It’s a hectic time right now for Sin Quirin, guitarist for the now-retired industrial rock giant Ministry and its zany alter-ego, RevCo. March saw releases from both bands: Ministry brought forth Adios Puta Madres, a live album featuring material recorded during CuLaTour, the group’s final-ever tour, while RevCo released Sex-O Olympic-O, its first studio album since 2006’s Cocked And Loaded.
has always been the central figure in both bands, but as he steps aside to focus on running 13th Planet Records, he has chosen Sin
, vocalist Josh Bradford
and keyboardist Clayton Worbeck
to form the core of RevCo
’s new lineup.
Ultimate-Guitar first interviewed Sin just after the release of Ministry’s The Last Sucker album in 2007, and he agreed to speak with us again. I called him at home in Los Angeles to discuss his current projects, and how it feels to participate in the renaissance of the classic underground industrial band previously known as The Revolting Cocks.
UG: The last time I spoke to you was at Ministry’s show in Toronto. What were your impressions of the tour?
Sin: Man, the tour was definitely one of those highs that I’m still on. It feels weird that I’m not on tour anymore, and I’ve been off the road now for a good eight months. It was an ultimate, ultimate experience for me. It was a lifelong dream to tour with Ministry, a band that I was so influenced by. The crowds were great, we had a blast on the road, the States were amazing, Europe was unbelievable... playing those festivals. Off the top of my head we did the Exit Festival in Serbia in front of ninety thousand people. We went on right before The Sex Pistols. Things like that just stick out in my head. It’s a blur, but I remember specific things. It’s weird man. It’s almost like a dream. I can’t believe it’s over, even though it’s been over for a while now. It was a phenomenal experience for me.
Who were some of the people that you met on the tour that really stand out for you?
Well, actually meeting The Sex Pistols was pretty cool for me. I remember playing down in Houston and we had Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top come out on stage with us, so that was a really cool thing. We had Rick Neilson from Cheap Trick come out in Chicago. And then playing a lot of the festivals. I’m a big KISS fan and I got to see Ace Frehley in Sweden right from the stage. I was standing there just shaking like I was ten years old again. It was a trip. We played with the guys from Def Leppard, who were excellent. They were really cool guys. We did a bunch of festivals with them in Europe, as well as the guys from Whitesnake. We met up with the Meshuggah guys in Europe as well. We did a few festivals with them. Meeting everybody, all the fans were phenomenal. Some of these other bands that I’d been a fan of and looked up to were just super cool.
You were a big eighties metal guy, huh?
Yeah. When I was a kid I grew up listening to a lot of seventies stuff because my older cousins got me into that. And then in the eighties, that was the scene I came out of. I remember seeing Def Leppard back when I was about ten or eleven years old at The Forum here in L.A., and now it’s like, their dressing room was right next to ours. We were in the Czech Republic just hanging out with those guys, talking to them, having them watch our set from the side of the stage. It was just surreal.
Meshuggah opened for you in North America. Did the bands hang together? Was it like, your bus or my bus?
We did at times. You don’t always get to hang out as much as you’d like to, because you’ve got to pack up and go, long drives and what-not, but we did hang out with them quite a bit in North America. They’re really, really nice guys. A phenomenal band. Great players. Just really cool people.
Previous to this tour, you’d opened for Ministry as a touring member of RevCo. What’s the difference between being on stage with RevCo and being on stage with Ministry?
"You get a sense on an album for what’s going to work and what isn’t going to work."
Being on stage with RevCo is definitely more of a party vibe and atmosphere. Ministry is very serious. The riffs are very fast, very machine-gun-like, very precise, a little darker. RevCo is sort of the frat party, where we just go out and rock and have a good time. It’s definitely more tongue in cheek than Ministry. From a guitar player’s standpoint, my right arm gets to relax quite a bit. When I play with Ministry, my right arm ends up looking like Popeye after a tour. The riffs are so fast and so machine-gun-like. With RevCo I get to slow it down a bit.
RevCo’s lineup has changed a lot for the new album.
Sort of. It’s pretty much the same lineup from the 2006 tour. It’s definitely a different lineup from the last record, the Cocked and Loaded album. On Sex-O Olympic-O it’s myself, Josh Bradford on vocals, Clayton Worbeck on keyboards, and Al Jourgensen. We’re the ones that did this record. So it’s like the main lineup from the previous tour.
How did you guys approach the songwriting duties?
After we did The Last Sucker, Al approached me about writing music for the new RevCo album. I asked him what kind of direction he wanted to go in, and he said, “Uh, that’s your job.” So he kinda left it up to me to do what I felt, which was really cool, to have that kind of freedom from your producer. So I wrote the music for a song called “Hookerbot 3000,” which is the leadoff track on Sex-O. We were in El Paso at the time, and I gave the music to Josh, the vocalist. He was with it for a few days, and he came back with the vocals and we basically had a finished song.
At that point we called Al to come on down and hear the finished track. We played it for him, and as soon as he heard the tune he jumps up, picks me up, gives me a kiss and says, “All right. Write ten more songs like that.” So it basically worked out that way. I would come up with the music, or Clayton would come up with the music, we would hand it over to Josh to do vocals, and then Al would come in and oversee everything, make arrangement changes and what-not. He mixed it and produced it, and that’s how the making of that record went.
Josh is an incredible vocalist.
He’s amazing. He’s one of the most talented vocalists and musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.
He really swings between different styles on this record.
He’s very versatile, man.
I was very surprised that Paul Raven had contributed to the tracks. [Note- Paul Raven played bass on Ministry’s Rio Grande Blood and The Last Sucker albums. He passed away suddenly not long after The Last Sucker was released].
Actually, the songs “The Wizard of Sextown” and “Keys to the City” were his initial ideas and riffs. He had done those for The Last Sucker. They were sort of outtakes that didn’t quite fit into The Last Sucker, so we just held on to them. And then it was time for this RevCo album. We reworked them a little bit and they fit well with this.
It’s difficult to speculate, but do you think he had any idea they would end up as RevCo tracks?
You get a sense on an album for what’s going to work and what isn’t going to work. I actually did two other songs that I’d written for The Last Sucker that didn’t make that album. So, did I know they would end up on a RevCo album? No. I didn’t foresee that, but once we started writing Sex-O, we said, oh wow, those riffs that Raven had would probably fit in this.
In the past with RevCo, it’s always been Al Jourgensen with this huge swirl of different musicians coming in and out, and the styles have changed from album to album. Al told you to choose whatever direction you wanted to go, but how did you decide what you wanted the album to sound like?
That’s a good question. I’m a huge fan of the older stuff, because I grew up listening to Big Sexy Land and records like that, so I wanted to bring back more of an electronic dance element to these songs. What’s funny is on Sex-O, seventy-five percent of the songs that I wrote, I wrote on keyboard initially, and/or bass, and I added the guitar last. It was very different for me, as a guitar player by trade. I mean, I know how to play keyboards and bass and drums, I just sort of taught myself those instruments in the studio, but that was the way I approached the songwriting. I wanted to bring back that older vibe of the band which I thought was that dance industrial sound. So if you notice on Sex-O the songs are very dancey, they’re very electronic sounding. They’ve got that the repetitive bass lines or riffs, which is what I thought the earlier records had. That’s how I approached it. Thank God that Al was happy with it. He felt the same way about the songs and the direction that we did.
You mentioned you played drums. On the last few Ministry and RevCo albums there hasn’t been a studio drummer. Why no drummers?
Well, drummers are a pain in the ass.
Okay, that’s straightforward.
"It was a lifelong dream to tour with Ministry, a band that I was so influenced by."
(laughing) No, that’s just a joke. It’s just been one of those things. When we happen to be in the studio writing, we haven’t had the right guy at the right time, and scheduling, blah blah blah. It wasn’t a conscious decision to not have a guy there with us. We would love to, but it just hasn’t worked out that way. There’s no big meaning behind it. We’ve been in between guys.
Do you have a drummer pegged for touring?
We do have a drummer pegged for the tour and we have a bass player as well, but I can not disclose those names.
You guys did a free show in El Paso in December. Did you preview the new material?
Sex-O hadn’t come out yet, but we did a few. I think we did “Cou’sins,” we did “Hookerbot 3000,” I think we did “Robo Banditos,” so we did about three or four new RevCo tracks. Because we were unplugged we called it RevCo Unbuttplugged. It was our acoustic little thing.
Nice. How does an industrial band play an acoustic show?
It’s funny, man. It went over really well. It was myself on acoustic, Clayton on acoustic, Josh singing, and we had Al come up and do some songs with us as well. The thing is, when you have a good song, which entails a good structure, good intro, verse, chorus, bridge, whatever, if you have that structure, you can play it in any capacity with any type of instrument. So it went over really well, and it sounded like good songs, which is surprising because I know that when you think of an industrial band you don’t think of them being able to do something acoustic. I think some of the material we have lends itself to being played in other formats.
It’s tricky, because I’ve heard so many different covers of Ministry songs and they always sound terrible. I think it’s because they’re trying to do an industrial cover of an industrial band instead of just stripping it down to guitar, bass and drums. They’re trying to do it with all these ridiculous effects and it just fails.
I agree. And there are some songs that you just can’t do. There are some tunes that will just not lend itself to that. We had enough material, we had enough songs to pick from that we picked the ones that would go well acoustic.
Are you guys going to play the back catalogue for the tour?
Yeah, I want to, man. We haven’t decided on a set list yet. We’re kicking around ideas. I personally would love to do some of the old obscure songs, but we gotta see what the whole band decides. But I’m all for that.
When The Last Sucker tour came around, it was very focused on the recent material. I’ve seen the track listing for Adios Puta Madres, the new live album, and it’s very focused on the new stuff.
It is. I pushed for a lot of the old stuff because I’m a fan. We tried a few old, old Ministry songs at rehearsals, and some stuff worked and some stuff doesn’t. The new live Ministry CD is primarily focused on the last three albums, but there’s a live DVD that’s coming out at the end of May, and that has a handful of the old classics on it that aren’t on the live CD. It’s really cool man. I’ve already seen it. There’s a little documentary that goes along with it that takes you all the way through rehearsal and some backstage stuff and interviews, and then some concerts. It’s put together very well.
People always love to see that backstage stuff.
Me too, man. You know what? When I get DVDs that have that on them I usually like seeing that, and at times it’s more interesting than the shows. So I think people are going to get a real good insight into how things go down.
Al said CuLaTour would be his last tour, ever, period. I guess that means he won’t be out with RevCo for the next tour.
No, I don’t think he’s going to be coming out on tour. I mean, things change all the time, so I can’t say for sure. We’d like for him to come out, at least for a handful of the shows. He might do that, but you never know. I know we are going to want to push this new record quite a bit.
I’m going to change directions a little. You’ve got another project with DJ Hardware called ReVamp, where you play live guitar along with his DJ sets. I was curious about how that came about.
After we got off the Ministry tour, my publicist had sent out a sheet announcing that I had some months off and I was available to do session work or play guitar for anybody that was looking for a guitar player. So we were contacted by Chris Vickers, who manages DJ Hardware and manages and books the ReVamp tour. I’m big into the electronic scene, so I dug the concept and the idea, and it’s been a blast. We’ve done about twelve, fourteen shows so far, and they’ve gone over amazingly well. The crowds have been great. DJ Hardware is up on stage mixing and I’m up there playing live guitar. It’s been something that I’ve never done before. We feed off the crowd quite a bit, so it definitely has kept my chops up and has kept me on my toes. Every night is different. I don’t play the same thing twice. It’s like you’re up there improvising every night. It’s pretty exciting to do something like that. It’s a departure from playing the same notes at the exact same time like with a regular band tour. It’s definitely been creatively a cool outlet for me.
How does playing with a DJ compare to playing with other musicians?
"I think some of the material we have lends itself to being played in other formats."
It’s very different, man. I didn’t know how different it was going to be when I started doing it. I’m used to being up there with four, five other guys and you’re kind of playing off each other. When you’re in a band you look at each other for little cues and signals and you feed off each other, but with this, it’s a whole different entity up there. I’m playing along to what he’s spinning, but I have to vibe off him as well. So it’s been different, but it’s been cool. I’ve been really, really pleased with how it’s turned out.
Is anything going to be recorded for ReVamp?
Yeah, we’ve already been working on some stuff to release, hopefully on 13th Planet Records. We’ll see. We’ve got a lot of things coming out, so I don’t know when that’ll see the light of day. As of right now, and I might get in trouble for saying this, but I don’t care: we might be going out on tour, Revamp, with Lords of Acid in June.
The last time we spoke I asked you what kind of equipment you used and you said Schecter, which I guess that raised a couple of eyebrows. Had did you land on that guitar?
I had played Schecter guitars in studio before. At the 2006 or 2007 NAMM convention I stopped by the Schecter booth and talked with Michael and Brian there, and they were really cool guys. They let me use a couple of their guitars and I really liked them. They played really well. They sounded great. I felt very comfortable with them. So that’s how that whole thing started. When we started working on plans for the CuLaTour I just came on board with them. I’ve been with them ever since. I’ve used them in the studio, and on tour that’s all I play. I think I’ve got about nine or ten of their guitars now. Primarily on the Ministry tour I used the Flying Vs that they made. They made six custom ones for me which are phenomenal. I love Flying Vs. They’re very comfortable for me to play live and they sound great and they feel great. I’ve used a lot of different guitars, I’ve been endorsed by a lot of different companies, and I’m not just saying this because I’m with them now, but they’re definitely my favorites. I haven’t come close to anything else with any other company yet.
Are you a collector?
You know what? I didn’t realize this until I went through my storage place, but I’m up to close to thirty guitars right now, which is a lot for me.
That’s about all I had. Was there anything you wanted to add?
Nothing really. I just want to say a big thank you to all of the fans out there that have come out to support the bands that I’ve been in. It means a lot to me. A big shout-out to the PISS ARMY and a big thank you to my endorsers who are Schecter guitars, Line Six Amps, Dunlop, and Inchtech.
You’re doing another album with RevCo after this one, right?
Yeah. To be honest with you, the follow up to Sex-O Olympic-O is already about seventy-five percent done. We have about ten songs written and recorded for it. I think I’ll be going to El Paso next month to actually finish up that record, which will probably come out sometime early 2010. So that one’s pretty much already in the can.
A little something off the subject, I’m flying to Boston actually in about a week to start producing this really talented female artist’s demo. Her name is Sarah Greene. It’s my first producing gig, so I’m really excited about that. I might go in and produce, arrange, play guitars, bass, drums, on her demo. She’s super talented, completely different from Ministry or Revco. The complete opposite. She’s sort of this alt-rock, Dido meets Zero Seven meets Norah Jones kinda thing. I’m really excited about that.
How did you meet her?
I’ve known her for a while. She used to live in L.A. and we’d collaborated many years ago, but she moved back to Boston and she’s now getting her demo together, she’s got management. It looks like things are really going to happen for her. She’s very, very talented. She’s a singer songwriter. She plays the piano. We just hit it off when we met years ago, so now it’s time for her to get in the studio and she thought of me as someone to produce.
You’re cranking out music at a ridiculous rate right now.
Yeah! I was talking to someone Saturday night and he was like, “Dude, you’re like, shittin’ music right now.” I don’t know what it is, but thank God, because sometimes you go through a block. It’s happened to me and I’m sure it’s happened to every writer out there, and it’s frustrating as hell. We’ve been lucky that things have been flowing out fairly easily lately, so hopefully it’ll keep up. I love it, man. I gotta keep busy, I gotta keep writing, I gotta be in the studio, I gotta keep playing, or something. I can not sit still.
Interview by Nolan Whyte
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