LOS ANGELES, January 22, 2014 — Al Jourgensen is the brain behind one of the most influential bands of all time, Ministry. The band recently released a new album, From Beer To Eternity, and Jourgensen vows to never play live shows again, at least for now. Al Jourgensen has also written an autobiography that details his life. Jourgensen’s brutal honesty about his drug use may even make Keith Richards cringe. Back in September, Al Jourgensen took some time to speak to Wells On Music about the new album, the book, and other random things.
Scroll below video to read interview.
Al Jourgensen: I just found out I ate a recalled yogurt, which has mold in my system. That [Chobani] brand, that’s what they feed me in my smoothies each morning with my homeopathic remedy, hippie s**t to cure my ulcers. Now I find out I’m being molded to death. I can’t think of a worse f**kin’ way for a rock star to go, with a mold infestation.
Kevin Wells: Have you tried to kill it with whiskey?
AJ: I’m drinking my way through it. That’s all there is to it. What do you have to say for yourself? I’m ready. I’m mold-infested, drunk and I’m ready for anything you got.
You are my last interview. Put a feather in whatever hat you where next. You got the last interview with me because I’m done.
KW: This is it?
AJ: This is it. It’s my last one of the day. It’s my last one for this record. It’s my last one for years to come. So put a feather in your cap and just know this, I am drunker than f**k right now. I’m trying to kill this mold in me. I’m drinking vodka. I figure that’s the best plan.
KW: That takes care of my first question, which was going to be if you had started drinking yet. When is the last time you used a drug other than alcohol?
AJ: Eleven years as of September 6, which is tomorrow, my 11-year anniversary. I don’t do pharmaceuticals. I don’t do street drugs. I don’t do anything. I’m just basically slowly killing myself with liquor as opposed to the fast departation of this mortal core with street drugs or pharmaceuticals. So, I’ve chosen that path.
KW: Are you a religious person?
AJ: I do believe in a universal energy. I don’t believe in a f**king guy with a beard at some gate that lets you in or something like that. No. So, I don’t know. Does that make me religious or not? I do believe that 70% of the universe is dark matter, 30% is light matter. I prefer to be in the light matter. We’re outnumbered, but there’s some of us that have to raise their voices against the dark matter, if you will. It’s a scientific religion. Like I said, I don’t believe in St. Peter and the pearly gates and all that other crap. Am I religious? Yes. Absolu-, well, no. Not religious, spiritual.
KW: Have you come to accept the “industrial” label for Ministry’s music or does it still bother you?
AJ: You know what? [laughs] No, I’ve pretty much waved the white flag on that one, man. You guys talk all the s**t you want. And if I’m an industrial pioneer or something like that, that’s great. I’m happy for you. To me, I just write music, you know? It’s very cathartic being out in the studio with friends, writing some stuff that may help, may not, may matter, may not, whatever. I don’t do it for the money. I don’t do it for the acclaim. I just do it because apparently that’s my job here, at least up until this point. That’s what I’ve been doing. I don’t get into all the labels and this and that. That’s for you guys. You guys go crazy.
KW: Mike Scaccia died a few days after you finished recording for the new album. Was finishing the album and the mixing of the record cathartic at all?
AJ: No, man. Look, here’s the deal. I wanted to quit after Last Sucker. I’m tired of the snake pit that is the music industry. I’m completely tired of it. I’m tired of dealing with these people. I’ve been dealing with them for 30 years. They make me sick. Even worse than yogurt. Mikey and me had been doing some riffs for a few years, you know, on and off just in my studio. He kept just psycho texting me saying, “Dude, these have to come out. You have to put some lyrics and samples and vocals on it and produce it.” I finally kind of relented and I did this album. I didn’t want to do it. So, in other words, if you like the record give me all the credit and if you don’t like the record, blame my dead guitar player for the whole f**kin’ mess.
KW: From Beer to Eternity is going to be Ministry’s final studio album. Does that make you sad or happy knowing that Ministry is done?
AJ: No, not sad at all. I am very happy. I’ve said enough, done enough. I’m only doing, for the next two years, literary projects. I have a kitchen book coming out and I also have a comic strip where I gain superpowers and I tackle the oligarchy and destroy that. I’m pretty much focused on my literary projects now. The music stuff is gonna take a back seat for a couple years, at least.
KW: Will you do any live shows to support the new record?
AJ: Zero. I’m doing a college lecture circuit for the next year. I have colleges that want me to speak on three distinct subjects; Number one, political science, number two, pre-history history, kind of ancient alien s**t, and number three, the music industry in general, the state of entertainment in general. I have like three different discourses that I do and I’m just going to be doing a spoken word college tour this year. Nothing for the record. There’s no band. There’s no rehearsals. There’s no plans. There’s no dates booked in and frankly, I’m happy as s**t, okay? [laughs]
KW: Do you see yourself ever performing live again?
AJ: Maybe, I don’t know, we’ll see. My crystal ball is a little bit foggy today and I can’t really see the future, but I know for a couple years I’m really sticking to the literature aspect of what I do as opposed to music.
KW: When will fans get to hear the remix album?
AJ: That’s February. Yeah, it’s called Double Dose. It’s already done so I don’t do anything anymore. And to be honest with you, I think it’s better than this album. [laughs] The remix is actually better. [laughs] So, all you knuckleheads get ready for February because it’s a double album. It’s remixes of all the songs we did on Relapse and all the songs on this record. So, it’s a double dose. It’s a giant hit of acid. Please do not listen to this record until you spark up, okay? Or at least do a tab or something because otherwise, it will probably sound like s**t.
KW: You mention a few times in the book that Mikey wanted to do a blues album and that he even recorded some blues songs before he died. Have you considered making that blues album?
JA: That’s coming out on my label. It’s called The Dusters and that comes out in January about a month before my remix record comes out. It comes out on 13th Planet Records. They’ve been doing this album, d**king around for about six or seven years. Mikey told them, “Look, just put it in Al’s lap and he’ll finish it for you.” And so that’s what I did. I put on a little pedal steel and some slide guitar, a couple background vocals on stuff. This is the blues album to end all blues albums. This makes Cream look like s**t. The Dusters rule and it’s coming out on my label and I’m very stoked about that. That, again, is already done. I’ve done all this stuff. Now I just want to concentrate on my literature.
KW: Can we talk about Ian MacKaye for a minute? Pailhead’s I Will Refuse is one of the greatest punk songs, in my opinion.
AJ: Well, you can thank Ian for that one. Seriously, that guy’s an all-star. I love Ian MacKaye. I love his message. I love his label. I love his work. I love his person. I did a few guitars and stuff like that on there, but no, that one’s Ian’s. I love that guy.
KW: How did you get Ian MacKaye to drink with you?
AJ: Through subterfuge. [laughs] That was a good night. We had him on a sex phone chat for like four hours in Japan and he was drinking beer. I think he had a good time. He probably regrets it now. Either way, that was a f**kin’ gas, man.
KW: Is he still angry with you over the picture of Fugazi spelled out in cocaine?
AJ: I don’t think so, no. He kind of got a little bit pissed about that one. [laughs] That was with GWAR. [laughs] So, I don’t take full responsibility. [laughs] I just emailed him like a month ago. We seem to be fine. I’m nothing but a fan. How could you stay mad at a fan for that long? Ian and I are tight. He’s the coolest mother f**ker on earth.
KW: Did the Wirtz family let you take the Stanley Cup into the studio with you for a week?
AJ: I’m gonna go see it in two weeks. I get my day with the cup and I promised I won’t p**s in it or be disrespectful or s**t in it or anything. This is my life, man. To see living history like that, yeah, I’m not gonna be disrespectful. I get my hour with the cup and I’ll be happy.
KW: Do you have any plans when you see it?
AJ: Yeah, I’ll probably j**k off a little bit. [laughs] Other than that, nothing really special.
KW: Will it be private time with the cup or will someone else be in there with you?
AJ: No, I demanded silence. [laughs] I want to j**k off in private.
KW: How many games do you go to each year?
AJ: This last year I went to three or four, I think. It’s tough getting from El Paso to Chicago. I don’t go to as many as I used to. The Wirtz family is still just the coolest owners in the world. They actually give a s**t. That’s why the Blackhawks are gonna be around for a long time. They have contracts locked up with really good young people. They’re gonna be around. I go to like three, four games a year from Texas. The thing is, I don’t go to the Stanley Cup or any playoff games anymore because I think when I show up at a playoff game or something, I’m a jinx. So, I just go to regular season games. And then the playoffs I watch from my Direct TV and freak out and throw s**t against the wall and yell at clouds and whatever else is happening to come by [laughs]. I went to their ’93 Cup finals. I actually went to Pittsburgh and Chicago. I drove to Pittsburgh. They lost all four games, so I figure I’m a jinx. I stay away from their playoffs.
KW: Have you ever given thought to becoming a part owner of a professional team?
AJ: Actually, no. I don’t have that much money. I have thought about getting a general manager’s post and dealing with players and making them sign contracts. I know a lot about contracts, you know, with the snake pit music industry. I think I’d be a good GM in hockey. I don’t think I’d be a good owner. Look at Michael Jordan. He just sucks.
KW: Do you have any thoughts on Syria?
AJ: Yeah, that’s just really dumb, okay? That’s just dumb. It’s like being wasted with a stick in your hand and going and poking a hornets nest. Bad results will follow. [laughs] These people have been fighting with each other for f**king years. Leave ‘em alone. Let ‘em deal with it themselves. I’m sorry, I’m kind of a bit of an isolationist at this point. After the Iraq wars, I have Bush fatigue. Leave ‘em alone. F**k. We supported dictators that are worse than Assad for many, many, many, many years that also used whatever weaponry, whether chemical or not, available to suppress their people. All of a sudden we’re now, what? [Mother]Teresa? And we’re all appalled about this chemical attack. I mean, we supported people that have done these before. Not only that, we sold ‘em the f**king chemicals. So, really, do we need to spend another billion dollars and stir up a hornets nest to f**kin’ go bomb Syria, which has absolutely no effect on national security or our economy or anything. I think the whole thing is just dumb. That’s all I can say, just D – U – M – B, dumb.
KW: Can voters look forward to a Jourgensen/Biafra ticket in 2016?
AJ: Dude, that would be cool except for one fact. I have way too many felony charges, way too much time spent in prison, and way too many Polaroids in a f**king shoe box up in my attic, if they ever got out, would preclude me from running for the f**king dog catcher of any municipality. [laughs] So, don’t look for it in the future. Although, Jello and I would be more qualified to run things than these a** clowns in f**king congress now. I mean, that would be the smart choice, but there’s just no way that’s ever gonna happen. I have way too much baggage.
KW: When is the last time you saw aliens?
AJ: Let’s see, that would be eight years ago in my bedroom, a little Gray. I’ve seen the Nordics, I’ve seen the Grays, but apparently there’s 52 different kinds of alien species fighting for our space up in the sky every night. I’ve only seen two of them, two species. And the two species I saw, I was not afraid of or felt threatened in any way. They’re just kinda curious about what the f**k is going on down here.
Kevin J. Wells is the Sports Editor for Communities Digital News and also writes about Major League Baseball, punk rock music, and food. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball