Music: Monsters of Cock

Modern Rock legend Al Jourgensen takes both of his bands on the road together

 
Robert Padilla


Though Ministry is considered Al Jourgensen's "main" band, for their current road trek, Jourgensen is bringing his manic "side project," Revolting Cocks.



When you observe the liner photo of Al "Alien" Jourgensen on Cocked and Loaded, the new CD from Revolting Cocks, the first word that comes to your mind is not "workaholic." Rather, you're inclined to think of terms such as "serial murderer" or perhaps "alley-skulking-biker-rapist," what with his wiry thick black hair, double-wide snout, oversized bug-eye sunglasses, thinly carved moustache and three tightly wound spines of black hair pointing downward from his chin like the goat of Lucifer.

But in the last four years since he stopped shooting heroin, Jourgensen has founded and operated his own record company and cut five albums from that label (13th Planet Records), including two new releases from his own bands, Ministry and Revolting Cocks.

The Ministry album, called Rio Grand Blood, is outrageous. I've always been a moderate fan of Ministry, but this record is a beautiful abomination. It's as deconstructionist and relevant as ever, and it has a higher sense of contempt for the state of the world than previous albums. Plus it just plain rocks.

As for the accompanying Revolting Cocks' disc, Cocked and Loaded, all I have to say is, "Where you been all my life, bitches?" I played this disc for three days straight, and I'm listening to it now. My brain is swimming in its hardcore disease.

But it's how these two albums work together that puts them on the next level. They're both fun, hard, filthy, childish and nauseating. Neither is meant for mainstream consumption. Both make you want to snort amphetamines and bang your head against a brick amplifier. Both have Jello Biafra splattered all over them. And both were written, produced and conceived by Alien Jourgensen.

"I'm pretty stoked about these albums," Jourgensen says on the phone from "Hell Paso," Texas (his words), where the bands are rehearsing for their tour. "The Cocks' record was a lot of fun to make. But the Ministry was spot on. As I like to say, 'Ministry is my rifle, and Cocks are for fun.'

"The entire Ministry album was written in three and a half weeks, which for me is a land-based speed record. It was just me, Paul Raven (Killing Joke) and Tommy Victor (Prong). We turned our amps up to 11 in the garage and let it fly. The Rev/Co record took longer, but we had a lot of interesting new Cocks thrown into the mix."

The new guys Jourgensen speaks of are interesting, to say the least. Joining Biafra is Gibby Haynes from Butthole Surfers and longtime Ministry associate, drummer Mark Baker. But there are also some kooky cats you wouldn't expect on the Punk-Techno-brain-blast that is the Revolting Cocks, such as Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick. Also on the record is the silhouette of Iggy Pop, as it contains the song "Fire Engine," which Jourgensen wrote with the most infamous Stooge.

"We offered him to come down and sing it for us, but his best friend and longtime manager died that week and we had to keep on schedule to get both these releases out, so we had to go for it ourselves," Jourgensen says of the collaboration with Pop. "Iggy and I actually wrote that song 20 years ago. ... I came across it as I was perusing through my tape library trying to get organized and thought, 'Wow, this is good stuff. Why didn't we ever release this?' "

Biafra, incidentally, is not only an accredited Revolting Cocks member on the Cocked and Loaded disc but also appears as a guest vocalist on the Ministry album.

"Jello's the Alpha dog in the larger sense, but whenever we work on Revolting Cocks or Ministry he acquiesces and lets me run the show," Jourgensen says. "It's a great working relationship. ... We spend our Christmases together. We always stay in touch."

Asked how he decides which guests to invite to be on a Revolting Cocks record, Jourgensen says, "It's really just friends that have crossed paths over the years. And, you know, everyone wants to be a Cock some day!

"Billy Gibbons and I have known each other for 15 years. We've been talking about doing this forever, and it finally actually worked out. With Rick (Nielsen), he just came up on stage with us to do a song during our last Ministry tour. (Afterwards) we started talking about working together. The planets just seemed to line up this year. All the people I've wanted to work with for a long time all of a sudden had actual schedule breaks."

Jourgensen has taken Ministry and Revolting Cocks on the road together on this current touring trek. Writing, producing, recording, mixing and touring two albums nearly simultaneously is a Herculean task that takes a guy with Satan's bleater on his chin to pull off.

"There's just no way you can prepare for something like that," Jourgensen says. "There's only a certain amount of hours in the day. But so far we seem to be right on schedule with everything as far as rehearsals and sounding good and getting schedules together.

"But yeah, it's a lot of work and it's a lot of fun. There will be guest appearances regionally by all the people that have played on the album."



MINISTRY AND REVOLTING COCKS play Bogart's Wednesday.

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