Sin Quirin is an industrial metal guitarist for Ministry as well as Revolting Cocks and The Great AmeriCon. A few months ago, Ministry released From Beers To Eternity, dubbed the swansong of Ministry due to the passing of Ministry and Rigor Mortis guitarist Mike Scaccia.
The Aquarian recently spoke with Quirin about From Beers To Eternity, touring, William S. Burroughs and more. The transcription is below:
Can you speak about the day the song “Side FX Include Mikey’s Middle Finger” was recorded?
I remember Mikey kicking around the riff for a few days as we were in the studio. I remember him building the song and noodling around in the studio until he was happy with the riff he wanted to use. I think he was in there for a couple of days doing that track. I peeked my head in while he was doing that one. I was just blown away by what he was coming up with.
What would you say is the standout track of the album?
For me that is a tough question. I know it is the typical thing to say there are a few tracks that stick out for me for different reasons. “Hail To His Majesty” is the first one that sticks out because to me that is the defining moment that we fell into the direction of the record. I had written that riff for that song and had just recorded a demo version of it in the studio. It was basically like the riff you hear on the record now with all the guitar parts and everything minus all the electronics and all sort of weirdness with it.
It started out just like this “Filth Pig” idea. One day, long story short, Al [Jourgensen, vocalist] came in and deep-sixed everything and started from scratch. Him and Sammy [D’Ambruoso, engineer] started working on an electronic part of it. That’s how we came up with the final song that you hear on the record. So that one sticks out. Mikey was still there, I had the basic skeleton of that song done, Mikey and Al came in and we sort of just finished from there.
How difficult was it to work on the “Fairly Unbalanced” song about Fox News?
Not difficult at all (laughs). I had that riff, or, actually, I think I wrote it there. A few of them I had a general idea for before I went in to record. “Fairly Unbalanced” I wrote right there when I was in the studio.
The way it works is I will come up with the riff. Whoever is writing the music part will come up with that. Al always does all the vocals and all that stuff. For me it was fairly easy. It wasn’t too difficult to do that song.
On “Change Of Luck,” some of the instruments used on it made me think you were trying to channel Brian Jones, or were listening to some of the Goats Head Soup album from the Rolling Stones. Can you paint the picture on how this song came to fruition?
(Laughs) Basically, what I had… When you first listen to that song, the very first thing you hear is that percussion drum thing going on. That’s how I started the song. When the original song idea came to me, it was a very percussive idea. So I had that recorded and I had the bassline recorded, which is a little different than the bassline that ended up on the record. I was just starting to work on it when I wrote the chorus riff on that there in the studio. I did the solo in the studio as well as all the rhythm stuff. That sitar sound that Mikey did that we added to it. That was basically it. It was a cool experience and we were all there. That’s pretty much how that song came to fruition.
I just mentioned that since it made me think of “Can You Hear The Music?”
It’s funny you did mention Brian Jones and the Stones. We are all huge Stones fans. I can’t say we actually thought of the Stones when we did it. I think subconsciously it was something we heard.
You performed for a million people in Poland with Ministry last year. What was going through your mind right before the show and right afterwards?
It was hard to believe. To be honest, we were backstage doing some interviews. When we drove into the place, we knew there was a lot of people there. We didn’t know exactly how many were there.
I remember being toward the stage that day and it finally starting to hit me that there was an enormous amount of people there. I still didn’t know the exact head count. The ultimate high, the ultimate rush, and it felt amazing being up there. I am the most comfortable with that type of crowd.
What types of things have you learned about being interviewed from running your radio show with Metal Sanaz?
How difficult it is. My hat goes off to people who do interviews. I am very comfortable and familiar with being the guy in the band being interviewed. You have to prepare, you have to do your due diligence, you have to do some research when you have guests like that. I have learned to do all of those things.
For you specifically, can you explain the process you go through on how your compositions evolve as an idea in your head to being able to record them on an album?
It’s a different process every time. Inspiration can come from a number of things. I wish there was a set formula that I could follow or was available. There is no such thing, at least not for me.
I can give you how it usually goes for me. I have a small studio setup at home. Say I will have a riff in my head. I will start working on it. I will record the guitars, the bass. I will program some drums and do the keyboards as well on there. I basically get a skeleton of the song going. Then I try to construct it, depending upon the project I am working on to best fit what it is for. That is usually how it goes for me.
Once I get into the studio, we obviously re-record everything and we have the right tone as well as all that technical stuff. Then I pass it over to the vocalist, whoever is doing that. That’s basically how the writing process goes for me.
A poem by William S. Burroughs is read aloud during the song “Thanx But No Thanx.” From hanging out with Al and Mikey, what was your favorite William S. Burroughs story you heard from them throughout the years?
I don’t know if there is a specific story that I would hear. What I would hear was how much they really dug William. They also spoke of him in a very positive light and in a very influential way. There wasn’t any real story I heard from them otherwise how much they dug him.
Any final words?
I am grateful that people seem to be digging this new album. I knew it was going to be a good one when I was writing it. When I got the call from Al… I don’t know if you heard how this came about.
After we did the tour, we were home for a few months. Mikey and I got a call from Al saying that he wanted to do a new record. Mikey and I would talk on the phone quite a bit on the phone before we went out there to record. I remember asking Al what direction does he want to go in. He said he wanted to see what ideas we had.
When I got out there, a little bit before Mikey, Al had a song idea for “Thanks But No Thanx” pretty much in a demo form. So when I got out there, what direction are we going in? He pretty much left it up to what we had as far as ideas.
I think the first thing that I recorded was “Punch In The Face.” That song I had written while I was in L.A. and he loved it. I told him I had some slower ideas; he was very open to that. I think the second idea was “Hail To His Majesty.” It just went like that.
I knew we had something special. Mikey got out there. I started coming up with ideas. That is how we came up with “PermaWar.” It was a killer experience. Probably the best studio experience I ever had. I’m glad people are starting to really catch on to this record. I was glad we were able to pull it off. I’m happy that Mikey is all over it.
From Beers To Eternity is available now through 13th Planet. For more information, go to thirteenthplanet.com/ministry.