Al: The C U Latour starts on March 25th in Vancouver, Canada and goes through May. Then we head over to Europe and tour from May to August. The last Ministry show will be in Chicago.
The Gauntlet: Will you be bringing The Revolting Cocks out as a support band?
Al: No, that was another thing that looked great on paper, until I had to do two shows every night. I was kinda feeling it by the end. We are definitely not doing that. Right now, we are currently halfway through recording The Revolting Cocks album. This will be their last album. I am also putting that to bed as well. There will be a 'Cock' tour in Fall of 2008. I am putting all my projects to bed. Burton Bell will be coming with us on tour. He will be featured in a few songs with us. He will be with us in all North America and possibly Europe as well. He will come up and do some covers with Ministry and do some backups.
The Gauntlet: Burton Bell as a backup singer?
Al: I know. We are going to put him in a skirt and go-go boots. It is worth the price of admission alone.
The Gauntlet: With both bands ending, how will we get our dose of Al?
Al: I have a record label, I am doing sound tracks, I produce a ton of stuff like Prong and the Ascension of the Watchers. I have done a lot of collaborating also. I enjoy being in the background and not having to do press with knuckleheads like you. I like to do my job, enjoy my studio time and not have to tour or be the focal point of the band. I enjoy what I do, I really do. This is the part I least enjoy, no offense. You aren't too bad though.
The Gauntlet: Actually I knew nothing about you before this interview, I just went and read other interviews and copied the questions they asked down.
Al: [laughs] Oh way to go! You have a nice seg and medley about you so it hasn't been torturous.
The Gauntlet: So you aren't fading away into the sunset, but just want to be in the background?
Al: I think I can get more accomplished. It is more satisfying to me. If I am doing a Ministry tour, it takes six months to do the record, then three months of press followed by six months of touring. Then I need a month off for God's sake. That's 15 months on just one band and only 12 songs. When during those 15 months, I can probably mix 8 albums and a couple soundtracks and be apart of 100 songs. It is more satisfying to me. It is nice to take the focus off me when I eat, breathe, and shit Ministry for a year and a half. It is not very stimulating to me anymore. You'll be able to hear my influence on a lot of stuff coming out with a lot of people I respect and like. Like I said, I'll be able to get 8-10 times the stuff done. It is like lifting a big weight off me. You'll be telling me to fucking hang it up.
The Gauntlet: I realize you want to go out on a high note, and "The Last Sucker" is a high note
Al: I am kind of losing the passion to dedicating a year and a half of my life to one thing. I am prepared to do it for this one. I think we made a really kickass album that is indicative of the Ministry sound over the years. I am working with some really great people and they have their own projects too between Prong and Mob Research. I figure now is the perfect time to do it, end on a high note. I think anything after this would be a downhill slope. I don't want to be one of those bands that is the drunk at the party that stays around too long and you have to throw him out. We want to avoid that and I think this is the perfect spot. I think that bands that do that are pathetic and they start doing product instead of art and start doing the same stuff over and over. They just water it down so they can make more money and pay for their yacht. I am not into it. I don't need the money.
The Gauntlet: I would love to see a photo of you on a yacht. I can't even picture that.
Al: [laughs] I can't either.
The Gauntlet: I realize it is good for you. Personally, I'd like to see you going out on a low note. You go out on a high note and I just want to hear more. You go out on a low note, and I'd be glad you are gone.
Al: [laughs] Fuck You! For once I am glad to disappoint you.
The Gauntlet: This was a great album to go out on. It has a lot of the old Ministry fan as well as the new fans.
Al: I wrapped it up with a little bow for everyone. It is like the feel good movie of the summer. For me it is a celebration instead of something stressed out or quitting over band problems. It is a good celebration of a career that lasted a lot longer than I thought it would. It is awesome.
The Gauntlet: When we spoke last a couple years ago, you stated you had a ton of Ministry material left in you.
Al: I have a ton of material left in me, how is that. I am doing a soundtrack for "Wicked Lake." That will be some licensed stuff from old Ministry and Prong tracks and there will be some new material. I like doing that. Two or three songs at a time and really concentrate on them. Maybe my ADD is kicking in with my old age. I am really into doing a lot of material in short spurts.