MK Interviews

November 1, 2007

Johnny Come Lately “Drum Whore?” Alex Zander has a sit down w/ Type O Negative’s Johnny Kelly

Filed under: Uncategorized — alex @ 10:04 pm

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interview by alex zander, assisted by shelly z and jason meudt

Johnny Kelly, ya’ know ‘em, he plays for the drab four TON. The guys likes to keep busy and with that being said, what we decided to talk with him about was what keeps him rockin’. We’ve had dealings with this guy since 1994 when MK ULTRA interviewed Peter Steele for the debut issue. Johnny was backstage w/ us and Tommy Lee goofing off while Pete did his best to maintain his pseudo serious mannerisms.

Well 94 was a long fucking time go, and since then Type O has circled the globe and some other things I don’t particular care to mention.

In my first face to face interview w/ Johnny, a guy I feel like I’ve known longer than a lot of my friends in Chicago we talk about, Type O, touring, recording, Danzig, Earls Court, our mutual pal Thomas Victor and most significantly his side project w/ Kenny Hickey, known as Seventh Void.
(During the interview it should be noted that Jason Meudt of Vision4Films recorded the interview and concert, and Shelly Z was also in company)


Johnny Kelly (born March 9, 1968), he joined Type O Negative in 1994 to replace Sal Abruscato.

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Alex Zander- The last time I saw you… You said, ”Hey, check out my new band Seventh Void.” Now that I have, I must admit,  I like it a lot.  Is there any kind of recording available other than what’s online?

Johnny Kelly- It’s one of those things, Kenny and I have been so busy in the last year and a half with Type O and Danzig and stuff.  Whenever there are breaks in between we go in and try to finish what we are doing.  We had this break in between the Type O tours Kenny was able to finish a lot of vocal s and most of his guitar parts.  Now we have this other guitar player Matt Brown. He has to finish a few of his things and a few vocal things then we have to wait on Vinnie Paul.

AZ- Vinnie Paul is playing on it?

JK- Vinnie Paul is producing it.

AZ- Alright, I saw on the myspace page his label was one in the top of your friends list. 

JK- It is looking like we are going to release it on that label.

AZ- Is that the same label that the collaboration with David Allen Coe “Rebel Meets Rebel” was released on?

JK- Yeah, “Rebel Meets Rebel”.  Kenny really digs this band.  We have been working on this band for the better part of four years, you know, when ever time allowed.  One time just before Dime (Dimebag Darrell) the guys were in New York.  Tommy Victor was there and we all just hung out on the at Irving plaza until 6:00 in the morning.  We played a couple of track for Dime, and Dime flipped out about it and that is how this all started with Vince.  Every time I’d see him he’d ask how the band was going and I told him it was going okay but we are really having a hard time with mixes.  The recording is going well but it just isn’t coming through when we are trying to mix it.  He said, “Why don’t you let me have a crack at it.”  I was like… Really?  It would be an honor.  He (Vince) said when Dime heard that all he did was talk about you guys, saying how much he loved it, so it would be an honor for me to work on it.  So I sent him a track and he sent something back to my house and said he only had a little time to work on it.  It just clicked.  He got it and knew exactly what to do to make it sound great.

AZ- How much do you have recorded?

JK- We have a whole album’s worth of material.  But like I said between every ones schedules it has been really hard to just sit down and say it’s finished that is it.  Now we are getting close and when this is done we will be able to finish the recordings, it should take longer than just a few days actually.

AZ- So then you can go to Best Buy and pick it up.

JK- Well no then we have to go to Vince’s house, which is always fun.

AZ- Yeah I’ve heard.

JK- We have to go there to mix it.

AZ-  As far as distribution.. He doesn’t have bad distribution.

JK- No he actually has very good distribution.  I forget who he is with…
 
AZ- I didn’t have any problem finding “Rebel Meets Rebel”. 

So as far as live is thismore of a regional thing?

JK- Really it’s just local.  We played in Brooklyn a couple of weeks ago.  We’ve done a couple of show with Life of Agony.  They did a couple of north east shows and wanted us.

Kenny Hickey (yells from the doorway) -  In New Haven too.

JK- With Carnivore also.  Anytime Peter plays with Carnivore he always wants us to play with him.

AZ - That’s great! That’s fucking awesome!

JK- I think we only have seven gigs under our belt.

AZ- That video, on your myspace, it looked like it was a pretty big venue.  Where was thatfilmed ?

JK- That was at Toad’s Place in New Haven.  That was when we opened up for Carnivore. 

AZ- OK, That looked like a pretty decent sized venue.

JK- It holds about 1000 people.

AZ- It looked bigger than that from the film.

JK- Yeah, film kind of makes everything look bigger. 

AZ- Let’s hope. (laughs)

JK- Including me.

AZ- So after the Halloween tour I’m sure there is going to be one of those legendary Type O breaks.

JK- I hope it’s not too legendary. (laughs)

AZ- As the space between releases gets longer it is becoming like Ministry the stretch during the heroine days, you know? What are the chances of Seventh Void  playing Chicago? 

JK- It depends on A) what opportunities come or way, B) the money, it costs a lot of money to get a band on the road and keep a band on the road.  It’s something else entirely to throw our gear in a truck and just do something local.  To actually get a band on the road, something like Seventh Void, we aren’t going o make big grantees and stuff we need to get tour support and that is kind of a gray area.  If we go with Vinnie Paul it’s Just his money.  I could be like, Vin, we need some money to get the band on the road.  I don’t know what his business model is with Big Vin Records.  I know that it’s not just him sitting in his garage printing shit up, and putting it out.  That is all stuff that hasn’t really been discussed yet or explored.  The whole foundation of what Seventh Void started as was to do something in between Type O Negative’s breaks.

AZ- I read that you do a lot of that. Earl’s Court… How often do you do that?

JK- I don’t know maybe once or twice a month.  It’s just an excuse to go out drinking. (laughs)

AZ- All drummers love Bonham. I never quite pegged you as a Zeppelin guy.

JK- I wear it on my sleeve dude. (He shows his Zoso symbol on his shoulder.)

AZ-There we go.

JK- I was a huge Led Zeppelin fan as a kid.  I still am, you know KISS, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath.  It went from there, but those were the main ones that I remember.  I was talking to my drum tech about it.  I remember as a kid, my uncle used to played guitar and he lived upstairs from me.  When I was younger I always remember him playing like Jeff Beck, the bass man, practicing.  He was really into Led Zeppelin, and so was my dad.  I remember I borrowed all of my uncle’s Led Zeppelin albums, and went to the guy who taught me how to play drums up the block.  I must have been about 11. I went to the guy and handed him all the records and said I want to play like this (mimics handing off the large stack of records). (laughs) He said you’re kidding right?  That’s pretty much where it started from.  As the years went on and on I just became more into that.

AZ- Then your Danzig time; it’s one thing that I have wondered, as a fan who appreciates your work and your work ethic.  Was that because you just can’t stand sitting at home? 

JK- Part of it is that. I genuinely love playing, and it’s what I do for a living.  When Type O is not doing anything for a couple of years, I’m not making any money. (laughs) And I have to work.  It worked out great where Type O had such a long break the Danzig opportunity came my way.  I thought this was perfect.  Type O isn’t doing anything, I can go to work with Danzig and I don’t have to keep looking in the couch so much for change just yet.  Save that for a rainy day, you know, the couch fund. 

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johnny in danzig w/ tommy victor

AZ- Then Tommy (Tommy Victor of Prong), of course you know Tommy and I go way back. See him not fitting in then leaving, and then have your friend and band mate Kenny play.  Tommy obviously added his style to Danzig live and then when he finally did a record with him you could hear Tommy all over it just like you do Ministry.  Tommy has his own style.  I was not fortunate enough to see Kenny as part of Danzig.

JK- We only did thirteen or fourteen shows.

AZ- But did he bring his signature in?  Was he all over the stage like he is with Type O?

JK-Yeah. Yeah, actually it seems like he was pouring it on a bit more when we were playing with Glen (Glen Danzig).  Especially the shows where we did some Misfit songs and stuff.  It seems like Kenny was pushing Glen to make him go further.  Glen loved playing with Kenny, he loved it.  He thinks that Kenny is, insane. He’s like , you know (mimics Glens voice) Do you take speed? (laughs, mimicking Glen again) Do you take speed?

AZ- (Mimics Glen in a higher voice) Do you take speed? (laughs)

JK- (Mimicking again) Do you take drugs? Glen fed off of that and the show ended up having this tremendous amount of energy.  Playing wise Kenny also you know… It wasn’t like we were playing in a cover band where he would just come in and play the licks note for note.  It’s impossible to do everything exactly the way it was recorded.  Glen’s catalog now covers how many guitar players?

AZ- Exactly.

JK- Just in the Danzig band its-self.  What,  three have recorded with him?

AZ- At least.

JK- No, four including Jeff Chambers.

AZ- Oh alright. 

JK- So there is a lot of ground to cover.

AZ- Are you part of the next Danzig tour?

JK- It’s impossible because Glen starts Tuesday.  It’s his first show and we’re still going to be on the road with Type O.  I’m totally bummed about it.
AZ- In the last decade it seems I’ve seen you more with Danzig then I have with Type O Negative.

JK- Yeah. With Glen in the last couple of years we were really busy, it was great.  Unfortunately this time the schedules got in the way of each other.  If I could figure out how to be in two places at once I’d definitely do it.

AZ-  This tour looks like it has the potential to be exciting with Doyle.

JK- Yeah, what Glen’s tour he has Doyle playing with him and stuff.  I don’t know if their doing anything together you go off and do a few songs or what.

AZ- I was under the impression that he was just a part of the band. 

JK-  No, no… he’s just..

AZ- DOYLE IS OPENING? OH SHIT!

JK- Doyle is opening for Danzig in his own band and has just finished a record.  Glen produced it and I haven’t heard it yet.  I asked Glen, “How’s the record?” He said you know what, it came out pretty good.  It came out great.

AZ- Tommy… Do you have a funny Tommy Victor story?

JK- There is lots of Tommy Victor stories.

AZ- I’ve seen every side of this fucking guy in fifteen years and he’s got so many sides.

JK- Tommy was always stressed out.  He would stress out about the song “How the Gods Killed” no matter how many times he played it.  He played it fine, but he would always stress about it so much.  Then we would always hear this little flub or something afterwords he would just shake his head and he would get so fucking aggravated for the rest of the night.  He’d be all pissed off.

AZ- Did you have history with Tommy before the Danzig thing?  Did you know each other in New York?

JK- No, no. He was telling me he used to work at CB’s (CBG’S). His sister lives in my neighborhood.  When Damage Plan was around he was in New York for a christening for his niece.  His sister worked underneath where we used to rehearse.

AZ- I just wondered because Tommy can be fun.

JK- I knew a lot of stuff, but I never knew Tommy.

AZ- Did he live in Brooklyn?


JK- No, his sister lived in Brooklyn.  He lived in Manhattan. His sister lived where we all grew up. Other than that I didn’t get to know him until I played with him.

AZ- In Danzig there is definitely the fun group of guys and the serious guy.  We all know who we are talking about there.  I didn’t know if you read the interviews that I did back to back with Tommy about and Al and his Grammy experience.  Where Tommy was like “You’re (Al) going to get us in trouble,” and Al is trying to do everything he can to get thrown out of the place.  You can hear his mood in the interview. There is that side of Tommy and there is the wicked side that I love even moreso.

So as far as Type O Negative what is happening after this tour, as far as the band? I haven’t heard anything about a record but obviously the label has been great to you.

JK- Yeah, they have done a really good job.  They really put their best foot forward.

AZ- That last Roadrunner record I loved it, it’s one of my, vary favorite pieces of work that I own from you guys as a band.  Roadrunner just dropped the ball on that fucking thing. They seriously did.

JK- The impression that I got from that is, because they knew we were at the end of our contract, they were just cutting their losses on it.  Basically what they were telling us is that if you resign with us again we’ll work this record really hard.  Which kind of goes against any business principle.  You still invested in something.  Just because you aren’t going to have the band back, why aren’t you going to maximize the return on your investment?

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AZ- Jon at SPV couldn’t wait to tell me that you’d signed with them. He said Zander don’t tell anybody.  We got them. They’re in good hands.

JK- From the get go we wanted to go with them in Europe.  They’re pretty well established over there.  They are a very good label and they want to use us as their cornerstone for making a presence in the U.S.  They made us an offer for a worldwide deal and it was great.  Compared to what everyone else was offering their offer blew it out of the water.  So it seemed pretty obvious what we needed to do.  So far it’s been pretty good.  Any kind of record store I go into I see our records there.  Before the record came out they did a ton of print ads. 

AZ- The DVD, their press was insane on that.  They had an ad on everything a good month before the release.

JK- The DVD they kind of helped us out on that.  Initially they really didn’t want to.  They were kind of like… We want the record.  We don’t want your DVD; we want the record.  We said the DVD is pretty cool it’s going to be a cool thing.

AZ- Jason and I had that video on video.

JK- I’ve had the bootleg for years.  The other things that we did to it the other stuff in between the songs, you know the goofy stuff.

AZ- I don’t know how you got that shit off your face, man.

JK- It wiped right off.  It did, I’m half Italian, man, I just walked right into the bathroom and wiped it clean right off.

AZ- There was no shame with you, when it came to putting that shit out.

JK- Some of that stuff is pretty objectionable.

AZ- It was like a frat party.

JK- Basically that is what it is.  That is the high lights of what….

AZ- Nobody does that, everyone just wants to be “too cool”.

JK- You know what, I don’t believe that.  Nobody will just document it and sell it to their fans.  Most of these guys just won’t say here, this is what we’re really like.

AZ- Most bands don’t publicize it.

JK- I’ve been in enough dressing rooms form other bands there is nothing out of the ordinary.

AZ- Yeah bands like Pantera.

JK-  That’s the school we went to.

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AZ- I do want to tell you the part of the video other than the concert that I just loved was that fucking reel at the end of all your high school pictures.  That just fucking killed me.
The hair and the suits.

JK- We’ve already exposed ourselves, now you won’t go to Metal Sludge.  Now we can’t be exposed, we beat everyone to the punch line.  Those are some of the pictures, we didn’t use everything.

AZ- The music.

JK- It’s like one of those movies that you get of your wedding or some shit. ( laughs)

AZ- I said look at that hair! Peter in a tux! (laughs) That was funny.

Back to Seventh Void, what’s going on? Is there talk about a record?

JK- Well we’re not really sure yet because of the way our contract was.  For one record with the option of another so we’re waiting to see if SVP is going to want to pick up that option. 

AZ- They don’t say… You have to have this out by a specific date.

JK- No.

AZ- That’s nice.

JK- Well It definitely took a lot longer to get this record out then they wanted.  I think we delivered it a year late.  They were still pretty cool to us after words. 

AZ- It was a little late for a lot of fans too. (laughs)

JK- It was a little late for some band members. (chuckles)

AZ- There were a lot of things that happened in between now and then, but we dealt with that in our last interview.

JK- All that stuff that is just a part of it.  Our goal is to not take such along time with getting another record out.

AZ- Is it one of those things where Peter writes and then tells you that he is ready?
What’s the whole process of it all?

JK- That happened with the October Rust record.  He had quite a bit of material prepared and told us.  This is what I have.  For this record we walked into our rehearsal space in queens, and asked what he had.  He said, “nothing.”  We went all right lets start working.  That is what we did.  While Josh was working on the DVD, Peter, Kenny and I were sitting in a room five or six nights a week for hours working on riffs.  We were stuff out of Peter.  It’s like a skeleton a foundation.  It went like this for months.  When ever something would happen, like when Peter went to rehab, or something else came up and we would take a short break… or a 28 day break.  Sometimes Peter wanted to go to Rikers. (laughs)

AZ- laughs

JK- A bit of culture. (laughs)

AZ- Some male company. (laughs)

JK- In between that, and because we weren’t under any pressure at the time that is just the way the record progressed. When we recorded it the basic tracks we’d done took two weeks that was in April of ’06 and we didn’t hand SPV the record completed until the end of the year.
AZ- do you think that process is going to be duplicated or do you think, Pete’s going to have a ready product and say lets crank this one out.

JK- I’d really like to just crank one out, get it done and keep going.

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johnny, shelly, and az

AZ- “Life is Killing Me”., for myself, is a fun fucking record. It’s a roller coaster, I love it.  It goes everywhere and it’s fun.  Where the last record was just, I’m pissed and this is heavy.  It is the Type O heavy we knew in the beginning.

JK- Yeah, with Peter and his song writing and what he wanted for an album, he’s been saying since Bloody Kisses he wants to make another hardcore record.  Then we got October Rust. 

AZ- It’s beautiful.

JK- Exactly… Not exactly hardcore though.

AZ- The production on that thing is amazing. 

JK-That happened a number of times on that record

AZ- This is it, the hardcore record?

JK- This is the one that has those elements. .  You know… I want to make a hardcore record and then you’ve got a song like “September Sun”,  which was the first thing… he had the intro to “September Sun” (one of the first things he showed us).  He didn’t want to record it.

AZ- Where did the Rasputin theme come from?

JK- Well the parallels between him and Peter are pretty obvious.

AZ- I had just watched that movie with Alan Rickman then I saw the video. Right after it the video.  It’s a great piece of history.

JK- If you like Type O you listen to Music and get a history lesson too.  Music that is multi-tasking .

AZ- How long is this tour? What is Seventh Void doing after it? 

JK-This tour goes until November 2nd.  November 1st is our last show.

AZ- Then you guys start playing out again?

JK- With Seventh Void?  We might, Carnivore is going to Europe for two weeks.  Peter just asked us the other night.  He said, “We’re playing L’Amour, you guys want to do it?” (chuckles) L’Amour is like five minutes from his house.

AZ- Fuck yea you want to do it.

JK- Now L’Amour is on Staten Island.  It’s a tiny little club.  Not quite like the Liars Club, something a little…

AZ- Bigger?

JK- And cleaner.  He said he wanted us to do it.  I said just let us know the date.  Really the thing with Seventh Void is we have got to finish this damn recording.

AZ- For people the best thing to do is just to go to the myspace page to hear your music.

JK- It’s the only thing we have up right now.

AZ- It sounds good, and the video is nice.

JK- I didn’t put it in my Ipod but I had a couple of the bare recordings.  You know, the stuff that still has to go to Vinnie. 

AZ- Do you have a time frame in mind? 

JK- I’m not sure how long Vinnie’s tour is right now, and what his schedule is like, but after this tour we’re pretty much waiting on Vinnie to say he’s ready for us to come to Dallas.

AZ- All I’ve heard form everyone is that they treat you good and you have a really good time. 

JK- Understatement… It’s a total understatement.

AZ- The guy I did my radio show with, really enjoyed his time there.  They take care of you, in many ways I’ve been told.

JK- When we went down for the first mixes we were there for the record release party for Rebel Meets Rebel. 

AZ- Did you get to meet Coe (David Allen Coe)?

JK- No I didn’t, He was there and I didn’t get to meet him. 

AZ- He is in a different world.

JK- He has to be.

AZ- He says he doesn’t know what day it is, because he stopped counting time when he was left prison.  That is what he told me when I first met him.

JK- (Laughs)

AZ- I grew up on his shit.  He says I don’t know what day it is I don’t know what time it is I quit counting time when I was in prison, which makes a lot of sense.

JK- He was just hanging out at the record release party. People were pretty much just going up to him but he just stayed in the same spot all night.

AZ- That’s a good record, man.

JK- I love it.  I love it.

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drum-heads, johnny and jason showing off leather wristbands jason made for seventh void

(jason also video taped the interview and concert, coming soon)

AZ- Well, myspace for Seventh Void.  Everyone should check it out.  It’s good music and has a good groove to it.  I don’t know how generalize anything but it definitely had the stone rock kind of Orange Goblin grove to it.

JK- It seems like it’s starting to get drawn into that category.  That’s pretty good company so I’m not complaining. (laughs)

AZ- Thanks for your time..

JK- Type O has a video coming out.

AZ- Another one?

JK- We did one for “September Sun”.  We shot it in Serbia.

AZ- What’s the theme on it? Can you tell us?

JK- It pretty much goes along the lines of the story in the record. It was kind of cool we did it all blue screen with the computer graphics around it. Visually it looks really cool.  And we look ten years younger.

SEE THE BAND AND  HEAR THE TUNES AT THIS LINK:

www.myspace.com/seventhvoid 


The songs

Heaven Is Gone

Shadow On Me

The End of All Time

As well as a live video are available at the above mentioned site.

October 3, 2007

MINISTRY’s Al Jourgensen and MK’s Alex Zander Talk Grammy’s, Dubya, Tommy Victor and The End of MINISTRY as a Band

Filed under: Uncategorized — alex @ 10:32 am

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all photos by Steffan Chirazi

interview by Alex Zander with editing assistance by Shelly Z and Angie J

Al Jourgensen founded 13th Planet Records on Halloween night, 2004. The artist-friendly label, run and managed by both Al and Angie Jourgensen, is currently home to Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Buck Satan and recent signings Prong and Ascension Of The Watchers. 13th Planet Records’ catalog features Ministry’s Rio Grande Blood album which contains the Grammy nominated tracks “The Great Satan” and “Lies Lies Lies”, the remix album Rio Grande Dub, The Revolting Cocks CD Cocked and Loaded and its remix album Cocktail Mixxx.

Available now from 13th Planet Records, Ministry’s final studio release - The Last Sucker featuring performances by Tommy Victor (Prong), Paul Raven (Killling Joke), Sin Quirin (Revolting Cocks) and Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory, AotW).

 

Al Jourgensen-  Guten Tag Alex.

Alex Zander- It’s good hearing from you, man.

Uncle Al - Alright, thanks for the card.

AZ-*laughs* That was a fun one.

Uncle Al - Yeah, it’s fun for you.  You’re not as old as I am.

AZ- Not yet.

Uncle Al - I’m getting fucking way up there dude.

AZ- One more year and you are a half century, right?

Uncle Al - Yeah that’s impossible, a person that has lived my life, to live fifty years. Fifty years on this planet is pretty cool.

AZ- You and Keith.

Uncle Al - Yeah exactly, we’re pickled.

AZ- That’s it.

Uncle Al- *laughs*

AZ-  First of all, congratulations on your latest Grammy nod. 

Uncle Al- Uh what? Last year?

AZ- Uh yeah, on the last one.  You were more deserving of it, over Slayer, I believe.

Uncle Al-  Oh, whatever.

AZ- Do you think the subject matter though?  You know I thought… you know.

Uncle Al- I couldn’t even believe the thing was nominated, considering it was about a 9/11 conspiracy, you know. That was actually kind of surprising that they would even give a nod towards that.  A nod towards the lunatic fringe left.

AZ- You know, I talked to Tommy about that, yesterday.  What is the Grammy ceremony experience like for a band like Ministry?….To be there with those people.

Uncle Al- Well, I think Tommy had a gas.  Did you ask him the same question? 

AZ- Not exactly the same way.  He was…

Uncle Al- That was like, my third so it was… whatever.  It was the first time we actually went.  I was completely outraged that they didn’t have a functioning bar, or a VIP place for us to go.  There was no smoking or no drinking.  Just Nazi ushers everywhere.  So I just started heckling all of the bands that were playing and shit, basically almost got thrown out - embarrassed Tommy.  It was awesome. *laughs*

AZ- It’s kind of hard to imagine, sitting there with  them. 

 Uncle Al- It was pretty cool, just watching Tommy’s expression.  Him going, “Be Quiet man, you’re creating a scene.  Be quiet.”  I was just heckling the hell out of everyone.  Just because I was mad.  What do they expect?  They don’t serve food, they don’t serve drinks.  They don’t even let anyone go out for a smoke. 

AZ- You don’t get that impression from watching it on television.

Uncle Al- NO, everyone is all happy, smiley, warm and fuzzy.  I was just pissed. *laughs*

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Tommy, Al and Sin

AZ- How fine a line is that to walk, like you have done.  When you are doing a big record like the last three, the subject matter in which you are addressing, with a tongue in check sense of humor, yet you are also serious.  Is that a hard line to walk?  Say you are John Stewart or David Letterman… They just make Jokes about the guy.

Uncle Al- That is basically all I do. *laughs* I mean, you know what?  It seems to fit within my personality.  I joke around a lot about it because I think humor is the best catalyst and the best remedy, for a lot of things.  Albeit sarcastic humor obviously.  That is just my personality, so it is not exactly something I conscientiously think about straddling or a fine line.  That is just the way that I am.

AZ- I really like this record, man.

Uncle Al- It’s a pretty good record.

AZ- The guitar playing, listening to it, is a departure from anything, I’ve heard you do.

Uncle Al- Sin kicks ass on it.  No doubt the transition between Mikey (Scaccia) and Sin has been seamless. 

AZ- Right, but also has the old Ministry groove back.

 Uncle Al- I started playing around with bass synths again and having some fun with it.  We knew it was our last record.  It wasn’t necessarily a conscious effort, but it was kind of like, it was easy, like riding a bike and fun again.  It was fun because there was no pressure.  You know it is your last record you’ve already announced it a couple of years back, so there was no pressure in making this record. It was really cool.  It pretty much enabled us to have a lot of fun.  Not only that, but Me, Paul and Tommy had another record under out belt, working together.  So there wasn’t the pressure of throwing three people in a steam pot and see what happens, you know.  We already pretty much knew what the hell was going on with each other, so we just had a gas on this record. 

AZ- What’s the Tommy Victor experience like?

Uncle Al- He’s insane so he belongs with the 13th Planet family.  He’s absolutely neurotic.  I love the guy to death.

AZ- You have a very similar work ethic.

Uncle Al- Yeah.. Well, no not really.  See he’s about five years behind me.  Five years ago I had that work ethic.  Now I’m getting way too old and my bones are creakin’.  I’m trying to slow down, but it doesn’t seem like I’m doing a very good job of it because I have so much shit going on.  Tommy is a hard worker. That is what I’m trying to say. 

AZ-  Definitely that east coast work ethic. “Roadhouse Blues”, how does that fit into the record and why did you pick that song of all Doors songs? 

Uncle Al-  The Doors are a real hit or miss band.  Some of their shit is absolutely classic, other shit is just masturbation and Jim Morrison going off into the dessert and doing peyote and thinking what he is actually saying means something.  This song always struck me as the dichotomy between the fact that they are doing a blues song, a straight classic blues song, and the lyrics are complete fucking nihilistic and anarchistic.  You know, Fuck it, everything is fucking up around me.  I’m just going to get shit faced and drive my car fast.  To me there was like a juxtapose… this disconnect between the actual.  Because blues songs have lyrics that are my girlfriend left me or I’m gonna slit my wrist or some other depressing crap that is all personal in nature.  I can’t get any booty, or I can’t get laid whatever.  This just struck me as it needed music to go along with the lyrics, because the lyrics are completely nihilistic. I love it. So I have wanted to do that for a long time.

AZ- I kind of imagined, when I saw it was going to be on the record, what it was going to sound like.  It met my expectations.  I liked when you added on the beginning what was released on the American Prayer album.

Uncle Al- Right, “Before this shit house goes up in flames?” 

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The final all original MINISTRY CD now on sale EVERYWHERE

AZ- Yeah. I just read an interview that I had posted on line about a week ago about RevCo. Is this RevCo tour going to happen before the Ministry tour?

Uncle Al- No, no, no. Right after it.  Actually they are going to come right on the heels of each other.  Ministry’s World Tour doesn’t get done until late August. We start rehearsal in September for the Cocks.  The Cocks album comes out is September and then tour in October.

AZ- Well, Keep the energy going.

Uncle Al- Yeah, It’s easy for you to say you youngsters. 

AZ- Why wait until spring for the tour?  Why such a long time?

Uncle Al- We have the cover album coming out too.  Right on the heels of the launch of the tour.  The cover album is a gas.  We are just finishing up with it this week.  It’s is absolutely, hysterically funny.  You’ll love it.  There is a bunch of seventies covers that we just totally torture.  It’s just a fun party record.  There are people from Cheap Trick, Static X, Fear Factory, Prong, the list goes on and on of a lot of different people that just came by and collaborated.  A lot of different covers that you did air guitar to when you were a kid.

AZ- What about Ted Nugent?

Uncle Al- Well, no Nuge this time.  I actually almost wanted it because of his politics and my politics.  I thought it would be funny to cover a Nuge song but we’ve got some other really great shit on there.

AZ- When you hang up the Ministry hat, what are you working on?  They tell me that every afternoon you are in the mix.  What are you mixing?

Uncle Al- Aww, Jesus Christ Alex, It’s insane right now.  I’m just finishing up the Ministry cover album, the final mixes by my birthday October 9th .  The next day I start on a sound track that I‘m doing for this horror movie.  I actually already shot a cameo appearance in… a perverted art professor that beats off to nude models. 

AZ- There’s a departure, huh?

 Uncle Al- Not a big stretch for me…  I’ve already shot that.  Now I’m doing the sound track.  It’s going to have a lot of 13th Planet bands on it.  Some original stuff and some soundscape, and a lot of other shit on there.  That will be out on 13th Planet too, the soundtrack to the movie called “Wicked Lake”. Which is the same people who did Hostel and a bunch of other shit so it should be pretty good. I’ll work on that for a month.  As we speak I have two studios.  Not just the one, I have pre-production studio.  All the Revolting Cocks members are down here we are half way through writing the Revolting Cocks album.  It’s the best Cocks Album I’ve ever heard, period. 

AZ- Who is part of this?

Uncle Al- It’s Clayton Worbeck, Josh, our singer, which we call Bratwurst.  His last name it’s… *yells* What’s his name again?

Angie- What? (says a voice from the background)

Uncle Al- *yells* It’s our singer.

Angie- Josh Bratwurst. (quietly, in a matter of fact way)

Uncle Al- *yells* I know we call him Josh Bratwurst, but what’s his real last name?

Angie- Bradford.

Uncle Al- Bradford… I have been calling him Bratwurst for so long that I forgot his real last name. So Josh and Clayton, Sin and Me.  We are five songs into it right now and it’s really cool.  At any rate, the whole thing will be written by the time that I’m done with the sound track.  Then I’ll start mixing the Revolting Cocks record.  That takes me all the way into to next year when we start rehearsals for Ministry.  Then I’m doing a six month tour.  Then a month off and the Cocks tour supporting the new album.  Then I also have a Cocks cover record that we’re writing simultaneously right now that I will mix when I get back from tour. So that take’s me into 2010 Right now.  It’s crazy.

AZ- I’m very surprised, and I’ve e-mailed Angie about this in the past.  Everyone asks me about this all of the time, neither you, or Jello, have been on Bill Maher or John Stewart.  Is this something that you would consider doing?

Uncle Al- Yeah, sure I’d consider doing anything, really.

AZ- Bill Maher, I never miss the show, but there are the same people on all the time.  The same band people, and it would be nice to get someone from our side.

Uncle Al- Well write to him, I’d so it in a second.  Republicans ‘donena skar me’ (bad red neck accent) *laughs*.

AZ- They put them against each other on that show.  They split them up and they let each other have it.

Uncle Al- I have no problem with doing it.  I obviously am informed and well read on the subject.  I have no problems going on there and not making an ass of myself like some people like the Dixie Chicks or Ben Affleck .  Which come out of the woodwork every four years when there is an election and all of the sudden become political.  I obviously have no problem and I know Jello doesn’t either.  It’s just a matter of maybe getting Bill Maher informed on what cool people are out there instead of having the same guests all of the time.

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AZ- Right.  Speaking of … Have You heard from our friend American Patriot lately? 

Uncle Al- Not me personally, but been so busy Alex. 

AZ- He’s been so quiet.  I don’t get hate mail anymore.

Uncle Al- That’s good.

AZ- I’ve only had one person resign from the magazine because of our association, other than that American Patriot has been the only bad mail.  The next election is in the can as far as I’m concerned.

Uncle Al- Yeah, It’s so ridiculous.  What I’m proposing for myself, looking at the slate of candidates.  It’s becoming more and more blatantly obvious that we have a one party system with two names.  The only way we are going to get alternative parties, Green Party or Libertarian or whatever, is to cast enough votes to start having them match federal funds and also to refinance campaign contributions.  So it’s not already run by special interests and agendas are not already chosen before you even start.  We need an election full of ideas not full of K street and Washington.

AZ- I sent an e-mail from a reader to Angie for you to address when you have time.  It goes more into that subject.

Uncle Al- I’m basically… well. Everyone was mad at Nader because “he cost Gore the election”.  Nobody cost Gore the election.  First of all it was stolen, and second of all the ideas were there, and it was a complete differential to the republican agenda or point of view, he would have gotten more votes.

AZ- I went to the Nader rally and my only problem with it was, I saw a lot of hippy kids there who I don’t think went and voted.

Uncle Al- Probably not, there is a lot of hypocrisy going on.  What I’m saying is good for him for raising the potential for alternate parties to the one party system we have.  The protest vote? Fine you will never get anywhere unless you do voice your opinion.  If enough people vote independent, I know everyone will get mad because I’m not voting for Hilary “because a republican might sneak in if we split the vote, blah, blah, blah,” it’s the same fucking thing anyways so who cares.

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front to back: Al, Sin, Tommy and Raven

AZ- You are linked to some of the greatest writers of our generation. Burroughs, and Leary, both great, some of the best writing, but also with excessive personalities.  One person is missing.  Why was there never a Hunter Thompson?

 Uncle Al- You know, I don’t know.  I did meet Bukowski, which was good.  Just by chance you know, scheduling or whatever.  It was by chance I met these guys and just happened to really get along and saw eye to eye on a lot different of things.  Just basically lead a charmed life, but maybe not charmed enough to meet Hunter. That would have been good.

AZ- Finally, what is Buck Satan going to sound like?

Uncle Al- It’s absolutely pure fifties country.  The real deal, not any of this achy, breaky, fakey, dickey, licky, hard Billy Ray Cyrus with a mullet or pretty white chicks from Canada that are blonde that marry other big Nashville stars or whatever country has gotten to.   We are going back to the real roots.  A lot of it is going to be the Bakersfield sound a lot of what Dwight Yoakam did is the sense that… the early Dwight stuff.

AZ- A very simple production then?

Uncle Al- Yeah, of course. I mean there is only like three or four instruments so how hard could it be?

AZ- I listen to a lot of David Allen Coe lately.  Did you hear his metal record?

Uncle Al- No,*laughs* I don’t think I want to.

AZ- He did that album with Dimebag and Vinnie Paul, before Dimebag died called Rebel Meets Rebel. 

Uncle Al- Good for him, I just know when Hank 3 went spandex it kind of didn’t seem right.

AZ- He shook ‘em up though.

Uncle Al- Yeah good for him.

AZ- What I read is that after the Buck Satan thing that is going to be the end of it. Is that really going to be the end of it?

Uncle Al- Yeah that will be the last thing you see me on.  After that is straight production, soundtracks, political activism, sitting on my porch learning other languages, relaxing running the label, basically my golden parachute.
AZ- Label’s a good thing I’m glad you did that.

Uncle Al- It’s good in the sense that we see the looks on the faces of the artists on here and after dealing with the fucking major labels and the major indies and shit, to be able to have a voice in what your direction is going to be.  We really stress independence.  We don’t want to just sign bands that have their hand out and expect a limo to pick them up at the airport.  We want work ethic, we want artists, we want people without pretension and people with ideals and with the intelligence to back up those ideals.  So far we have really hit the mark with ? Burton Bell and Tommy Victor. Paul Raven, his new release is going to be on the label.  So it is kind of in the family, but it’s a good family.  We’re putting the fun back in dysfunctional for families.

AZ-  I just thought Tommy was a good fit for you guys.  His record is really good too.

Uncle Al- It slams, it just fucking slams.  It’s the best shit he has done in fifteen years. 

AZ- It sure is.  It’s not as heady as the last one. By the way the Hollywood Bowl thing, did they film that?

Uncle Al-  I hope so because I was in rare form, I went out and insulted everyone out there, before I even started.  I was like hey, how are all you old rich people doing? 

AZ-  I just watched the Sgt. Pepper, Bee Gees movie before that was announced.  Man, I would have given anything to be out there to see that.

Uncle Al- That was a gas.  That was a lot of fun.  I had Penny Marshall of Laverne and Shirley  sitting in one of those little picnic tables right in front of us with her wine.  Totally getting off on it and hitting on Sin who was up there with us.  The president of the L.A. Philharmonic, this 90 year old lady, wearing  jewelry older than I am, old money. Telling us it was the most outrageous thing she has ever seen, and that was fantastic.  It was ridiculous.  I have never played in front of a crowd without a mosh-pit so I didn’t know what the hell to do.  So I just basically started insulting all of them and that seemed to work so…

AZ- *laughs* I just hope that thing comes out the line up was amazing. I just can’t even imagine.  Cheap Trick was the perfect band to do it.

 Uncle Al- It was really funny too because I haven’t seen Aimee Mann in about twenty years.  You know she was the original base player of Ministry.

AZ- I had no idea.

Uncle Al-  We used to go out together in Boston about twenty years ago.

AZ- No shit.

Uncle Al- Twenty five, something like that.
Uncle Al- I‘ve got to tell ya, this new Cocks record, Un-fucking believable. It Blows away Last Sucker and Prong.  It’s Cocks at its most seventies glam.  These are like teen anthems, dude.

AZ- I like the fun stuff.

Uncle Al- This blows away the last Cocks album and we are only half way through it and already there are three better songs than the last album.  I thought the last album was Okay.  I think this one is gonna freak some people out.

AZ- It’s good to know and I’m glad that we get a chance to expose it.  I guess we’ll talk again when that time comes.

Uncle Al- And,  we’ve got the cover album so we will talk before then even.

Jourgensen is one of the more outspoken musicians in the industry today, frequently offering scathing criticism of right-wing politicians. Beginning with Ministry’s 1992 album Psalm 69 and continuing with the 2004 album Houses of the Molé, his favorite target has been first George H.W. Bush and then his son U.S. President George W. Bush, Ministry also contributed a song to the first Rock Against Bush album. The theme continues on Ministry’s 2006 offering, and in Jourgensen’s various side projects.

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“Al Jorgensen Heads Off Into The Sunset.  Illustration By James Francis.”

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PRONG’S TOMMY VICTOR on new Release, The Grammy’s, the current state of the Industry and of course, MINISTRY

Filed under: Uncategorized — alex @ 10:06 am

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Tommy, Monte and Aaron

interview by Alex Zander w/ Editing assist from Shelly Z and Angie J

After a seven-year hiatus PRONG returned with a new line-up and a new album, releasing Scorpio Rising in 2003. “I had to do something, no matter what it was” states mainman Tommy Victor. “Looking back, I don’t feel like it was an appropriate release under the PRONG moniker. I feel like the best is yet to come.”

Victor spent the last year splitting his time between writing and touring with MINISTRY and writing the new PRONG album, using that time to hone the new PRONG material with a razorlike intensity.

PRONG have now completed recording of their staggeringly heavy new album Power of the Damager, set for release on October 2nd through Al Jourgenson of MINISTRY’s label 13th Planet Records.

The new album showcases an aggressive call to arms, blending the neck-snapping riffs the band is known for along with an even heavier approach to the hook and infusing that with an honest speed and aggression that lacks in so many newer acts. PRONG have returned to doing what they do best, and yet somehow it feels like something new all over again.

Alex Zander- One of the first things I wanted to ask you about is that you made a couple of comments on Hilly Crystal after he died. You know, how much did he have to do with your life and what you did at the beginning if anything.
TV- Regarding PRONG a lot pretty much I don’t know if it was directly out of any, uh, out of him being any kind of beneficiary purposely, you know being a beneficiary purposely toward PRONG particularly.  Just the fact that club [CBGBs], was available to us. There were a lot of different clubs that we were able to play, down at the Lower East Side at that time.  Just CB’s itself was a great establishment back then. I mean by the time that I left I could see where it was going.  Where the neighborhood was changing, and it was becoming gentrified and musicians were being priced out of that area, with most of the locals being rich NYU students from all over the place and the influx of wealthy Europeans. The nature of that neighborhood changed rapidly.  But as far as him as a person, like I said he was a tough guy to work for.  The hours were long and he demanded a lot but it was good discipline, I mean after all, he was a Drrill Sgt in the if Marines so, yeah.  In fact, being Sonny Barger’s Sgt in the marines.  That’s how the association with the Angels came about. At that time he was even living with the Angels, which were around the corner on 3rd Street and that is all gone now too.
AZ- I had no idea about that.  What a trip.

I just wanted to ask you as far as personally, if him being a drill Sgt. had any bearing on your personal work ethic.

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 TV- I don’t know. I have always had a hard work ethic, being brought up Catholic and being beaten down by nuns my whole life.  I was always fearful and still am of doing something wrong. You know, that is just the old adage kids today don’t really give a crap more or less.  They are more concerned about video games less there is conscientiousness on a social level.  Which is maybe good too, the boundaries between upper middle class, middle class, working class and rich class in New York were a lot more prevalent when I was a kid then they are now or are apparent anywhere really.  So it’s a social thing.  That ethic put into you from Depression era parents of course.
AZ- You’re right, it definitely doesn’t exist any more.  How does that relate as far as the music you are making now, or does it?
TV- I think it has an adverse effect on personality more or less because it makes you more servile which leads to my belief that kids that experience nepotism seem to prosper more where they are handed a BMW and they believe on maintaining that lifestyle.  When you are a given nothing you expect nothing.  You seem to be more service oriented where you run around and try to please everyone else and you become lax.  I have experienced that a lot with my career with band members, managers, with the whole thing.  I tend to burst and go into an extreme where I’m like “fuck everybody” and I isolate (myself).  I don’t think it is a healthy way to grow up or anything like that.  As far as music, it presents the urgency in PRONG which you have a lot of fear, self-consciousness and impulsiveness lyrically.  There is a lot of craftsmanship in it too; believe it or not, even though it is raw. We take the songs to the utmost we can.  I have learned to let go a little bit more in the last three years.  It is a reflection of working with Al who will take things to extremes.  Trying to be meticulous on stuff that I have no idea how, or why he does it. In response to that I say, “You know what guys.  We are just going to lie this down. Leave it as it is. I think we have taken it far enough right now.”  Al and I have this joke about I have to reel him in a little bit in the studio, because if no one puts a stop sign, sometimes he will go a year on a song.  There are a lot of things involved in that old school work ethic, Depression era mentality. That resorts back to CB’s working until three in the morning and waking up going back into the same grind.  Somehow we fit PRONG rehearsal in there I don’t even remember how or when we did it, but it was a grind.

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AZ- Speaking about PRONG, that guy that wrote the book, sent me a copy of it.  What was your take on it?
TV- I didn’t read any of it.  I heard little bits and pieces about it.  It’s kind of a goof to me because before we get into any specifics of it that I’m not aware of; you are probably the only one that has made me a little aware of it.  I kept the thing going. I am the one that spent a lot of the hours on the project.  Whoever grumbles and complains later on are still getting royalties on songs that I pretty much wrote and was kind enough to be generous and involve them in publishing credits and everything.  That is my general take on the whole thing.
AZ- Like you said it was a lot of guys getting grumpy.
TV- Well that is fine.  That makes me look better.
AZ- Laughs. How about Monte [Pittman]?  How did he come into the whole picture? I met him when you brought PRONG back out when you did the live record.  How did you cross paths with someone like Monte Pitman?
TV- Actually it was through Ivan de Prume who initially and briefly was the replacement for Ted Parsons.  He had a mutual friend over at Guitar Center.  He said, “You know there is this kid who came from Texas.  I got to jam with him and he knows all of the PRONG songs and he wants to get in touch with you because he wants to get some gear off of you.  He is a huge PRONG fan.”  So I give him my number, I call him and tell him to come over.  He was already in shock when he met me.  I was living just as sparsely as I am now, in this bare apartment in Tarzana.  This like one room nothing apartment.  He was like, this is where you live?  This is where Tommy Victor lives?  I’m like, yea dude, I never made any money. That is why I’m selling my gear. Eventually we talked. I said you know what?  I have been thinking about adding another guitar player because there is so much on me all the time.  Eventually we started jamming, but soon after that what we call “the charmed Monte” from working at guitar center started giving lessons to Madonna and winded up being in her band.  So he was in and out.  There are certain guys that are completely dedicated to music, guitar playing and are aficionados and are discophiles, and he is one of them.  There are not that many guys out there as far as guitar players go.  You get the guys that sit around eight hours a day and practice arpeggios and are totally disinterested and don’t want to have anything to do with “those type of so called musicians.”  These guys can play a Steely Dan song and then play some country, western like Hank Williams day and play PRONG as just good as I can.  We developed a relationship on that level of respect.  Song writing and contributions, His knowledge of PRONG and he knows the lyrics and songs probably better than me at times.  He’s a good guy to have around.  It has been unfortunate that because of scheduling we haven’t been able to solidify our relationship in a lot of ways throughout the years.  That is part of the crisis the keeps PRONG for making records on a regular basis.  However this period of down time on Madonna and down time on Ministry and in Aaron Rossi’s case down time on Encore so we were able to come together and collaborate to do the new, Power of the Damager, record.
AZ- You and Monte must have similar work ethics.  It’s not like he necessarily has to be in PRONG right?  
TV- No I mean, he is involved now that I think of it.  He is very heavily involved in the session scene right now.  He is constantly like all day doing sessions.  It is some of the benefits of being associated with an extremely major gig like playing with Madonna.  I’m envious of that a little bit, but I don’t think I could cut it.  I’m too involved with my own little decrepit world of PRONG.  He’s there and on the other hand I have been an advisory and played a role in his band The Citizen Vain, which has been a little hard to get off the ground.   I have to laugh at him sometimes because at minor set backs he has called me in a panic.  I’m like welcome to having your own band, man.  This is what I have been dealing with for twenty years.  You freak out about this, wait until the real bombs explode.  It is always like that.  That is why Al and I get along and Glen and I have gotten along so well because we just know.  They don’t know what it is.  You are the one who gets blamed.  You are the one who gets the phone calls.  You are the one who gets sued.  You are the one who get all of these problems all of the time.  People complain to you all of the time, whatever, they expect hand outs.
AZ- Did you record the whole album in Texas?
TV- Well we recorded the basic tracks. All of it, the basic at the Sonic Ranch, and we finished at Al’s new studio at his house in El Paso.
AZ- I was under the impression the Sonic Ranch was his studio. So that’s not.
TV-That’s a common misnomer.
AZ- A lot of people I understand recorded there like COC and some other guys. Did he have any hand in this record or was it the Tommy Victor show again?
TV- If it comes from Al it depends on what mood he is in.  On an advisory role we discuss the actual production, which is half of the job really.  The scheduling and where we were going to do it, the communication with Tony the studio manager.  Almost acting in the producer role a little bit, as far as musically, arrangement, engineering, processing decisions etc, he had nothing to do with it. Monte had more to do with that role. He gets credited as associate producer but these things on this level are pretty laughable.  The song The Banishment Al insisted upon having to do with the mix on that because that was his favorite and wanted to have something he could put his fingers into.   That was about as much as he was involved.  I was amazed, because I was fearful that he was going to be all on my ass the whole time.  He was so busy doing business with Ministry in the other part of the house and enjoying his couple weeks off at times so he really didn’t bug me too much. 
AZ- “Scorpio Rising”, a lot of people call that an angry record, but everybody is calling the new record a brutal record.  Why do you think they use the word brutal so much?  I mean even Mazur his first e-mail was “It’s just brutal.”
TV- I think I felt a lot of the subject involved in the lyrical content a little bit more than on Scorpio.  Scorpio has almost a fluffy format.  From the cover, it was almost bordering into mysticism and a little more, heady.  This one is more common topics and just a general disgust and nihilism overall and there is a little bit more of a snarl to this than the other record.  A lot of those projections musically, come across with the tunings.  We experimented with a different tuning on “Scorpio” and looking back that was a huge mistake.  This one we went back to the cleansing tuning of “C” on most of the material.  I think my vocal range presents its self a little better on that and is a bit more biting.  That’s on a sonic note but as far as topical I always discuss that guitar playing I just up the dose the reason why I was able to do that is with the addition of Aaron who could really respond to some of the faster ideas.  We just decided to pump up the BPM on this record and that give a lot more intense feel to it. 
AZ- Thirteenth Planet, how good of a fit is that for PRONG?  As compared to well, no comparison when it comes to someone like Locomotive.  What is the benefit of being on Thirteenth Planet for you?
TV- That remains to be seen, I’m not saying that as any knock to Angie and Al Jourgenson.  I’m a very cautious person about putting stamps on things and having definitive notions on what the whole experience is yet.  You know this is really a bad time for records, record companies, relationships with people in the music business, and the options are diminishing especially for older acts.  I think a lot of the noted labels that focus on this type of music pull their talents form kids that still live at home with their parents.  They have some kind of family support or something.  Yeah, Sonny, I’ll go ahead and buy you some kind of trailer or van.  Go ahead and have your rock thing and then go back to college, kind of vibe.  Were as guys that have been plugging along and have been doing it as a career for many years are finding more and more difficult to find their place in the business.  That is where Al and I come together where a lot of his views and his experiences parallel mine.  The label is build around that vibe that is why Burton Bell is doing a record with Al and Raven as well. So the guys that have been around the block Al respects that more, knows the pitfalls and aggravations, his experience with Sanctuary for instance where younger bands that he didn’t feel deserved it were getting more attention than Ministry was.  That disturbed him or hurt his pride.  I totally understand that and I think that is covered with Thirteenth Planet with PRONG I get that total respect from them.  They are very good cheerleaders.  The sentiment is in the right place.  Whether the tools are there that remains to be seen.  Everything is on a really strict budget. 
AZ- Exactly, It’s pretty sad when a lot of people are skipping doing PR and just putting their shit out on My Space.
TV- Yeah, It’s crazy out there it’s unfortunate too.  I’m on a survivalist level and I try to make that a point to most people.  I’m just skin and bones here and that is what I’ve been doing.  In old school depression era terms starving artist was heralded.  That is almost a forgotten term theses days.  You are almost looked down upon on that.  Now they are like, so how much money is involved?  When I was a kid we came from the Burroughs, when living in a loft with a bunch of homeless people was cool.  Now it’s like what do you mean you are like making records and are not on the radio?  The whole L.A. thing has totally absorbed the whole mentality of making records and writing.
AZ- Well we have nothing in Chicago.  The Virgin across form where I worked is gone.  Tower Records, all of them are gone.  Mom and Pop are nearly all gone.  I’m stupid and go to Best Buy to get stuff and ordering it.  I can’t get the new Garbage record, the new garbage greatest hits on Interscope because they are not carrying it because there is no demand for it.  That is how bad it is.  I was afraid they wouldn’t have Ministry.
TV- My theory on that issue has a lot to do with major corporations.  What is Garbage going to sell to the mentality of the public outside of buying a garbage record?  Records are just vehicles for the overhead corporations in order to perpetuate their values and their tactics to sell other products within records. You know you are sort of a bottom feeder to a major pyramid game.  That is what leads me to believe why R&B is strong in record sales.  It’s almost like a genocidal conspiracy to feed the masses on self destructive music that is going to tear apart a segment of society and turn them in to gun toting, dog fighting thieves and throw them in jail. That major conspiracy and a major statement to make, but I saw it happening when PRONG was on Epic.  The themes behind what they are selling if they weren’t direct or in line with some corporate view of what they want to sell via the paternal corporation Sony, then, they weren’t interested in pursuing it any longer.

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CD OUT NOW


AZ- So when the record drops on Tuesday, is it something that people are going to have the chance to pick up at Best Buy, or is it better for them to order off of Thirteenth Planet?  Is it going to be in the stores?

TV- Well I’m hoping so.  I don’t know.  It is a question I have to ask.  Initially I thought it was going to be. Who the hell knows?  People should go and request it at a Best Buy or whatever.  They are working on that supposedly, so you know I have to address that.  My suggestion is to come to the shows and buy a record or buy it on line.  It should be available throughout so we are going to work up that steam in order for it to be more accessible and that is part of the plan.
AZ- Your taking it out as a three piece again?
TV- Yeah
AZ- Cool.  Real quick, your experience with Ministry, obviously it has worked out for you if you are going for a second round here.
TV- I wish that we could have extended the tour a bit, but it is going pretty fast.  Al likes to do a tour, do a record, go out and work on other things.  His operational mode is kind of quick.  It been pretty easy, Al is really easy to work with.  You go in and do stuff and socialize.  It’s not like, a major headache gig that much.  All of the headaches come with PRONG pretty much. 
AZ- With the guitar playing your signature was all over the record before this one.  It was unarguably Tommy Victor.
TV- Yeah
AZ- On this one you really have to listen for it.  I love the leads this is my favorite record of the last four Minitsry’s.  There is something completely different about it.  I think the grove is back and that is something I think has been lacking on the George W related albums. 
TV- Well I think this a George W related as well.  Sin took up a lot of the role. Sin did a great job and Raven was involved in a lot of it.  My participation is on about half of the record.  There were a couple of songs that didn’t make it that I worked a lot on.  A lot of time was spent on “End of Days” and “Roadhouse Blues”.  Those were a different than what was going on in “Rio Grande Blood”.  Then “No Glory” was another that we spent a lot of time on too. Essentially those were the ones I was more involved with. “Die in a Crash” I contributed a lyric on that.  My participation due to time etc. was less than it was on “Rio Grande Blood”.  That’s cool because Al didn’t want it to be Tommy “Rio Grande Blood”.  We are encompassing a lot of the earlier Ministry being more of an overall Ministry record rather than a single one.  Being the last album it needed to do that.
AZ- Did it feel good to be part of getting a Grammy nod after all these years?
TV- Oh, that was very exciting for me.  The pitfall of that is that I had to sit next to Al, and Al was like hating life during the whole thing.  His disgust of the major music scene really became apparent during his exposure to it. Right in front of his face like that.  He was just out of control disruptive in true Al form, and getting away with it, which was beautiful.  What was unfortunate too is that there was this unbelievable party after the whole thing.  He was the first one to get in there after the Grammy show. He was waiting. He proceeded to drain the place of alcohol on our table.  When I finally got in there it was gone and we had to leave. That was the downfall of the Al Jourgensen experience but we were laughing for months about his behavior at the Grammy’s.  There is a tendency for guys like Al to be cynical and disruptive on a showmanship level but this was all true.

He isolates himself from that whole scene.  Then he was there with all of these talking heads and it was like and acid trip for him.  Being more straight, I was trying to appreciate the experience but it was totally impossible next to Al and being with him the whole day.
AZ- Well Maybe there will be one more.
TV- We were disappointed that we didn’t win because there was this huge L.A. Time article that day featuring Ministry.  We were like “We won, we won.” Al called me up and said I got my speech we won, we won.  The typical Al fashion always optimistic, in a strange way.  It’s hard to explain.  I’m like, man, don’t go there, maintain your balance. He would say well, why would they do this then?  When they mentioned Slayer he had us so pumped up so much that we were sort of in shock.
AZ- I guess in this day and age it is O.K to sing about Satan, but not against the president.
TV- Yeah, unless you are a country and western band for some reason.  The whole thing was Rascal Flatts, and Katie Underwood, and the Dixie Chicks and Ludacris.  It was pretty weird.  For Tommy Victor to infiltrate that big time music biz scenario was really exciting for me.  Ironically for someone like Monty who courts Jimmy Page, and has met Paul McCartney on Madonna’s airplane, to him it would not have been as exciting, but for me it was a trip.

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www.myspace.com/prong 

www.thirteenthplanet.com

Tommy Victor lead singer and guitarist for the crossover thrash/thrash metal band Prong that he founded in New York in 1986. During times that Prong sits idle, Tommy Victor has worked with legends of the rock world, including Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Glenn Danzig and is currently part of Al Jourgensen’s band Ministry.

October 2, 2007

THE GATES OF STEELE: Alex Zander Catches up with PETER STEELE of TYPE O NEGATIVE

Filed under: Uncategorized — alex @ 6:11 pm

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I’m not about to get into the whole, this band needs no introduction scenario with Type O Negative again. MK has in one form or another had a relationship with the Brooklyn quartet since MK ULTRA’s inception in 1994. In the past 13 years a lot has changed about them, about us and about the world in general. But nothing has changed more drastically that the climate of the music industry. Through TON and the bands we, as a publication or for sake of a better term, entity, worked with before that time and till now and I can certainly say I enjoyed the fruits of the heyday which are long gone.

 

From my office window I see Virgin Records Mega Store on Michigan Avenue, and they are closing. Last year I watched as the once mighyt Tower records chain did the same. So there are signs not that the end is near, the end is here. Rock is dead.

 

And that is where Type O fit in and why the world they embrace and compose songs about makes more sense now than ever. Songs that say we are all human and we all make mistakes. We all bleed when we get cut and even the strangest of men can be reduced to tears. Some of us more than others.

 

The ban do just that on their latest offering, “Dead Again” which had just sold just over 22,000 copies prior to this interview, in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 27 on The Billboard 200 chart.

 

In this revealing and personal and interview w/ my old pal Peter Steele he talks about the price of his shortcomings and of coming face to face with his sins.

 

Steele suffered cocaine-induced psychosis, went to jail for a month for violating probation, and did time in a psychiatric ward. “I’m pissed off at myself more than anything,” said Steele to Revolver Magazine, who has been clean for over six months at the time of the inerview. “I’m actually trying to kick myself in the ass, and nothing beats rehearsing three or four times a week at 160 decibels for three hours.”

 

While journalists have had fun as of late and done things such as expose Peter’s birth name in print or talked about the rumors and or details leading up to and concerning his personal fall from grace and subsequent arrest and rehab stint. We have chosen it is not relevant.

 

And so without going into details of his incarceration, Peter has been up front and brutally honest and apologetic for what landed him in jail and in rehab in the press. This is a place many artists would prefer not to go.

 

Our treatment is less of an interview and more of a couple of old dawgs catching up on life. A lot has changed since I met Peter and his band 13 years ago outside of Pittsburgh when they opened for Motley Crue. But one thing that hasn’t changed, is this bands unwillingness to compromise by making the music that they want, which is as evident as ever and that Peter Steele is one of the nicest gentlemen in the music business, as he always has been.

 

It was the day after Easter 2007 and I brought my girlfriend Shelly (a stunning scarlet haired Princess) and my good friend Jason Meudt a Type O friend and associate with me for my interview w/ Peter downstairs in a private room beneath Chicago’s famous Metro. Peter’s weakness for beautiful redheads and wine would work to my advantage as he sat between Shelly and I and paid a lot of attention to my girl, in a friendly way. It seemed that and I hope he was sincerely impressed.

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Alex Zander: I have got to say man, number one, to be as honest that you have been and open with your situation that you have been in, I’m impressed. Most people don’t address these things.
 
Peter Steele: Well you know the band is based on honesty.  Honesty and sodemy, you know it’s like ebony and ivory.
 
That’s the eight deadly sin, isn’t it.
 
I have to say that after doing many interviews and being very honest and expecting people to understand, not that I want pity or compassion but if it could happen to me it could happen to anyone and to be ridiculed by the people that were interviewing me  because no offense but my dream in life is to kill a journalist with a fuckin pen.
 
AZ: Wow, you said that in our very first interview. A big fuckin pen, Remember that.in 1994.
 
PS: Well I am consistent in some ways but. Human nature never fails to disappoint me that when you know when I was honest and I was not expecting sympathy or empathy I was like look I fucked up and that reason that I am saying this is because look it’s better to learn from my mistakes then from your own. I don’t want any of my fans to have to go through what I went through and I am not blaming anyone I blame myself. You want to blame someone go look in the fuckin mirror, it’s not the church, it’s not the schools, it’s not your parents it’s fuckin you man, everyone has a choice.
 
 
AZ: Well let me ask you this, I saw the interview with you and we put it on the website and you talked about. . .
 
PS: Is this the one with Carol Burnett?
 
AZ: Did you rip that shit up? I know you like the red heads…..This is bait. (Pointing to Shelly) “laughing”
 
PS: I am the master baiter. Let me tell you a funny story, really quick. Due to cocaine, when I was in a drug induced psychosis I was locked up in a fucking psychiatric ward and so when I was there the doctor’s go to me  and ask me what my drugs I choice are and I go you know cocaine, alcohol and red heads. Then like 25 fuckin Sigmond Freuds come in and they are like, they thought that I was talking about a new drug and I was like I am talking about women baby! You know 6 ft 4 with full breasts. You know IQ and you know double digits and what not.
 
AZ: (again, alluding to Shelly) Look at this cleavage will ya?
 
PS: You are a lucky man, I have to say.
 
AZ: Thank you, that’s the first time that you ever said that to me.
 
PS: Um I think I got that from an ELP song, oh what a lucky man he was.
 
AZ: But really I mean the experience, really I want to talk about a few things.
Jail, did you actually go to jail?
 
PS: I was in Reikers Island because I had violated probation.
 
AZ: So you went to jail and you’re a big guy, there’s always somebody that wants to fight the big guy.
 
PS: You know when you are going to jail when you are like 43 years old, it’s not like a high school territorial thing anymore, like unless somebody is in my face or touches me, like really touches me, I’m like what the fuck ever, I have nothing to prove because I knew that I was only in there for 30 days because there were guys in there that were in there for life and of course I was like one of 3 white people so of course I am like the great white dope, you know and some guys in there would be like hey man what’s the name of your band and of course I am like Type O Negative and they thought the I said Tae Bo! Tae Bo! Yo Tae Bo! Yo! Yo undertaker! Yo Tarzan! Tarzan! You know the worst thing was that um my mother was not doing very well and stuff.
 
AZ: Hey by the way I am sorry to hear about that.
 
PS: Thank you very much.
 
AZ: No, you know I thought about you a lot during that.
 
PS: So I was in jail and you get like one 8 minute phone call a day and that’s like where most fights come in. Yeah over fuckin telephone usage. So I every time I would speak to my mother I never knew and every time I spoke to her I never knew if I was going to speak to her again. So you know so that was like a real jail sentence for me. Thinking about what I was going to come home to but you know I have to admit that I got myself that, I violated probation because you know due to drugs and alcohol and just having a case of like all I had to do was like show up once a month and put my hand into a fuckin machine.
 
AZ: And you just didn’t show up once?
 
PS: I didn’t show up for like 6 months and then I’m like so, let them come and get me and you know what? (Bang! Bang! Bang! Is Peter there? Housekeeping!
 
AZ: And your mom was upstairs?
 
PS: Yeah! And so they took me out in chains.
 
AZ: I don’t know if this rumor or what because you tend to hear everything in the press but, then I heard that there was an intervention.
 
PS: There were many.
 
AZ: How hard is that?
 
PS: They were.
 
AZ: I mean did you just want to say fuck you?
 

PS: I mean there was one of like, that show, like that whole friends and family comes down. There was one of those. I have had people you know, friends, family, co-workers you know pull me off to the side and say you know Peter you are really fuckin up you got to do something, blah, blah, blah.  Yeah there have been many interventions but I am a very stubborn fuckin person and as you see I am drinking fuckin alcohol here, I’m not coked up because if I was this interview would of lasted fuckin 3 seconds because I would of answered all of your questions like, blah, blah, blah.  But um so you know I have to get rid of one demon at a time. You know I have two demons cocaine and alcohol and I guess red heads but don’t tell her. (again to Shelly)
 
AZ: She knows.

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Shelly, Peter and AZ

 

PS: Things are actually much better now, you know I am no angel but I mean I fall off from time to time but listen it’s better to do, and I am not justifying my usage by any means but I think it’s some what better to do I mean like maybe one gram like every two weeks then like 3 eight balls a day like for fuckin 2 years. I mean I can stick my fuckin finger up my fuckin nose and hit the back of my fuckin head. I have like burnt out my entire cranial cavity. I mean luckily I was not born with a brain to begin with so there was like nothing to lose. I mean I heard an echo in my head. It’s like hello, Merry Christmas!

AZ:So where did this translate into this record because it is night and day to the last one?
Number one I got to say the new label spared no expense and has done nothing but push this shit the way I wish Road Runner would of the last one.

PS: I have to back you up that they really did spare no expense and I think that they are doing a really, really great job and a lot of people think that we were dropped from Road Runner, we were not dropped, that wanted to resign us but under different conditions that were actually much worse then the previous ones. So rather than be a small fish in a big pond we became a big fish in a small pond. So this is call mutualism when 2 preachers or 2 organizations benefit each other by mutual respect so SPV wanted to break there label there German label here in the states and told us that we were going to be a priority.
 
AZ: Do you feel like a priority?
 
PS: With SPV, yes, and that was the motivating factor but as far as what has happened over the past couple of years I have learned from jail and rehab and being in a psychiatric institution, I’m still learning. But I think that I after my mothers death, I was born a roman catholic and I think that I have gone back to my faith. You know people ask me are you a born again Christian and I said no I am a dead again Christian I have always been dead. You I believe in Jesus Christ and God and the whole thing but you know I don’t shove it down anyone’s throat. You know it’s a very private personal thing and faith is really strong and I really want to see my mother and father again and also I can’t believe that somebody like Hitler and Mother Teresa are going to the same place after death. I can’t believe that.
 
AZ: If you give a shit and if you can give you two minutes of my time I want to tell you this, my mother that I barely knew in 40 years of my life. I met her when I turned 18 and I saw her at 25 and she really disappointed me, she passed like 2 years ago.

PS: I’m sorry.
 
AZ: And I was next of kin becuz she made so many fuckin mistakes in her life, I had to go claim the body and the life support thing and I took her ashes and I took them to Sedona Arizona, on the great vortex and she was Apache but she had never been to Apache land, man and I was like I just want to like put her home.
 
PS: You like gave her a great gift.
 
AZ: And I felt that I was at peace, although I never knew that women, I met her maybe twice in my entire life Pete but she was my mom. She your’s mom.
 
PS: Well that was a very beautiful thing I sure that there must have been a lot of feelings involved.
 
AZ: I poured tequila over it. And I said this is our last drink, baby. I had to do it that way, I couldn’t take her to Lake Michigan and dump her in the water there because that had nothing to do with her, she was a lonely but beautiful woman.
 
PS: They’re going to dump me in prospect park lake Brooklyn and not even fuckin cremated. (Ha! Ha!) There going to put me on a meat slicer.
 
AZ:So this record man, I was so glad when they sent me the fucking lyrics but it’s so hard to read them.
 
PS: Well that’s one thing that I have been specifying, not that my music or my lyrics are so important but that they go together. You know you really need one with the other and some of the songs are really fast.
 
AZ: As a lyricist though and how long these songs are they remind me more of anything that you have done of Morrison type stuff it’s not catchy pop, it’s not a pop feel to this record to this record at all to me. It’s a fuckin artist, heavy record there is not a. . . my girlfriends, girlfriend there’s not a, you know the one that I love you know on your last album, I mean. . .

PS: It was not intentionally singlable.
 
AZ: But you can read so much, I want to know what song of your latest record was the most personable to you and what you went through, what you got through this intervention, psychiatrist and the fuckin jail and all that shit.

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PS: I think the song, these three things because when I was very lost and I ask God what my purpose is because I quit because when you talk to God you are very religious, when God talks to you, you are a psychopath.  So now that I have heard Gods voice. . .
 
AZ: Thank you for clearing that up (Ha! Ha!)
 
PS: But I have pretty much been instructed to say three things: One is that God will not be the man let the man be the man. That abortion is the killer of angels and I am guilty of that myself. And that peace on earth shall not come until this state of design has been converted to fuckin Christianity. And that you are going to fuckin pay for what you say and that’s your ticket to death so. . .
 
AZ: So this is Pete and not you trying to be the funny man, this is. . .
 
PS: I swear on my mother’s grave, I swear.
 
AZ:Thank you very much man. That’s truly fuckin awesome.
 
PS: That’s the only thing that I can say because if I say that I would never lie about fucking anything
 
AZ:  So you are saying that is your belief, to get in the habit, these three things?
 
TO: Plus you need a Neo city Metro card that cost $2. (Ha! Ha!) Oh I said these 4 things. (Ha! Ha!) Next stop heaven, watch the closing doors, bing! Bong! (Ha! Ha!)

AZ: How does Type O pick a single especially off this new album, I mean you can’t.

PS: That’s a very good question but. .  people think that it is watching the Wizard of Oz, you know that great Peter Steel. Pay no attention to the man behind the mic stand, you know the Oz. You know it goes through the record company, it goes through the management, it goes through the band, the band discusses it we squabble and the problem is that we have a habit of writing quit long songs and so how do you make a single out of a 14 minute fucking song?

AZ: Yeah but I think that is where you guys got your training.

PS: You make a double or a triple. That’s curtains for you see. (Ha! Ha!)

Jason: You know I have the greatest, you know I have the entire collection, not that I listen to those because I want to listen too. . .

PS: You had an erection, what did you say? (Ha! Ha!) You filthy pig!

AZ: I bet he does.

Someone eavesdropping: I want to listen to the entire version, I can’t listen to the radio edit. I have to hear. . .  but obviously you have to deal with radio and all that other. . .

PS: It’s an occupational hazard so to speak. . .

Some unknown guy talking again: It’s got to bug you though.

PS: I mean I feel that there is no really dignified way to make a lot of money, either you are exploiting yourself, someone or something. Luckily, I get to explote myself, so. .

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AZ: Over the years you’ve been involved with some bands and musicians that are very close to me as friends. You took out The Electric Hellfire Club, Thanatos, and Lycia. And as much as you liked them the audience I was told did not and that people were throwing stuff and that, and the people.

AZ: Yeah we got the hottest girls but also the most mindless fuckin jocks and they have no tolerance and throw stuff.

AZ: I’ve noticed with you it’s about loyalty and honesty and that’s what I have always appreciated, and by the way thank you after our first interview when you opened for Motley Crue in 94, when nobody would buy nobody would buy my fuckin interview and I was like I’m starting my own fuckin magazine and then it just and somehow there was a voice there and bam, it exploded.

Jason: I remember the first magazine, it had Peter on the cover. I was at the Vic Theater, Peter and Jesus.

PS: You know what is a really strange thing too, being like I’m not going to say a born again Christian but you know getting back to the faith again you know very strongly. A lot of the things that I have said in the past, I do have to say I regret and I do when I am on stage, before I perform, I do ask for forgiveness. But I like God you made a deal with me, I will make it worth your while.

AZ: That’s cool man.

PS: Because I’m just, people change. And it’s like what’s the difference between a criminal and a non-criminal? A criminal gets caught. I mean, I have gold platinum criminal records, I mean how many people can say that? I mean I get the big breaks.

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Type O Negative on CD

   

1991  Slow, Deep and Hard  Roadrunner

1992  The Origin of the Feces  Roadrunner

1993  Bloody Kisses  Roadrunner

1996  October Rust  Roadrunner

1999  World Coming Down  Roadrunner

2000 The Least Worst of Type O Negative Roadrunner

2003  Life Is Killing Me  Roadrunner

2006 The Best of Type O Negative Roadrunner

2007  Dead Again  SPV/Steamhammer

Type O on DVD

1998 After Dark Roadrunner

2006 Symphony for the Devil: The World of Type O Negative SPV/Steamhammer

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Websites: www.typeonegative.net and

www.myspace.com/typeonegative

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — alex @ 6:07 pm

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