Concord Music Hall
Jeremy Wagner
Lovers Lane

Ministry 2

| June 30, 2006 | 0 Comments

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For Rio Grande Blood (13th Planet), Jourgensen figured if the Bush family gets to act like it’s 1991, then so does he. Corralling Tommy Victor (Prong) and Paul Raven (Killing Joke) for the reoutfitted sect, they cannon through 10 tracks in the spirit of Psalm 69 with hyperspeed drum fills, terrifying thrash riffage, Jourgensen’s flesh-eating vocals, and of course, a bevy of doctored George W. Bush samples, going a step beyond what he did to Bush Sr. on “N.W.O.” While some might say Ministry are preaching to the converted and recycling ideas, Jourgensen is adamant he and they are not.

“Quite the opposite,” he says. “We want to hammer home the point: ‘This is just stupid, people. Get your shit together,’ as far as ideologically. As far as the riffs and all that, look: a good riff is a good riff. You don’t expect an AC/DC record to be different album from album, but there’s great songs on there. ZZ Top records, for that matter, they’re great songs and that’s called a style. A certain style of a band. I realize that this is our style, we’re good at it, and so let’s do it to death.”

Call it demagoguery — Bush repeating “I am evil” throughout the title track — though you could also call Rio Grande Blood effective, if as brutal as the picture it wants to paint. “Señor Peligro” competes at a Slayer tempo while “Fear (Is A Big Business)” comes equipped with its own pyrotechnics. It’s as technically accomplished as anything Ministry have ever done, dispelling the notion rockers do their best work high as kites. The only real question, with Bush in the White House, was whether they were going to miss out on any good jokes.

“Fuck,” Jourgensen groans. “Are you kidding me? The most bummed out I’ve been in the last few months, is we just got done with the record, and then [Dick] Cheney decided to do a drive-by shooting. I was like, ‘That is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life, man.’ I almost wanted to do some kind of addendum to the record or some kind of remix for that, because that was incredible. That’s why I never want to do another record, because I will never have another administration shoot itself in the foot as many times as these idiots do. It’s almost too easy. Like taking candy from a baby.”

Civics have inspired a number of artists lately, but if the politics and aggression aren’t surprises when it comes to Ministry, it’s impossible not to be impressed with Rio Grande Blood‘s smart-bomb precision. Still using a majority of the equipment behind the other records, it’s a remarkable testament from a genre predestined to date its sound.

“This record is not a real technological breakthrough for us, it’s just a bunch of grumpy old men turning amps up to 20,” Jourgensen jokes. “It was pretty fast and furious: three-and-a-half weeks for 10 songs. Everything seemed to flow pretty smoothly. We knew the agenda and the focus and the topic of the record was gonna be our corrupt administration and how the system’s broken and things. That aside, just the actual playing aspect of it was three guys and a drum machine just goin’ off. And for 10 hours, 12 hours a day it was a lot of fun to do.”

Victor and Raven are ideal playmates for Jourgensen; both are esteemed veterans of the aggro-industrial complex. As for the continued absence of Paul Barker, “Goodbye, good riddance, see ya,” is all Jourgensen offers. The end of Ministry’s rule will be these-all stars, also including Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison and old hand Mike Scaccia.

“I think part of it was the spontaneity of it and how we worked together,” he measures. “It was the first time we worked together — we’ve always wanted to for years. I remember about halfway through recording this we just kind of looked up at each other and went, ‘Why didn’t we do this 15 years ago, man? Woulda saved us a whole lotta hassle!’ It was three-and-a-half weeks to write the whole thing and three-and-a-half weeks to mix it. It’s a new land-speed record for me. It was incredible. I’m really happy with this album, I really stand by it. We had a focused agenda going in, and I worked with two really amazing people which are also amazingly close friends.”

Jourgensen has a close relationship with George W. Bush: He lives in his Texas backyard. It began during the recording of Filth Pig in the mid ’90s, in one of the state’s few liberal sanctuaries. “I lived in Austin for about five years. I liked the weather, I liked the fact you can have land without having to live in Wisconsin, otherwise I’d be in Chicago. I love Chicago, it’s always where my heart is. But, you know, you just can’t get land there that’s anywhere close to civilization.”

Perhaps enticed by the rampant weirdoism Texas breeds (David Koresh anyone?) or the manifestation of having worn a cowboy hat for 20 years, he made a permanent move to a farm as southwest as you can get and still claim the Lone Star State’s tax system.

“I’m down in El Paso, Texas. I’m literally . . . if you look at the map and you look at that little point of Texas that borders New Mexico and Mexico, that’s me right there. From my backyard I can see all three.” Jourgensenville? “Yeah, pretty much. 13th Planetville. It’s a good situation because we do have land, we have a bunch of animals, we have studios on the property, we have the offices on the property, have some acreage. It’s good.”

Still, it’s antithetical someone with such a deep hatred for conservative America’s policies would stake a claim in its heartland, where all the excesses (religion, oil, cars, food, xenophobia) suffer from gigantism.

Jourgensen sluffs it off. “Somebody’s gotta sleep behind enemy lines and keep tabs on all these idiots. I don’t mind doin’ it. It’s all good. Matter of fact, any self-respecting Texan will tell you,” affecting a nasal, Southern sneer, “‘El Paso ain’t Texas anyway. It’s a bunch of hippies and Mexicans livin’ down there.’ And most of Texas hates us anyway, so it’s pretty good. Like I said, literally New Mexico — a hippie state — is a mile from my house.”

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Category: Features, Monthly

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