After a series of well-received performances in the U.S., Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen—the industrial-rock icon who drafted the blueprint for every band daring to pair wild electronics and samples with a stack of guitar amps—is gearing up for his band’s upcoming tour of Europe with L.A.-based new-gen industrial act 3TEETH.
Jourgensen and 3TEETH frontman Alexis Mincolla took some time off from their tour preparations for a conversation about how Ministry’s legacy in the industrial-rock canon helped shape the creative drive of Mincolla and other new groups (HIVE, Youth Code, etc.) to give this scene an exciting reboot.
While they do have a shared aesthetic vision (and taste in alcohol), Mincolla and Jourgensen together are a study in personality contrasts. Mincolla is thoughtful and articulate with everything. In comparison, Jourgensen—a cantankerous wise guy—should be due for some hip surgery simply because he’s been shooting from it for so many years. When he fires a flip answer to a question, Mincolla backs him up with a more elevated response, similar to the doting nephew who gently removes the firearm from his perturbed uncle’s hand when strangers get on his property.
The duo tag-teamed AP on everything from shared philosophies, Alex Jones, the death of Dimebag Darrell and the best advice to impart to fans. In other words, everything we could publish without having to consult our $5k-an-hour libel attorney.
Is right now the first time you two have interacted with each other on a personal level?
ALEXIS MINCOLLA: On a personal, professional, psycho-spiritual level.
Lex, what was it that drew you to Al’s work in Ministry?
MINCOLLA: Being an ornery little bastard at the age of 12, I got into my first Ministry record, The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste. I grew up with an older brother who listened to a lot of music…
AL JOURGENSEN: He didn’t like us, though…
MINCOLLA: It felt more personal to me for whatever reason, more nihilistic and “fuck you” than anything else at the time. It’s the record I would always have on my headphones. Ministry were one of the early things that became my [music]. I only owned five CDs at the time, and those five CDs made me who I am as a musician. When I first turned the thing on, it was like, “What the hell did I just steal from the record store?” I used to go to Woolworth’s and steal CDs based on how they looked. Stick them down my pants and ride off on my bike.
JOURGENSEN: The only difference from Lex and me at his age was that I’d go and steal prescription drugs.
Since this is your first time interacting with Lex, is there anything particular about his work that you’re drawn to?
JOURGENSEN: [adopts affected snooty response tone] It was shocking to find out that he had emotions that ranged from anger to joy, and he was very intuitive and receptive to other ideas. I found Lex to be the perfect vehicle, an introduction to the things that I wanted to teach in my two-thousand-dollar-a-fucking-week self-help class. [Laughs.]
Listen, I’m sure you’re just a newbie rock journalist that wanted to have a nice band interview. But let me tell you something: Right now, you’re going to be getting the left-wing Alex Jones for the rest of this interview. Because we have some shit to say.
MINCOLLA: I have scaly testicles because I am half lizard.
JOURGENSEN: Dude, lizards have completely surrounded my compound right now because they’re afraid we’re going to say more. They’re 6-foot high. They walk like humanoids… [Laughter.]
MINCOLLA: If you take my shit at face value, we’re going to make you look like a fucking idiot. Like other things in life, I don’t want people to take things at face value. I’d like for them to dig deeper. It can be trying, but you have to dig deeper. That’s why we’re going to pump those fucking brakes and hit that fuckin’ gas.
JOURGENSEN: We’re going to the studio tonight, and we’re going to do shit. You up for that, Lex? There. [To AP:] You got a fuckin’ exclusive. We’re going to get wasted [and] do shit tonight. We’re going to do a protest song against having to do interviews. [Laughs.]
MINCOLLA: Against us having to do anything.
JOURGENSEN: [To AP:] You have to live with being the butt of jokes. I’m sorry.
MINCOLLA: I heard that you were the guy who knows the most about the shit that we’re doing.
JOURGENSEN: Here’s the story: I’m an old fart, and this guy is young, he’s intelligent, he’s fucking awesome. We have the same mindset, and yet we’re at least a generation apart.
MINCOLLA: Al has bridged generation upon generation, if you really think about it. To be clear and for the record, Al is the most influential artist for me, personally. I wouldn’t do what I do without Al for the first time years ago, and I don’t say that about any other fucking artist.
I plan to go to see you in Columbus next month…
MINCOLLA: Columbus is one of my favorite places to play…
JOURGENSEN: Columbus is where fuckin’ people are getting shot…
Al! In 2004, you played the same night as Damageplan played. I was at your show.
JOURGENSEN: [Emphatically.] Two blocks down the road. We had the show cut off after it happened, and we ran down there. We wanted to see if [the band] were OK because our guitar player Mike Scaccia played with [Dimebag Darrell] in high school. We got there, and there were blood trails everywhere. We went to the hospital, and there were blood trails all the way from the entrance to the ER, man. You have no idea. [The killer] was stalking us because he thought [Dimebag] was on our bus, two hours before. Same car, same license plate, the same dude. He was making sure he wasn’t there.
The next day, we grieved on our way to Louisville. And in Louisville, they literally had to turn away 200 patrons from coming to our show because of having handguns. Because [the promoters] immediately put up metal detectors the next day. [Pauses.] You’re getting a better interview than you expected. You can be all important in your pressroom for a week.
Lex, what’s the biggest takeaway you’ve received from Al and Ministry?
MINCOLLA: To question everything. If I were to distill it down, I wouldn’t want to have an answer, but maybe be comfortable with the question mark itself. I don’t want to say, “This is what I want you to take from my music.” Don’t take it the way you think I’d want you to take it. It should be taken from whatever meaning it has for you. Just question everything. That’s it.
I think it’s easy to be a person of extremes now, with all that’s going on from the [political] right. For me, it would feel more meaningful if you were of extremes when you had more centrist platforms. People like Al will be painted as on the left even though he’s criticized everything.
Do you have any wisdom to impart to your fans?
JOURGENSEN: Buy my T-shirts! That’s the only way artists make money any more. You don’t make money on records, and you barely make money on touring. This is just a heads-up for up-and-coming bands: You’d better make some nice merch and be prepared to live off it.
MINCOLLA: That’s some real advice right there. All of the bands that are coming up now don’t make money the way people think they do. It’s not the ’90s anymore: I’m probably not going to buy a home. But 100%, all I want in my life is to keep doing what I’m doing: making art.
06/30 – Berlin, DE @ Huxleys
07/01 – Bristol, UK @ SWX
07/03 – Glasgow, UK @ SWG3 Studio Warehouse
07/04 – Birmingham, UK @ O2 Institute
07/06 – London, UK @ O2 Shephard’s Bush Empire
07/07 – Paris, FR @ La Machine du Moulin Rouge
07/09 – Oberhausen, DE @ Kulttempel
07/10 – Prague, CZ @ Roxy
07/11 – Budapest, HU @ A38
3TEETH AMERICAN TOUR:
07/15 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall
07/16 – Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
07/18 – Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theatre
07/19 – Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
07/20 – St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
07/22 – Minneapolis, MN @ Studio B – Skyway Theatre
07/23 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
07/24 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies Rock Club
07/25 – Detroit, MI @ El Club
07/26 – Columbus, OH @ A&R Music Bar
07/28 – Montreal, QC @ Heavy Montreal
07/29 – Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground
07/31 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
08/01 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
08/02 – Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage Lounge
08/03 – Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Sound Stage
08/04 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
08/05 – Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
08/07 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade (Hell)
08/08 – New Orleans, LA @ The Parish at House of Blues
08/09 – Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
08/10 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill
08/11 – Austin, TX @ Empire Control Room
08/14 – Tucson, AZ @ 191 Toole
08/15 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge
08/16 – San Diego, CA @ Brick by Brick
08/17 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
08/18 – San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s