Al Jourgensen Talks ‘The Devil’s Chord’ Comic Series, Fighting Cyborg Raccoons + More
Al Jourgensen has been working on a multitude of projects since Ministry said goodbye with their latest (and apparently last) album ‘From Beer to Eternity.’ Al isn’t the type of guy just to sit back and let the clouds drift by. Nope! In fact, Jourgensen has become a super hero for his upcoming comic book series, ‘Ministry: The Devils’ Chord – The Chronicles of Alien F. Jourgensen.’
In addition to an interview with dark artist and ‘Devil’s Chord’ contributor Sam Shearon (which we’ll be posting shortly), we spoke with Jourgensen to learn more about the 13-part series of graphic novels. Uncle Al told us all about the project’s writing process, fighting off rabid cyborg raccoons, bringing friends such as Mike Scaccia and William Burroughs back from the dead + much more.
Find out more about ‘The Devil’s Chord’ and even some gems on ‘From Beer to Eternity’ in our exclusive interview with Al Jourgensen.
I spoke with Sam Shearon a few days ago, he was telling me how he lived at your home while coming up with ideas for these comics. Was that process similar to when you sat down with Jon Wiederhorn to write your biography?
Yes, very similar, only this time it was Me, Angie [Al's wife] and Sam brainstorming. It took like two days to come up with the concept, then after that we spent a day of peace getting each of these, well no, actually about two a day, getting the episodes written and done and the theme of the episode. We talked about where each particular episode was going. It was really cool, it was really fun.
Yeah, the same process, you know? Only there’s more people involved this time because I’ve written my whole life and finally this stuff’s going to come out. I never read comic books as a kid. I didn’t know how this medium works and so they kind of walked me through it and by the end of it we were all in lock-step, you know? I was just there to make sure I had the right super powers. [Laughs]
With the comic, the Alien F. Jourgensen character was originally a corporate music puppet, trying to be contained. Is that a reference to your early days in the music industry?
Absolutely. The entire series of 13 episodes starts out with me getting signed to Arista Records and doing that abortion of an album ['With Sympathy'] that I did, written by Clive Davis and a bunch of producers, but with my name on it. So it starts out with that, getting sucked in and lured into the promise of money and fame and glory, and when you’re 21 years old, that just sounds good man! It’s no different than ‘American Idol’ or one of these shows or whatever, you know what I’m saying?
So it starts with that, it shows how I get trapped into this and then it evolves into where I rebel and say, ‘You know what, you people don’t have the answers, I have my own answers!’ Then we take it from there and each timeline, each episode follows each of the Ministry studio records and what was going around in the world at the time, social, politically, militarily; incorporated into each album that has spanned over this time. So, the timeline, chronologically, starts with the Arista days. It’s not like the book. In other words, it doesn’t start with me being born in Cuba and this and that and immigration, it starts with Arista Records and then it goes from there. Then, it involves the CIA and government involvement and rabid cyborg raccoons It’s insane! [Laughs]
What was the drink of choice while hanging out with Sam for this?
Well, Sam likes his Newcastle Brown and I like them too, but I was mainly on vodka the whole time, man. Just like, the cheapest, biggest bottle I can get every night. I’m not like a connoisseur, I don’t do Ciroc and all this other stuff. I just buy, like, I don’t even know if it’s Guatemalan vodka, I don’t even care, it’s like 15 bucks a half-gallon. I’m not picky!
I wanted to ask, regarding your super powers, because last time we spoke, you told me you’d been declared legally dead three times, so it only makes sense that Alien F. Jourgensen has the power to come back from the dead.
Oh yeah, but I’m quite alive now. One of the super powers in the comic is I can bring my friends back from the dead in the evil final battle against the cyborg raccoons that were sent by the CIA to spy on my compound and my lifestyle. There’s a final battle and I resurrect Mikey [Scaccia] and William Burroughs and Timothy Leary and we all battle the cyborg CIA raccoons. It’s an epic battle on the last episode, the 13th episode.
I can’t wait to read that. I think your book ['The Lost Gospels'] may be the single greatest collection of insane, crazy stories that I’ve ever read. Will there be any stories not released in the book that will make it to the comic?
Actually, no. We have two other books from our dealings with Jon Wiederhorn. In other words, the book that you just read, that’s the “Disney PG” version. [Laughs]
Really?! Oh my god…
We had Jon’s legal team, the publishers legal team; everyone checking out all the stories and all that, and a lot of it got cut out, although I wasn’t making it up. It wasn’t because it wasn’t true, it’s just because legal matters and things like that. I mean, this all has to be filtered, so those books will come out when I die in a plane crash or from liver failure or some s–t. Then those will come out when I don’t have to be sued for it and Angie’s well protected, like, with some Cayman Island account or something. [Laughs] If the other stories come out we will be sued, okay? So what you’re reading is basically the Disney version, but it’s okay, it’s a good start. It’s like dipping your toe in the water.
I can’t imagine. You mentioned that you wanted William Burroughs and Timothy Leary to be a part of the comic along with other people that you’ve personally met who are interesting characters to you. Who else, besides those two, needs to be a part of this series?
Ah, man, if I could ever hook up with Tom Waits I’d be the happiest camper in Yellowstone, alright? That’s the one guy. I’ve worked with Neil Young, lived with Tim Leary, worked with William Burroughs; I mean, all heroes to me. Met Ginsburg, met Bukowski, before all these guys died. But Tom Waits is still alive and so I’ve got my laser beams set on him, man. I think me and Tom would do a great, great record.
Yeah, wow, that’d be interesting. Did you ever get to meet Hunter Thompson?
No, I never got to meet Hunter, although we had mutual friends. Timothy Leary, who met Hunter, said there’s two people that I reminded him of; one was John Lennon — the same sense of humor, he had a very sarcastic sense of humor and Timothy sang on ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and hung out with Yoko and John for a long time and he said I reminded him a lot of him, which is funny because we share the same birthday. So that was kinda weird, but the other person he mentioned is like, yeah, I’m a little bit like Hunter, [Laughs] but I never got the pleasure to meet him, and maybe that’s good.
Someone would’ve ended up getting shot.
[Laughs] Something would’ve went wrong.
Your wife, Angie, helped create the comic book stories as well. Can fans expect to see her in the comic? What kind of character would she be?
Oh, I have a lot of sidekicks, man, a lot of sidekicks. Batman had his Catwoman and I got my Angie, so she’ll be involved in that final battle, I promise you.
The fans are definitely going to want to see Mikey. It’s gonna be very cathartic for people to see Mike Scaccia in this thing.
I raise Mikey from the dead at the end!
[Laughs] Spoiler alert!
Yeah, spoiler alert. [Laughs] Mikey kicks ass, trust me, he’ll be in this. I couldn’t let the best friend I’ve ever had in my whole life just go unnoticed. So yeah, he’ll be a pretty integral part, not only resurrecting him in the final battle, but also taking advice from him with my extra sensory perceptions of being able to channel Mikey. Mikey’s a big part of this.
I think it’s great that you finished Ministry with ‘From Beer to Eternity’ as the parting shot. If you had finished Ministry with ‘Relapse,’ do you think you would’ve felt as satisfied with your parting shot as you do with ‘From Beer to Eternity’?
That’s a very good question. You know, I like that record, ‘Relapse,’ and it was just nice being alive, since I had just died. Everything was cool about it, but would I have the same satisfaction? No. If you had a Ministry box set under your Christmas tree, wrapped in paper, ‘From Beer to Eternity’ is the bow that goes around the present, you know what I mean?
It pretty much sums it all up, and in other words, I get to get some closure from it. Not only through Mikey’s passing, but also through taking you through a 30-year history and trying to combine it all into one record. I feel free now. ‘Relapse’ — I don’t think I would’ve felt the same way, you know what I’m saying? It’s a good album, I’m not dissing the album, I’m just saying it wouldn’t have had the same closure as this.
‘Ministry: The Devil’s Chord – The Chronicles of Alien F. Jourgensen’ is scheduled to premiere at 2014 Comic Con’s San Diego convention. Click below to get a sneak peek at the artwork.