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Al Jourgensen Talks Politics with IN
By Sharon Maher
The following interview was quoted extensively in the State of the Industry column from issue #20. It has been reproduced here in its entirety for our readers.
IN: How did you get involved with the whole Urban Outfitters debacle?
Al Jourgensen: Well, I've been involved with Punkvoter.com for about a year now. They're a political action group whose main goal is to sign up 500,000 people this summer to vote. To get out the youth vote. They monitor a lot of what's happening in the political scene and Scott Goodstein [of Punkvoter.com] and I exchange information on things we hear. He wrote to me about this thing [regarding Urban Outfitters] and it was right up Ministry's alley. Everything Ministry has railed against for the past twenty years is hypocrisy and apathy. Those are my two biggest rants. This story reeked of both of them. So I just kind of jumped on it and the shit seemed to hit the fan.
IN: It was pretty amazing. You were on National Public Radio and everything.
Jourgensen: Yeah, it was pretty weird. I just wrote that letter to [Richard Hayne – founder and President of Urban Outfitters]. I don't even know who it got out to all these news services. The point was just to call somebody's bluff. They're selling t-shirts that say "Voting is for Old People," which is great for somebody who contributes $13,000 to Rick Santorum's campaign – he's a Neolithic right wing senator from Pennsylvania – plus another $70,000 over the years to the Republican Party. Of course they don't' want young people to vote. Yet, in Forbes magazine he was quoted in saying, two weeks earlier, "oh, we don't have a political agenda." So the whole thing was pretty hypocritical and I just wanted to point that out to him.
IN: This is the first time it seems that Ministry's had a definitive call to action amongst its listeners…
Jourgensen: I don't know about that. I think we had some pretty political views when the first Bush was in office. It seems just like Ministry crawls out of the woodwork when there's a Bush in the White House. So what we got to do is get this one out and then have Jeb [Bush, the present Governor of Florida] run for president and then Ministry will write another great record.
IN: Yeah, really!
Jourgensen: Our career goes down the toilet whenever there's a Democrat in the office! But, believe me, that is okay. As long as we can get rid of this evil oligarchy that's running things.
IN: If you had one thing you could say to the kids out there reading this, what would it be?
Jourgensen: Your vote counts. Believe me. If you think about how this last election was stolen. If an extra 50,000 people in a 300 million person county had voted, especially from the youth vote… which you've got your whole life ahead of you, man. You need to dictate your own life's policies. It's very important that kids vote. We are the biggest demographic! We're also the most exploited. Apathy pays for a certain few. Apathy doesn't pay for your own individual freedoms and your own life but it does serve the interest and the agenda of a certain few. And those are the people that are in power.
IN: What would you say to kids that apathetic, who really don't think their vote matters?
Jourgensen: Fifteen minutes of your time and it could change the entire future. For fifteen minutes. You know?
IN: A lot of kids say, "Oh, politicians are so corrupt…"
Jourgensen: Right, but how do you weed out the corrupt politicians if you don't use your voice? They will continue to be corrupt. There are checks and balances in life and people would watch their shit – all the politicians would watch their shit – a lot more if they knew people would exercise the right to vote. They wouldn't fuck us around.
IN: So when are we going to see the Ministry t-shirt that says "Voting is for Young People?"
Jourgensen: [laughs] Well, you know, that's what I wrote to Mr. Haynes. In an ideal world I'd love to see his t-shirt just fucking burn, and his ass kicked, but it's a free country. Sell whatever the hell you want. I just find it interesting that he doesn't sell a "Voting Matters" t-shirt. With his supposed non-political agenda trying to keep the youth vote down. While making money off them. Talk about the ultimate hypocrisy. But, to answer your question, we're going to have voting registration at all of our shows this summer. I plan on personally signing up 200,000 myself on this tour that Ministry and Revolting Cocks is doing this summer. And, we've worked it out with Punkvoter.com that there will be a voting registration booth at every one of our shows. So that's even a little bit better than a t-shirt. That's a little more proactive.
IN: So now you've got to get them to the polls once they've registered.
Jourgensen: Well, let's get them to the show first and then I'll give all the kids a little lecture and make sure that they do their civic duty and the duty to themselves.
IN: That's all the questions I had prepared for you. I didn't want to take up too much of your time. Anything else to share?
Jourgensen: Watch out for the new Ministry album. It kicks ass! According to everyone that's heard it so far – we just got done with it three days ago – it's the best record I've done ever. It rocks pretty hard and it's very, very political. The first thing that's coming out is a song called "No W." N-O-W, because, if you remember, we had "N.W.O." Now we have "No W." Punkvoter.com is coming out with a sampler album of a lot of bands – Bad Religion, Green Day – and Ministry's is the only brand-new cut on there. The [new] record [The Houses of Mole] will not be released until June but on this sampler album that is coming out in April it has "No W." An alternate version that's different than the album version. But still. So that's the first taste of it. And it's rowdy, believe me.
IN: And when does the tour start?
Jourgensen: The tour starts in late July.
IN: That's actually around the time that the magazine will street, so that will be a good combo.
Jourgensen: Oh, good.
IN: And that's Ministry with Revolting Cocks?
Jourgensen: For sure, yeah. We're opening for ourselves.
IN: That sounds like it's going to be a lot of work!
Jourgensen: It's a lot of work but it's worth it, and it will be a lot of fun. Hey, every day about ground is a good day. Remember that!
IN: Thanks so much. I'm really glad we made this work…
Jourgensen: You ought to put a little red, white, and blue top hat on top of a picture of me and put "Uncle Al wants YOU to vote!"
IN: Serious? We have your permission?
IN: That'll be the name of my column, then.
Jourgensen: "Uncle Al wants YOU to vote?"
Jourgensen: Perfect, man. Awesome!
IN: We look forward to seeing you when you come out to San Francisco.
Jourgensen: Oh, we'll be there without a doubt. Thanks!View the Old News
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