- Recovered but not revolting: industrial rocker Al Jourgensen plays ringleader with Ministry and Revolting Cocks in the 'Masterbatour 2006'
When you observe the liner photo of Al "Alien" Jourgensen on Cocked and Loaded, the new album from Revolting Cocks, the first word that comes to your mind is not "workaholic." Rather, you are inclined to think of such terms as "serial murderer." Or, perhaps, "alley-skulking-biker-rapist" what with his wiry, thick black hair, double-wide snout, oversized bug-eye sunglasses, thinly-carved moustache, and three, tightly-wound spines of black hair pointing downward from his chin like the goat of Lucifer.
But in the last four years, since he stopped shooting heroin, Jourgensen has founded and operated his own record company, 13th Planet Records, and cut five albums from that label, including two new releases from his own bands, Ministry and Revolting Cocks.
The Ministry album, Rio Grand Blood, is out-fucking-rageous. Even moderate fans of Ministry will find this record to be a beautiful abomination. It's as deconstructionist and relevant as ever. It has a higher sense of contempt for the state of the world than ever. It just plain rocks. As for the accompanying Revolting Cocks' disc, Cocked and Loaded, it will leave one's brain swimming in its hardcore disease.
Multi-instrumentalist Jourgensen formed Ministry in Chicago in 1981 and established the act as one of the main bands on Wax Tracks! Records. The Revolting Cocks took form in 1987 as an industrial-strength side project outside of Ministry
The way these two albums work together puts them on a higher level. They're both fun, hard, filthy, childish, and nauseating — definitely not for mainstream consumption. Both have Jello Biafra splattered all over them. And both were written, produced, and conceived by a raging industrial punk and sex-core fucker known as Alien Jourgenson.
"I'm pretty stoked about these albums," said Jourgensen, speaking on the phone from "Hell Paso," Texas (his words), where they were rehearsing for the tour. "The Cocks record was a lot of fun to make. But the Ministry was spot-on. As I like to say, 'Ministry is my rifle and Cocks are for fun.'
"The entire Ministry album was written in three and a half weeks, which, for me, is a land-based speed record," he adds. "It was just me, Paul Raven [Prong] and Tommy Victor [Killing Joke]. We turned our amps up to 11 and let it fly. The Rev/Co record took longer, but we had a lot of interesting new Cocks thrown into the mix."
The new Cocks Jourgensen speaks of are a remarkable bunch. Along with Biafra, is Gibby Haynes from Butthole Surfers and longtime Ministry associate Mark Baker. But there are also some kooky cats one wouldn't expect on the punk-techno-brainblast that is the Revolting Cocks — characters like guitarist Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick. Also on the record is the silhouette of Iggy Pop, as it contains a song ["Fire Engine"] that Jourgensen wrote with the most infamous Stooge.
"We offered him to come down and sing it for us, but his best friend and longtime manager died that week and we had to keep on schedule to get both these releases out so we had to go for it ourselves," says Jourgensen. "Iggy and I actually wrote that song 20 years ago. I came across it as I was perusing through my tape library trying to get organized and thought, 'Wow, this is good stuff, why didn't we ever release this?'"
Jello Biafra, incidentally, is not only an accredited Revolting Cocks member on Cocked and Loaded; he also appears as a guest vocalist on the Ministry album.
"Jello's the alpha dog in the larger sense," Jourgensen says. "But whenever we work on Revolting Cocks or Ministry, he acquiesces and lets me run the show. It's a great working relationship. We spend our Christmases together. We always stay in touch."
How does Jourgensen decide who gets to collaborate on a Rev/Co record?
"It's really just friends that have crossed paths over the years," he answers. "Everyone wants to be a Cock some day [laughs]. Billy Gibbons and I have known each other for 15 years. We've been talking about doing this forever and it finally, actually worked out. With Rick [Nielsen], he just came up on stage with us to do a song during our last Ministry tour. Afterward, we started talking about working together. The planets just seemed to line up this year. All the people I've wanted to work with for a long time all of a sudden had actual schedule breaks."
Jourgensen recently took both bands on the road together. Writing, producing, recording, mixing, and touring two albums nearly simultaneously is a Herculean task that takes a guy with Satan's bleater on his chin to pull off.
"There's just no way you can prepare for something like that," Jourgensen says. "There's only a certain amount of hours in the day. But so far, we seem to be right on schedule with everything as far as rehearsals, and sounding good, and getting schedules together. It's a lot of work and it's a lot of fun. There will be guest appearances regionally by all the people that have played on the album."