Session with Roberts, p. 4
Q: Was there a dramatic change in the audience over the years as Ministry went big with Arista, and then changed sounds going into Twitch?
Roberts: I'm not sure what you mean exactly. The record buying audience? Who can say? The live audiences, even during the first couple of years, were dark compared to say a typical arena audience. It's apples and oranges really. Again, I think that in retrospect when people think of early Ministry, they think of WS, and that's a mistake.
Q: What kind of equipment did you guys use back then? Did Arista help get you any cool electronic gadgets, or did they not care as long as the end result was "pleasing"?
Roberts: Let's see .I can remember buying a Moog Source early on. I brought it to rehearsal and found that I could get the greatest bass sounds out of it. From that point on, I played keyboard bass with my right hand, and played chords with my left on a Juno 106, or some such beast. JD had a Roland String Machine of some kind and we sequenced a bunch of stuff with a small monophonic Prophet, I forget the name of it. Al played an Iceman until the WS Tour, at which point he had a couple of black Strats that Arista bought for him. He used a Roland JC-120 amp then. Arista bought us a bunch of stuff, another Source, a Roland Jupiter 8, a couple of 106's, just about all the keyboard stuff was Roland. We also bought 2 4-track reel-to-reel Otari's. We used three of the tracks for background vocals and strings and FX and the fourth channel was fed to a pair of headphones that Stevo wore so that we could keep time. He used to power the headphones through a big QSC amp that was at least 100W. I'd be surprised if Stevo still has his hearing. It used to be kind of a joke to walk up to Stevo after a gig and start either talking to him, or just move your mouth, but not speak. Stevo couldn't tell the difference. He couldn't hear anything for at least an hour after each show. So there, I admit it. We used tapes. Before anybody!!!
Q: Did they ever have you guys do cheesy promotional stunts?
Roberts: A couple of in-stores, a night club appearance in Santa Monica, but nothing I'd call cheesy.
Q: In some of the interviews from 83 or so, Al uses a lot of British slang rather badly ("I worked my bollocks off", etc). Was it all a front for interviews, or did he really live the synthpop life, so to speak?
Roberts: Not in private that much. He'd only get into that mode in public. I can remember being at a hotel once in Wisconsin somewhere and he asked the receptionist if he could "use the tele". Everybody just kinda groaned and went, "WTF, we're not in Manchester, we're in fucking Wisconsin." But you have to understand, Al was, and still is I imagine, a very animated person. So he can be forgiven. Al would speak in all kinds of accents, British, Spanish, Slovakian, you name it. But yeah, he'd say things like, "Give me a moment to suss this out." all the time.
Q: Same Old Madness had a video and was mentioned as "the next single" when played live in 82. How did it just disappear? Was it due to changing labels?
Roberts: Ah ha!!! That's the video that was shot at Jim and Danny's, I'm sure of it. It never went anywhere because the song "Same Old Madness" was never released, most likely. I'd love to see it though. There's another scene in that video with my girlfriend (now my wife) on a couch with another lovely young woman. What man wouldn't want to have a video like that, I ask.
Q: There was a pre-With Sympathy song done live that I've got introduced as "Just Kidding" at some shows and "Overkill" at others. It was introduced as "an old one" even in 82. You remember anything about it? Did it just arbitrarily change titles?
Roberts: I never heard it called, "Just Kidding". It was always "Overkill" as far as I know. It was always the final song, even during the WS tour I believe. I can't believe that we never recorded that song, it was always a crowd, and a band, favorite. Al called it "an old one" because it was a left over Special Affect song, though I don't think that they played it much. It went from being a scary, dreaded triad chord song, you know the creepy I-VI chord pattern, and morphed into a kind of surreallistic James Bond theme. I always liked that one. Since we usually closed with "Overkill" we got to make a lot of horrible, evil noises at the end.
Q: There are a couple songs that I've heard rumors of, but never had substantiated: Same Old Scene - the Roxy Music cover, mentioned quite a bit, but I don't know of anyone who's ever actually heard it Ocean Drive - supposedly done live with Patty J on vocals...
Roberts: I'm a huge Roxy fan. Have been since high school. I would remember doing a Roxy cover, but I don't. I can't ever recall Patty being on stage with us either, though Al had met Patty by the time the WS Tour happened.
Q: Was the show in December of 84 at The Exit in Chicago really a big send-off for the Arista material like I've heard rumored?
Roberts: I didn't catch that show. I did see them at the Metro in '84. It might have been.
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