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Ministry - So Long, Suckers!


Interview by Dr. Mality


NOTE: After the interview was conducted, we got the tragic news about the death of Ministry member and industrial godfather Paul Raven. This interview is dedicated to his memory...Dr. Abner Mality

The end is nigh! Ministry has said so, and lo, it shall come to pass. These are the last days of the republic and also the last days of Ministry. Both shall end together. As George W. Bush slinks back to Kennebunkport (not Crawford, Texas, the phony farm he uses as a backdrop), Ministry, the industrial thrash machine created by his arch-nemesis Al Jourgenson will explode like a Chinese firecracker factory hit by napalm. There's no other way to go out except with brain-bursting volume, screams of defiance and a party all around.

"The Last Sucker" is the real final taste of Ministry we'll get on disc, although there is a collection of "Ministry-enhanced" covers in the works. The band is going to take it out on the road one more time and indications are that the last ever show in Chicago will leave a city of smoking rubble in its wake.

Mr. Sin Quirin, a vital cog in the machinery that is Ministry, was kind enough to take time out of preparations for the blow-out to share with me his musings on the legacy of Ministry, what U.S. troops have to say about the band and much more...


WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: How did you come to be involved with Ministry and what was your prior musical experience?

SIN QUIRIN: Prior to Ministry, I got asked to be the touring guitarist for the Revolting Cocks last year.That came about because we had a mutual booking agent, my previous band and Ministry. He put me in contact with Al(Jourgenson, Ministry/RevCo mastermind) and asked me to go on the road with RevCo. That was last year. When Ministry went to Europe last year, Al asked if I was interested in writing some songs for the new Ministry album. I started doing that and when they got back from Europe, he asked if I actually wanted to join Ministry and the rest is history.

WC: You'd write song ideas and submit them to Al for him to work on?

SQ: Basically, while we were in Europe, I started writing and when they got back from Europe sometime in October, we went down to the studio in El Paso and just dove right in. I showed him my material and we started working on it right away.

WC: "The Last Sucker" is the last Ministry album.

SQ: Correct.

WC: When did it sink in to you that this was it, because a lot of times, a band will say that this is our last album and it turns out not to be?

SQ: For me, it sank in right when we started working on the album last October and November. Just from talking with Al, he expressed that this was indeed gonna be the last record. It was very bittersweet for me because I grew up listening to Ministry. Ministry was one of my favorite bands and one that influenced my style of writing. To be a part of the last record, it was very bittersweet, but I'm very proud to be given the chance to be a part of the last Ministry "statement", if you will.

WC: When the last recording sessions wrapped up, was the mood sad, did you have a big party?

SQ: You know what? To be honest with you, we were all just extremely proud. We weren't really sad. It was more of a proud feeling and a sense of great accomplishment. We really feel that we made a good album here. There was no sadness. We didn't have a big party or anything. I think we're saving that for the actual release of the record here on Tuesday.

WC: The songs on this album seemed to reach into the past a bit more. There were some tunes that reminded me of stuff as far back as "A Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Taste". What track on the album speaks to you the most?

SQ: This is really tough because Al and I always talk about it and our favorite tracks seem to change from week to week because we love the album so much. Right now, the tracks that really stick out for me and are personal favorites are "Let's Go", "Life Is Good" and "No Glory".

WC: The song that struck me the most, because it had such a different sound than the rest, was "Die In a Crash". That's as close as you can get to a straight up punk tune.

SQ: Absolutely.


WC: Ministry has the reputation of being very politically outspoken. I'm sure the band is in general agreement with each other, but are you guys in lockstep with Al's views on everything?

SQ: For the most part. I can't speak for everybody in the band. As far as I'm concerned, I'm pretty much in agreement with Al. Obviously he's the lyricist and the guy who's very vocal. I'm more concerned with the musical aspect and let Al do the talking. To answer your question, I'm pretty much in agreement with him and so is the rest of the band.

WC: You have songs that are critical of the military. Do you get negative or positive feedback on that from soldiers in the field?

SQ: Positive.

WC: They say that you guys have got things right?

SQ: Yes. All the feedback that I've gotten back personally have been positive. We actually do get stuff from the military and it's all positive.

WC: Most of your barbs are aimed at the military brass and the military complex and not the average guy out in the field. The feedback you are getting is without a lot of propaganda.

SQ: Exactly.

WC: Are things worse than the mainstream media says, are they better or does the media get it about right?

SQ: For the most part, the soldiers think we are nailing it. There are some who say it's even worse than you guys think, but on the whole, they say we've pretty much nailed it.

WC: That's got to be very gratifying to hear that.

SQ: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Me personally, I have nothing but complete support for our military...all the troops. It's not about us being anti-military or anti-troops. What we're against is the falseness and the mask that's put over why we're sending our troops to do certain things. That's where our beef is. It has nothing to do with being against the troops, we have nothing but support for them.

WC: The song "Life Is Good" pulls no punches. It's pretty harsh. Do you hear anything from soldiers about that song specifically?

SQ: That song came about because of a conversation Al had with a soldier. It's the soldier's account of things over in the Middle East.

WC: I was reminded of an obscure movie from the mid-80's called "Combat Shock". A guy goes through hell in Vietnam, comes back to the States and his neighborhood is worse than what he faced in Vietnam. The song sounded very realistic.

SQ: Absolutely.

WC: Another topical song on the CD is "Watch Yourself". It's about government surveillance. Because of Ministry's outspoken views, do you feel you are getting watched closely by the government?

SQ: Really. Al's been audited a ridiculous amount of times, his phone's been tapped, all kinds of crazy shit, you know. That's first hand experience in those lyrics, we know what that's like.

WC: Is that Al's voice that you hear saying "hello" on that song?

SQ: No, that's not who it is.

WC: They say they track emails that go out of the country...

SQ" Oh yeah, yeah. We have problems with all sorts of communications!

WC: I correspond with a few bands in the Middle East by email. I'd be surprised if some sort of red flag doesn't go up on those.

SQ: Absolutely it does!

WC: Well, I wish them a lot of happy hours going through all my correspondence.(laughter) The two part song "The End of Days" seems to be the thoughts of somebody who has given up on everything and is sitting back and enjoying the collapse of society. Do you personally or the band as a whole think the situation is that hopeless?

SQ: You know, at times, it does look very bleak. I don't want to say it's completely hopeless. Speaking for myself, I don't try to be COMPLETELY negative. But I'm very realistic about things. At times, yeah, you look at things and go yeah, things are pretty bad, but there's other times where you think there is a light at the end of that tunnel. So it depends. Sometimes, it does feel pretty hopeless, though.

WC: Where I live, I get the feeling that the whole world is being turned into a giant strip mall.

SQ: Oh yeah!

WC: It's nice to get away once in a while out to the country where it's not being destroyed. That kind of revives me.


SQ: Absolutely! It gives you a little hope!

WC: Lots of crappy housing developments where I am...

SQ: It's all so homogenized. I mean, Jesus Christ!

WC: What's it like working with acknowledged geniuses of the music scene like Al Jourgenson and Paul Raven?

SQ: First and foremost, it's a complete honor and I'm thankful and grateful every day that I've been given this opportunity. It's been great working with them. Al is one of those guys who has completely influenced my writing, my playing, my entire career. To be in the studio with him and for him to be so fuckin' cool and so easy to get along with and so receptive to my ideas...asking for my opinion and my advice...to me, that's the coolest thing ever! It's been nothing but a blessing. The same thing goes for Paul Raven. I've known Raven for quite a few years now and it's an ideal situation, it's a dream come true working with these guys.

WC: I have a hard time trying to figure out what industrial-oriented band Paul Raven HASN"T played in.

SQ: (laughter) Right!

WC: What have you guys got up your sleeve as far as touring plans go, because I'm sure it's going to be a massive blowout?

SQ: Yeah, it is. The tour dates will be released the end of this month, but I believe the tour starts March 25, 2008 in Vancouver, Canada. We're going to do about 7, 8 weeks in the States and then we head over to Europe for about 8 weeks.

WC: Any idea of who would be going out with you?

SQ: I don't know yet. The opener is still being negotiated right now. Nothing's set in concrete in the moment.

WC: Now that Ministry is nearing the end, describe the Ministry legacy if you could.

SQ: To me, Ministry is one of those bands and one of those institutions that is going to leave a mark for many, many years. They're going to look back generations from now and ask "where did this kind of music come from, who started this scene" and I think all the fingers are gonna point at Ministry. That's a very, very cool thing to be a part of. I'm blessed I was given this chance. I'm very proud of what we've done, very proud of the band. Even as just a fan, I'm completely psyched about this new album and every album that Ministry has done. It's been a complete joy. I think years from now, the band will get even more credit than it does now.

WC: When the tour finally wraps up and the last album is done, what's ahead for you post-Ministry?

SQ: What I'm working on right now at the moment is the new Revolting Cocks album. What's going to go down is "The Last Sucker" comes out Tuesday (Sept. 18, 2007), the Ministry cover album, which is gonna be called "Cover Up", will be out next year around April or May. Once we finish the new RevCo album, we'll start on the Revolting Cocks cover album. After the last Ministry tour ends next year, I'll be out on the road with the Revolting Cocks in October/November of 2008.

WC: There's no expiration date on Revolting Cocks, right?

SQ: Wellllll, I believe this will be it for Revolting Cocks as well. Don't quote me on that, I'm not 100% sure, but I've overheard that this might be it for Revolting Cocks. I'm also going to be working on my own project, which hopefully will be released on 13th Planet Records with Al producing it.

WC: Is there a name for the project?

SQ: Don't have a name for it yet. I'm just getting the material together.

WC: What was the last CD you picked up just because you wanted to hear it?

SQ: (chuckles) You're gonna love this. The Ohio Players!

WC: I kinda got a soft spot for them myself!

SQ: I love the Ohio Players.

WC: They're funk, as opposed to disco.


SQ: Correct. One thing that not a lot of people know about me is that I love 70's funk. Even some disco! I picked it up about a week ago.

WC: Along the same line, what was the last gig you caught just because you wanted to check it out?

SQ: Let me see, what was the last gig? Actually, I was in L.A. and I saw a band called The Dreaming. A very good friend of mine named Chris Hall, who was the leader singer for a band called Stabbing Westward...

WC: Oh yeah, they actually had a fair amount of succes.

SQ: Absolutely. They were one of my favorite bands and he's in this new band The Dreaming that I checked out last week.

WC: Is there one Spinal Tap moment from your career that you'd like to share with us?

SQ: Wow, there's so many! I think there's a Spinal Tap moment that happens on every tour for every band at every level. I remember one time...this was in a band I was in previous to Ministry and Revolting Cocks...I got locked in our dressing room bathroom and I had to be on stage because our set had just started. (laughter)

WC: How did you handle that?

SQ: Well, I did a lot of pounding on the door and a lot of kicking on the door. Eventually, one of the security guards heard me and let me out. I just ran to the stage.

WC: That was one of the better ones I've heard in a while.

SQ: (chuckles) Yeah, that was not funny at the time, but funny after.



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