Al Jourgensen discusses Ministry’s farewell tour
Mayor of the underground
Considering veteran industrial outfit Ministry’s 2007 release The Last Sucker (reportedly the band’s farewell album) was the bookend to an anti-Bush trilogy, a hockey-arena anthem is certainly a huge departure. But that’s exactly what the band’s founder and frontman (and rabid Chicago Blackhawks fan) Al Jourgensen delivered. The new United Center staple “Keys to the City,” a chugging tribute to his favorite squad, sees the Arlington Heights–raised Jourgensen name-checking legendary Blackhawks players and—showing he hasn’t lost sight of his heavy-metal roots—coupling “NHL” with “raise hell.”
Time Out Chicago: How do you reconcile being a rocker and a sports fanatic?
Al Jourgensen: I always wanted to be into sports, and then I tore my knee up. I was a baseball player, actually. After I tore up my knee and was not able to play, I grew my hair out and realized you got laid more with longer hair than you did by being a sports guy. And the chicks were kinkier, too. I never went back to sports after I tore my knee up, and I started doing bands.
TOC: How did you get into the Blackhawks?
Al Jourgensen: In ’65 I went to my first game with my dad at the old Chicago Stadium. We had 300-level nosebleed seats. That’s when they had Mikita and Hull—a crazy good team. Then I met Danny Wirtz, former-owner Bill Wirtz’s son, backstage at the Vic at one of our shows. Bill Wirtz was a great guy, but he didn’t like the longhairs hanging out in his private lounge. I actually nearly killed his wife’s poodle.
TOC: You have to explain the poodle thing.
Al Jourgensen: He brought me in to meet old man Wirtz, which was really intimidating. His wife was in his office, too, with a poodle on her lap. They stared at me like I was from fucking Mars. The little yappity dog came up to me barking. It looked like the end of a mop. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to smoke in there, so I bent down to pet the thing like, ‘Nice doggy,’ and the cherry fell off my cigarette onto the dog. The poodle went running back and onto old lady Wirtz’s lap. The thing was fucking smoking. Immediately, I was like, “It was a pleasure to meet you. I gotta go.”
Ministry’s farewell tour hits the House of Blues May 8–10.