Interview: The Whole Shithouse Goes Up In Flames: Saying Goodbye To Ministry

(laughs) Okay, let’s talk about music for a little while.

(laughs) Oh, that stuff.

Your Cover Up stuff, what sparked the idea of doing a cover record?

Well, we’ve been railing on the Bush family for a while and really going politics and registering voters at our shows, and all this civil unrest and civil activism and all this. Finally, I just said, since I’m going out with Bush, hand-in-hand, I wanted to remind people that we’re just a kick-ass rock band. Aside from all the fist-pumping and railing and all the diatribes—you know what, we can still kick ass. We’re a bunch of old drunk fucks that can actually still play rock. And so it was a really fun thing for us to do. This whole last year of this tour—with Ministry and putting it to bed and all that—it’s kind of a celebration, and this is a celebration album. This is a party record. Let’s set aside all the diatribes, all the ideologies and let’s just have some fun. That’s why we did that.

Did you have any trouble with licensing or anything like that, songs you couldn’t do?

It’s pretty tough, like I said, how much is enough? Does Deep Purple really need more money for their castle upkeep? (laughs) It gets a bit dicey at times, because the whole record industry and the publishing industry is completely freaked out because they’ve mismanaged it to the point that they might as well have made Don Knotts from Mayberry the head of the recording industry. Because that’s basically what they’ve become, a bunch of paranoid, weirdo, one-bullet-left-in-the-gun fuckers that are just incompetent.

So then they get very protective, and when they seize a chance to get any money, they really freak out about it and all that. In general, yeah, we got all our licensing done, we dotted all our fucking I’s, crossed all our T’s. It’s not the bands’ fault, none of the bands own their own publishing anymore, they’ve all sold it out to megacorporations, so you’re dealing with bean counters. It’s not like the band is mad that you’re doing their song or whatever. The band loves it. The beancounters are in control.

Well, you could make the same case for the record industry as you could the oil industry or anything else.

Same thing. It’s a big giant cash grab at the end of an era.

The era is only about 100 years old, recorded music.

That shows the amount of greed that has gone on over the last hundred years. If you can go through an entire era in a hundred years (laughs), you know, that means that you’ve pretty much tapped out everyone with your greed.

Does this make the fact that I have the 1,000 Homo DJs EP not cool anymore, because you’ve got ‘Supernaut’ on here?

Yeah, but you’ve got ‘Hey Asshole’ on the back with Jello Biafra, so there you go. Jello’s worth the amount of money just in himself. There’s always room for Jello.

Speaking of, Ministry’s getting hung up, you mentioned doing something again with Lard [a Jourgensen side project with Biafra]?

I’m doing a ton of stuff dude. I’m literally busier than I’ve ever been in my life with this label, because I’m basically producing all the bands. There’s kind of like a 13th Planet Jourgensen sound going to all the bands that are on this label, be it Prong or Watchers or False Icons, the Cocks obviously.

It’s really taking up a lot of my time, but what takes up most of my time is doing this kind of press crap with you knuckleheads. (laughs) All this press for Ministry, and the big tour, this and that. By the time I look up, it’s a year and a half out of my fucking life, to be doing this crap, you know. I’d rather do six, seven, eight albums a year in our studio, with our label, working with other young people—which gets you reinvigorated, so you don’t get old and tired—and that’s a much better way for me to ride off into the sunset than beating Ministry to death.

It does seem kind of strange that you’re stopping at what’s got to be your most prolific period.

I was just talking to Angie, my wife, about that today. Everything I’ve done in my career has been completely bassackwards. I start out—I immediately sell out. (laughs) I just got that out of the way. Most people are like starving artists that work 18 years and then sell out to make money. I just sold out right away. I sold out before I started.

Now, I’m starting up a label when the entire record industry is falling apart. And yet, our label is doing phenomenal. Because we’re doing it right, we’re interactive with the kids, we understand about the downloading. We want to help them out, we want to make it cheaper. There’s not the excesses of the ’80s and ’90s—which I was a part of that too. So everything I’ve done has been assbackwards. And now, at the end of my career when I’m doing my most prolific and best shit. It kind of seems typical of my M.O.