Listening to the debut album from Al Jourgensen’s Surgical Meth Machine is like going on a roller coaster ride. The first half of it is frantic, loud and distorted, unrelenting in its heaviness. Then the back end of it lets off and gets a bit more melodic. Given that his primary project, Ministry, started out as a synth pop band before turning into a metal/industrial machine, this makes perfect sense. Recorded over a period of time with engineer Sam D’Ambrouso, the band’s self-titled debut album will be out on Nuclear Blast on April 15th. We caught up with Jourgensen to talk about the album, social media, and this November’s election.
Talk to me about genesis and formation of Surgical Meth Machine.
Pretty much it all started at the end of recording From Beer to Eternity with Ministry. My engineer Sammy and my guitar player and best friend, the late great Mike Scaccia who died during the making of that record- a lot of the stuff we really liked but we were also screwing around with faster rhythms and we joked you had to be on meth to do this kind of stuff. We put it on a shelf, and when the record came out, Mike died. And Sammy and I decided to work with brutal, faster music. This record was done on and off over time, dicking around, with the premise of brutal fast music, and in the process we moved to California. And as soon as we did that we went to a doctor and got our medical marijuana cards, cause that’s legal out here. You can tell almost exactly when we got our weed cards, cause the record went psychedelic- completely from meth to LSD. It’s pretty obvious. Have you heard the whole record?
The album actually seems like it seems it starts really heavy and gets more melodic. Was that intentional?
Well, like I told you- it wasn’t intentional. It was a by product of the environment we were recording in!
Was the album recorded chronologically?
Yeah, we didn’t plan on doing it that way. We didn’t know it was going to be an album. We were just fucking around. Sammy would program beats and I would come up with riffs and it was an ongoing process, we had some friends come down, but the only one that ended up on the record was Jello Biafra. He did guest vocals but tried to make the entire thing a Lard record. And I was like no, we’re gonna keep doing this. It was a project that was never intended to be a band but it came out really fun and we decided to release it.