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Ministry's Al Jourgensen Says Upcoming NYE Show Is 'All About Chicago'

By Casey Moffitt in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 22, 2015 7:07PM

Photo via Alien Jourgensen's Facebook page

Industrial metal trailblazer Al Jourgensen is bringing his gang of musicians in the current lineup of Ministry for a raging New Year's Eve party at Concord Music Hall this year. We caught up with Jourgensen to talk about the upcoming show, his new attitude on performing and what the new year will bring.

"Usually I don't do anything on New Year's Eve," Jourgensen said. "I stay in, shut the door and shutter the windows. New Year's Eve is amateur night and professional drunk like me doesn't need anything to do with it. The last time I even played a show on New Year's Eve was back in 1989."

Of course, that show at Riviera was documented as the In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up concert video.

Jourgensen said he's looking forward to the New Year's Eve performance this year and might actually enjoy it himself. For years, Jourgensen wasn't shy about his distain for touring or his anguish about performing. He says his attitude has changed and can find "fun moments" during a performance.

"I used to hate it," he said. "I was in really bad health for about five or six years, and that was five or six world tours while I wasn't well. I was bleeding out of every orifice every night and I didn't know why. I felt like crap every single night and it was chore to get me up on that stage."

"I kept saying that I was going to quit Ministry and quit touring," he continued. "And I was serious. It wasn't some marketing gimmick or anything. I physically couldn't do it anymore."

Since Jourgensen has kicked his notorious drug habits, he said he's "feeling spry and chipper," allowing him to get back on the road and embark on a three-month tour last spring taking Ministry to four continents.

"I haven't done drugs in 12 years, and you can ask anybody who knows me. They'll tell you it's true," Jourgensen said. "I'll still enjoy a bottle of wine. But that's the big thing that changed (while touring). I'm no longer on dealer standard time. That's what I used to call it —DST—the time you're waiting for a dealer to bring you your junk."

"But I have no use for it now," he continued. "Its a horrible lifestyle and it's not a winning proposition. It hasn't been a winning proposition for anyone that I know of."

During last spring's tour, the setlist featured a lot of material from Ministry's latest studio effort, From Beer to Eternity. But the New Year's Eve set is going to be a lot different, as Jourgensen has taken a trip in the way-back machine and dusted off classics from The Land of Rape and Honey, The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste and Psalm 69 for the upcoming show.

"Those songs from Rape and Honey, we haven't played in 20 years. And the songs from Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste, we haven't played in 15 years," he said. "We want to make [this show] all about Chicago. We to want have a fun night. With all the shit going on in the city right now, we want to have a fun night where people can forget about it for a little while."

"And it's the birthplace of those songs," Jourgensen continued. "It's going to be our nostalgia night. We're going back to our roots."

"When you're on tour with a new album, you want to play to play those songs. They're important to you and they're important to the band," he said. "But we're not on tour right now, so there's no restrictions for this show."

Jourgensen said the band also is contemplating adding a song that the band never has performed live.

"I wrote a song for the Blackhawks called 'Keys to the City,'" he said. "We've never played it live before. We'll do it during soundcheck and if it sounds good we'll do it live ... and with some special guests."

Jourgensen said the set also will contain songs from later albums, including From Beer to Eternity. The songs on that album aren't as visceral as some of Ministry's earlier material, as they tend explore a few new musical directions.

"Well, I got my medical marijuana card and those songs are bit more etherial or spacey," Jourgensen explained. "That's what you do when you move to California—you get your medical marijuana card. Now, I'm sorry, but I don't consider marijuana a drug."

"I never smoked pot until I got my card," he continued. "If I had done it earlier I probably would have stuck with it and not done all that other stuff. It's relaxing. It's like the Mad Men days of the two martini lunch and a scotch at night. You know, you just spark up a fatty at the end of the night."

The New Year's Eve show is going to be a nice way to cap off a busy year, Jourgensen said, and 2016 promises to be just as busy. Ministry will tour Europe in the summer, and Jourgensen is planning to release a couple of new albums. A new project, Surgical Meth Machine, is scheduled to be released in eight weeks. Jourgensen calls it "very Ministry at it's core," and the album features him playing all the guitar and bass tracks as well as vocals. He also said a new Lard album is in the works and could be ready next year. And in May, the band will be hosting "Ministry Boot Camp" for two days in Las Vegas. Campers will be able to participate in drum clinics and guitar clinics hosted by members of the band. They'll stay at the same hotel as the band, and it will end with a private Ministry show.

"There's going to be packages available where people can actually play with the band on stage," Jourgensen said. "You can play guitar or sing a song or shake a tambourine if you want. It's going to be like a Ministry fantasy camp."

Ministry performs at Concord Music Hall (2047 N. Milwaukee Ave.) at 7 p.m. Dec. 31. Tickets $52.50 or four packs of tickets for $160. 17 and older.