Ministry at Turner Hall 2018
photo by Emily Sisson
This rock thing is true, and we all know Jerry Lee Lewis was the devil. All of a sudden, I found myself in love with a band called Ministry, and I knew it was a love affair, mainly Jesus and my hot rod. I may have parted ways with my hot rod (a 1972 Mustang); but I haven’t parted with my love of great industrial metal. Ministry returns to the forefront of industrial music with their latest release AmeriKKKant.
Since their beginning in 1981 Al Jourgensen has lead Ministry through various stages and has carried on even after the passing of long time guitarist Mike Scaccia in 2012. AmeriKKKant captures the energy and political passion of their founding front man Jourgensen. This 14th release is a bold statement and a clear indication as to why they remain at the top of the industrial music scene.
Two-time Grammy nominated guitarist Sin Quirin has been a key player in Ministry’s continued success. With Al Jourgensen leading the vocal charge, Tony Camps (bass), Cesar Soto (guitars), Derek Abrams (drums), John Bechdel (keyboards), and DJ Swamp on turntables, Ministry tells a timely and provocative story. All nine of AmeriKKKant’s tracks are linked as one continuous piece of music with topics rooted in current social and political issues in the US. ‘I Know Words’ begins the tirade with a scratch infused mix and digital orchestra. Asked about working with specials guests such as Fear Factory’s Burton C. Bell (vocals) and former NWA member Arabian Prince, Sin Quirin shared his history with the guest artist, “I’ve known Burton for many years, and it was an honor to work with Prince [NWA]. Having them, and DJ Swamp on the album, added a different flavor to it. I think it came out really well”.
Ranked #2 on Revolver magazine’s recent fan poll of top industrial bands of all time, Ministry continues its unadulterated industrial rage. Speaking of the Ministry sound which remains true to its origins throughout the album Sin explained, “Our writing has been pretty much the same since I came into the band. I’ve been working with Al for 12 years and the process is still the same. I still contribute a lot of the music. I’ll show up with a riff idea and then get started in the studio and we work them out from there. The process is still the same. I get asked a lot about this album because I don’t get any writing credits, but it’s still the same.”
The albums first video for ‘Twilight Zone’ points to Jourgensen’s continued frustration with President Donald Trump. A mixed track with harmonica and over-dubs which share the déjà vu sentiments when looking at the White House. Sin notes the political overtones, “That was definably Al. I come up with a blue print for a song and sometimes they are full ideas and sometimes just a riff. Once Al hears them, I get the thumbs up or thumbs down and it evolves from there. I’m proud of ‘Twilight Zone’. I wrote that initial idea in 2016. I really liked the way it evolved. It was just a song idea I had, and I didn’t know it would end up on this [album]. That was the first one I brought to the table and I got to see it evolve. I’m very proud of that one.”
The album continues its revolt-type feel as it builds with songs ‘We’re Tired of It’ and ‘Wargasm’, as it drives home the anti-war message which are infused with sexual overtones. Sin’s guitars, mirrored with the erotic mix, keep the industrial opus in step. “’Wargasm’” was one which Cesar Soto [guitars] had a big part in”, shares Sin, “Cesar had the opening riff idea which I added to that idea with my chorus. I’m very proud of my part in that. I’m always flattered when I talk to people and they say they can hear my playing.”
All three of AmeriKKKant final songs ‘Antifa’, ‘Game Over’ and ‘AmeriKKKant’ summarize Jourgensen’s final thoughts as the political opera comes to a close. AmeriKKKant’s cover, which shows the Statue of Liberty hiding her face in her hand in disgust doesn’t hide the album’s notable title against racism. The days of promoting a message may have changed since Sin first started playing back on Sunset Strip, “That was 30 years ago”, laughed Sin, “it was completed different back in the day. It was through word- of-mouth and being down on the Strip and making your own flyers and handing them out to people. That was the only way to promote back in the day.”
Asked about what he may have in store outside of his work with Ministry, “A lot of people don’t know that I’m a huge blues fan. I’m a fan of Robin Trower, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix. That is something I want to do in the near future, a little blues infused type of songs.”
Playing Turner Hall in Milwaukee on April 8th with Ministry, Sin reflects on playing live, “To me, I’m no different. I’m just the guy up on stage, no different than anyone else. I always like to entertain people as much as possible and make them feel like they are a part of the show. I really try to connect with everyone in the crowd. I remember when my older cousin played Kiss ‘Alive’ for me when I was 6. I remember growing up in that era and seeing those bands, and the way they were such showmen up on stage. It’s definitely something that I have always carried with me. I appreciate everyone who comes to our concerts and buys the record.” With its political charge leading the way, its safe to say that Ministry’s new release AmeriKKKant will continue to rip up the industrial roads with its Jesus built hot rod.
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Ministry concert photos – Milwaukee Turner Hall by Emily Sisson at:
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