Industrial vets’ “Houses” targets White House
So claims Al Jourgensen, frontman for the legendary industrial-metal band Ministry. And he’s not lying. The group’s new record, Houses of the MolÃ© (released today), is a nine-track assault on everything George W. Bush, from the straight-talking, thrashy opening track “No W” all the way through the brooding, artsy finale “Worm.” Even the album title is a slap at the Oval Office.
“We like tipping our hits to classic rock, so why not [Led Zeppelin’s] Houses of the Holy?” says Jourgensen, laughing. “Besides, I live in Texas, and molÃ© is a way of life down here. It’s a brown, Mexican chocolate sauce that suspiciously looks like crude oil. And with the appetite of this administration for that, I just thought it all fit together.”
Musically, the album harkens back to the speedier, angrier days of Ministry’s breakthrough record, 1992’s Psalm 69. However, there are some noticeable differences, including the absence of long-time collaborator Paul Barker, who had been the co-writer and bassist for the band since 1987.
Jourgensen won’t get into details, but he’s clearly happy running the show alone. “It’s all good,” he says. “But it just became like a marriage. After eighteen years the sex gets a little boring. It was time to change positions, so to speak.”
Houses also marks Jourgensen’s first extended period of good health in years. The singer had been known for his drug exploits and escapades in the past, which included an infamous 1995 raid on his property by Texas lawmen snooping for drugs (no arrests were made). “I’ve been clean for a few years,” he says. “Before that, I was a walking coma. I couldn’t deliver our albums faster because I was working on ‘dealer standard time,’ which is six months behind everyone else.”
The clean bill of health is good news for Ministry fans, who will get to see the band enter its most productive phase in years. First up, the group’s long-running side project, the industrial-party band the Revolting Cocks, will release a new album by year’s end. “We do a cover of ‘Purple Haze’ called ‘Purple Head,'” says Jourgensen. “It’s very juvenile delinquent, misogynist and everything you’d expect in a Revolting Cocks record.”
Ministry will also start a tour with Skinny Puppy on Labor Day, tied in to the Punkvoter.com organization. “Our goal is to register 100,000 kids on the tour,” says Jourgensen. “I’ll do anything to entice them: sign autographs, give blowjobs, whatever.” The Punkvoter shows will run up to the November 9th election.
Jourgensen has become a Punkvoter favorite, contributing a track to the organization’s Rock Against Bush album and going on NPR on the group’s behalf. His efforts appear to not have gone unnoticed by the other side.
“All these Republican web sites have my picture next to Michael Moore,” he says. “So I’m taking that as a real compliment.”