Wednesday, April, 25 2018
Rival Entertainment Presents:
with special guest Chelsea Wolfe
ABOUT• All ages event
• General Admission (first come, first served)
• Tickets available online via Ticketmaster.com or without ticket fees in person at the Center Stage Box Office, M-F, 11-6. Online sales end at 5pm on day of show
Al “F*cking” Jourgensen, is the undisputed king of Industrial music. The Godfather of a genre he helped to create and mold into something millions of fans have grown to love throughout its 30+ years in development. You can’t say his name without thinking of heavy guitar riffs, crushing drum beats and unmistakable samples. Even his image is iconic and recognizable. You immediately think of a man in black, with top hat and flowing dreadlocks. And lets not forget his wild life and crazy antics that make Motley Crue look like school boys.
Alejandro Ramirez Casa was born in Havana Cuba in October of 1958 to Cuban - American parents. He lived there just a short time before moving with his mother to the United States to the suburbs of Chicago. She remarried a Norwegian stock car mechanic and driver named Jourgensen from which he would be immortalized under. This won’t be the last time for a name change as we have learned throughout his illustrious career of bands and new personas that seem to grow from each. He bounced back and forth between Colorado and Chicago during his early years for school before truly calling Chicago his home.
Jourgensen was a DJ and musician from an early age. Starting in college as a club DJ then in the late 70’s he and fellow industrial icon Frankie Nardiello (AKA Groovie Mann) and Harry Rushakoff formed Special Affect. This was short lived and only produced an album and 7” EP. They worked together for a couple years before separating ways. Nardiello going on to create My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, Rushakoff off to form Concrete Blonde. Jourgensen of course left to create his soon to be life long baby, Ministry. Jourgensen has helped to spawn several great groups since the beginning, these being just a couple. His influence spread like wildfire.
After Special Affect dissolved, Ministry was formed in 1981 and by 1983 they released With Sympathy. It was during this time Jourgensen was experimenting with the early synth pop sounds he has long disassociated himself from citing, “That shit was garbage and an abomination, it should have never had the Ministry moniker.” Ironically, during that first stage of Ministry, Jourgensen produced a cult classic that many consider a must have in any Neo Industrial Goth collection called, Everyday Is Halloween. But that sound was short lived and by 1985, a completely new Ministry sound was born. The “real, true Ministry” as Jourgensen puts it.
Jourgensen really came to life in the mid to late 80’s. This is where he truly found himself, his style and what he worked so hard to become. He was constantly working on honing his craft through editing, producing and mixing. He would sit up working late into the night in the Chicago Trax studios creating a Midwestern Industrial Revolution Empire. He surrounded himself with talent. A core group of musicians became his right hand band and side project counterparts including Paul Barker, Bill Rieflin, Chris Connelly, Nivek Ogre and Mike Scaccia. His passion for music isn’t just contained in one heartfelt project, but a string of them including his first real break out from Ministry as the Revolting Cocks.
1985 - 86 were milestone years for Jourgensen. This is where he established himself as a force to be reckoned with releasing two iconic and powerful releases. The newly discovered Ministry, producing the heavy dark, industrial sound, Twitch and just months later, the equally iconic sounds of the Revolting Cocks, Big Sexy Land on Wax Trax! The Spring of ‘85 even saw the birth of a daughter, who many years later, would defend at his recording studio against another up and coming Chicago artist, R. Kelly, where he smashed a suitcase against his head.
Jourgensen life really took off from there. He also produced other peoples music including Skinny Puppy’s, Rabies and other side bands came to light as well such as Lard, Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters, 1000 Homo DJ’s, PTP, Pailhead and Acid Horse to name a few. Ministry and RevCo being his constant go betweens for decades.
At this point we can ad a few more pseudo names to Jourgensen including Hypo Luxa, Alien Dog Star, Buck Satan and Uncle Al.
In the early 90’s Jourgensen and Ministry found critical and commercial success. One of which being Grammy nominated for the now legendary 1992 album, Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs. The track, N.W.O. bringing not only the Grammy nod, but the Ministry name to the mainstream.
Jourgensen continued to produce and release music through the 90’s with great success. His popularity reached far outside of Chicago and the underground “Industrial” scene. Legendary film producer Stanley Kubrick was such a fan that he had created a spot for Ministry. It was a gig to be in his upcoming movie, A.I: Artificial Intelligence. There, Ministry played a futuristic band in a disturbing new world creating another mega hit, What About Us, immortalizing the band forever on the silver screen.
Throughout the 2000’s, Jourgensen continued to produce and record music with Ministry, RevCo and Lard as well as side projects. He also moved most of the recordings in house with his own label, 13th Planet Records and relocated from Chi-town and to El Paso, TX.
From the late 2000’s to now, Jourgensen has been through some ups and downs including taking a few years off from the band that made him, to the loss of his best friend and Ministry cohort, Mike Scaccia, fighting an ugly divorce, to battling drug addiction and trying to rebuild the empire so many revealed as gospel. He even somehow found the time to write a tell all book about his life called, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According To Al Jourgensen, that held nothing back. His latest quote, “I Don’t Fucking Care” becoming a reoccurring theme in his life and art. He may not care, but you should.
To date, he’s earned the respect of his peers around the world from bands like Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and KMFDM. Jourgensen continues to influence and change in his many different incarnations. His style is and always will be deeply rooted in Industrial, but he’s not afraid to venture out and create new forms as most recently can be heard in his latest project, Surgical Meth Machine.
Now based out of LA, Uncle Al has added even more titles under his belt. At 58, he’s acting in movies, producing new music with a new project, Surgical Meth Machine and performs select shows with the band that started it all, Ministry. He still gets out to flea markets. Still gets to Blackhawks games as much as possible. He still visits the town he calls home. Still makes music that matters. Is there anything this man can’t do?
So, who is Al Jourgensen? As you have can see, there is no simple, one sentence answer. The man himself is as complex as his roots and origins, but you can be sure, he is a force to be reckoned with. A multi Gold and Platinum selling artist with the passion and drive to constantly create and entertain as well as a father, music fan, flea market attendee and avid Blackhawks fanatic. A producer, musician, author and composer that lives and breaths music. Imagine what the next thirty years is going to bring.
“What I want is to open up. I want to know what’s inside me. I want everybody to open up. I’m like an imbecile with a can opener in his hand, wondering where to begin—to open up the earth. I know that underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I’m sure of it.”
– Henry Miller
Digging beneath the mess of the world to find the beauty underneath is perhaps the most consistent theme in Chelsea Wolfe’s expansive discography—a theme that ties together her ceaseless explorations in unorthodox textures, haunting melodies, and mining the grandeur embedded within ugliness and pain. With her sixth official album Hiss Spun, Wolfe adopts Miller’s quest to become empowered by embracing the mess of the self, to control the tumult of the soul in hopes of reigning in the chaos of the world around us. “I wanted to write some sort of escapist music; songs that were just about being in your body, and getting free,” Wolfe says of the album before extrapolating on the broader scope of her new collection of songs. “You’re just bombarded with constant bad news, people getting fucked over and killed for shitty reasons or for no reason at all, and it seems like the world has been in tears for months, and then you remember it’s been fucked for a long time, it’s been fucked since the beginning. It’s overwhelming and I have to write about it.”
Hiss Spun was recorded by Kurt Ballou in Salem, Massachusetts at the tail end of winter 2017 against a backdrop of deathly quiet snow-blanketed streets and the hissing radiators of warm interiors. While past albums operated on the intimacy of stripped-down folk music (The Grime and the Glow, Unknown Rooms), or the throbbing pulse of supplemental electronics (Pain Is Beauty, Abyss), Wolfe’s latest offering wrings its exquisiteness out of a palette of groaning bass, pounding drums, and crunching distortion. It’s an album that inadvertently drew part of its aura from the cold white of the New England winter, though the flesh-and-bone of the material was culled from upheavals in Wolfe’s personal life, and coming to terms with years of vulnerability, anger, self-destruction, and dark family history. Aside from adding low-end heft with gratuitous slabs of fuzz bass, longtime collaborator Ben Chisholm contributed harrowing swaths of sound collages from sources surrounding the artist and her band in recent years—the rumble of street construction at a tour stop in Prague, the howl of a coyote outside Wolfe’s rural house in California, the scrape of machinery on the floor of a warehouse at a down-and-out friend’s workplace. Music is rendered out of dissonance—bomb blasts from the Enola Gay, the shriek of primates, the fluttering pages of a Walt Whitman book are manipulated and seamlessly integrated into the feral and forlorn songs of Hiss Spun.
The album opens with the sickening bang of “Spun”, where a lurching bottom-heavy riff provided by Chisholm and Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age, Failure) serves as a foundation to a sultry mantra of fever-dream longing and desire. The first third of Hiss Spun—whether it’s the ominous twang and cataclysmic dynamics of “16 Psyche”, the icy keyboard lines, restless pulse and harrowing bellows of Aaron Turner (Old Man Gloom, SUMAC) on “Vex”, or the patient repetition and devastating choruses of “The Culling—all carry the weight of desperation, lost love, and withdrawal. Wolfe’s introspection and existential dread turns outwards to the crumbling world around us with “Particle Flux”, an examination of the casualties of war set against an aural sea of static. White noise is a constant thread through Hiss Spun, with Wolfe finding solace in the knowledge that radio static is the sound of the universe expanding outwards from the Big Bang—a reminder that even dissonance has ties to creation. The electronic thump of “Offering” serves as an ode to the Salton Sea and the encroaching calamities stemming from climate change. The obsession with white noise and global destruction carries over into “Static Hum”, where the merciless percussive battery of Wolfe’s former bandmate and current drummer Jess Gowrie helps deliver the dire weight of a sonnet dedicated to a “burning planet.” By the time the album closes with “Scrape”, Wolfe has come full circle and turned her examinations back inward, reflecting over her own mortality with arguably the most commanding vocal performance in her entire oeuvre.
“The album is cyclical, like me and my moods,” Wolfe says of Hiss Spun. “Cycles, obsession, spinning, centrifugal force—all with gut feelings as the center of the self.” And it’s an album that Wolfe sees as a kind of exorcism. “I’m at odds with myself… I got tired of trying to disappear. The record became very personal in that way. I wanted to open up more, but also create my own reality.” Every Chelsea Wolfe album is cathartic, but never before has both the artist and her audience so desperately needed this kind of emotional purging. Sargent House is proud to release Hiss Spun to the world on September 22nd, 2017.