Interviews, Music

The Revolting Cocks take Glasgow

I have no idea if this is of interest to anyone in 2014, but in 1991 this was pretty much my first piece of published writing. An interview with the industrial disco inferno that was The Revolting Cocks conducted by a terrified 21 year old me following the most insane and excessive gig I’ve ever been witness to. I have not changed a word, although I did play down some of the excesses I witnessed. Excesses to make Caligula blush…

“Did you see the girl from the staff sitting at the door? She was wearing like this spandex, and I just said `which sexy underwear do you have underneath there?’ and she happened to be the assistant manager, and I had to go and apologize for that shit.”

Luc Van Acker’s face is contorted into an expression of complete incomprehension as he tells us this. We’re keeping our distance, Ackers pissed as a fart and looks like he could start projectile vomiting at any minute.

It is two in the morning and we’ve just seen the Revolting Cocks turn Glasgow Tech into a fair approximation of the ninth circle of Hell, total fucking mayhem: and it almost didn’t happen. The gig was supposed to take place at the College of Printing, but the very day of the concert the college dean decided (or so rumour goes) that he didn’t like that name and nixed the deal; thus the last minute change in venue. It’s a miracle the gig ever happened.

Unfortunately the Tech venue is significantly smaller than the College of Printing, meaning the hall is approaching twice capacity. By the time the Cocks take to the boards anyone within ten feet of the stage ends up sprawled in a great heaving mass of sweat, denim and leather at the bands feet. It’s like being an extra in an orgy scene from `Caligula’.

After nearly two hours of the Cocks crush collision we nervously approach the bands dressing room. We’ve got good reason to be nervous, the British press has given the Cocks (and specifically Revco supremo Al Jourgenson) a reputation for evil degeneracy that would make DeSade blush. Once we get onto this hallowed ground we find a couple of band members seem to have passed out already. Once the initial introductions are made however the majority of the band are surprisingly benign.

Al Jourgenson, guitarist, lynchpin and one of the busiest men in rock tells us that he was serious when he told the audience tonight was the best gig of the tour. We believe him. `It was fun, there were no dancers and this, that and the other fucking thing. It was just a band being raw, and there was no bullshit. This is the most fun we’ve had all tour.’ Cocks shows have become legendary recently and like most legends reports about five percent truth and ninety five percent bullshit. As the press tales go, an average Revco performance could feature: sheets of flame, herds of live cattle, electric fences, Jourgenson shagging a bucking bronco, and bevys of half naked go-go dancers. As part time Cock, and ex Front Line Assembly man Michael Balch relates `It’s not completely fabricated, but things were definitely sensationalised.’

As to the cattle . ` I think when they talked about parading cows onstage, they didn’t mean the actual bovines. It’s more a slang reference to a particularly obese member of the human race.’

The brunt of the negative publicity has been caused by tory rent-a-quote Teddy Taylor who actually brought up the band in parliament. Jourgenson sneers evilly when the subject of Teddy taylor comes up, `We have negatives of him sucking off an eight year old boy at a Sport party. We were going to sell it to the Sport for twenty thousand pounds, swear to god, dead serious. We’ve been trying to have people look like him.

`We told them we had these negatives. They’re like give us those and we’ll give you twenty g. We’re like, fuck yeah . . . Who looks like Teddy Taylor’

We ask Al about the moral majority and the PMRC in the States. `The moral majority just helps our record sales. One time we got picketed, in Denver I think. We just played, fuck em.’

When asked whether he doesn’t rather enjoy the notoriety the British press have given him ` How do you think I feel about it? You think I like it? I fucking hate it man.’

Guitarist Mark Duranti was actually arrested last year Texas. Michael Balch told us `We actually did a benefit gig for his court fees and his new suit, that’s why we did the European tour now rather than last September.’ The barely alive Duranti (while propped up against a wall). ` I was in (jail) for two days, it was really bad.’ Nearby Al leered towards Duranti ` You’re gonna get arrested, you’ve got that arrest look on your face.’

Al tells us the sorry tale of Durantis’ arrest, apparently the guitarist was wandering, some-what the worse for wear in a rather seedy area of town, when Duranti hailed a passing taxi and it didn’t stop he irately threw a brick at it; unfortunately- said taxi was not in fact a taxi but a patrolling cop car, whoops.

When the cops saw Duranti’s `Beers, Steers and Queers’ T-Shirt (from the last album) they assumed him to be a male prostitute and booked him. Duranti also had a couple of over-the-counter sleeping pills in his pocket which are illegal in Texas, which can’t have helped his case much.

Al punctuated his recollections with a grin and `Who would think that Mark Duranti was breaking the law?’

We asked Mike if the Cocks were part of any type of `industrial scene’. `I think labels are always pretty weak to begin with . . . there are some bands that you just can’t label. I always though industrial to be bands like Test Dept or Throbbing Gristle, they were on Industrial records that started the whole idea. Then there were bands like Consolidated who are called an “industrial rap” band. Is that the best way to describe it?

As for Nettwerk’s Manu-facture. `They’re just young suburban white kids who want to free all the blacks, and think they know better than everyone else!’

Al is equally contemptuous of the notion that the Cocks are part of any kind of `Scene’. ` I don’t know anything about the scene. We just mind our own business. We are our own scene. I don’t know what the hell everyone else is doing. There’s only a couple of bands I even listen to and that’s like: The Young Gods, Foetus, Ministry, Cocks then after that I listen to Earache bands like Napalm Death and Godflesh.’

Finally we ask Al about record sales. He shrugs, `Here? Shit. We don’t wear fucking flares man, and we don’t play house’. Not the Stone Roses eh? `I think our drummer butt-fucked their drummer once, you’ll have to ask him.’

The Revolting Cocks, long may they continue to kick against the pricks.

Below is a quick survey of the various projects which our man Al has been involved in.

Skatenigs
The Skatenigs rose from the midst of Austin, Texas hard-core scene by way of a con-ceptual idea entertained by Al. They are a band of white, skating rappers initially created to fill the support slot for Ministry. The lead singer Phil Owens sang the now legendary Beers, Steers and Queers and they supported The Revco’s on their last tour. So far they have released on single, Chemical Imbalance which is brilliant. Al will be producing their first album over the summer. The album will be released at the end of the year possibly through alternative tentacles.

Skinny Puppy
There have been links with Ministry and Skinny Puppy for some time now with Ogre and Dave Ogilvie working and touring with Ministry from time to time. Al was invited to help out on the album Rabies which turned out to be somewhat of a controversial affair with both sides being upset at the other. When asked if he would be doing anymore work with Skinny Puppy Al said `Nah, they hated it’. However that venture spawned one of the greatest songs either band have ever recorded Tin Omen.

LARD
The first of many Dead Kennedy’s Biafra spin-off bands, arguably the best. The band consists of Al, Paul Barker and Biafra. The first e.p. sounded somewhere between the DK’s and Public Enemy. The latest album is somewhat more Ministerial in feel. Al will be recording another Lard album sometime early 92.

1000 Homo D.J.’s
1000 Homo DJs is another direct Revco spin-off with all the same people involved under the direction of Buck Satan (Al). So far the band have released two singles, Apathy and Supernaut (see NIN), the latter being a couple of months old. You can now get them both on one import C.D.

Ministry
Ministry were the band to start it all. Jourgenson, scared that he was being groomed for the Nick Kershaw spot of the mid eighties reacted by trans-forming the disco version of Ministry into the monster which it is today. Ministry is the so called serious end of the Al Jourgenson stable, i.e. no fucking about as with the Cocks. There will be a new Ministry album out immin-ently, it’s called the Tapes of Wrath, they should be touring early next year.

Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails are the hottest thing to come out of Chicago since the Revco’s and Ministry. NIN is Trent Reznor basically, very much a solo project. Reznor has been friends with Al for some time and played guitar with the Cocks on their last U.S. tour. To date he has only recorded one released track with Al, although this will change, the track is `Get Down, Make Love‘, a Queen cover, and is the B side of Sin. When asked about the song Jourgenson said `oh, I tortured the fucker’. .

Interview originally published in Convulsion fanzine 1991

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