Session with Roberts, p. 5Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
Q: There's a reallly cool intro played at that show that ended up being used as part of the song Hizbollah on Land Of Rape And Honey. Anything else to your knowledge that got used later on?
Roberts: Sorry, can't help you there.
Q: I've also heard rumors that there was going to be an EP with I See Red on it before Twitch was released. True? Any reason why it was scrapped?
Roberts: No idea.
Q: Were there many other songs recorded back then that didn't get released? Any old demos or anything laying around the house waiting to be shared? :)
Roberts: Nothing that's in my possession. There's probably some interesting stuff that never made it to release from the sessions with Frankie in Al's apartment. But I imagine that all that has vaporized by now.
Q: Al at least was pretty close to the Blackouts. They played at least one show in Philadelphia with Ministry in 83. Did you tour together with them often? I assume they became gradually more involved over the years until most of them joined the band. Did that relationship lead to their breaking up? Since he was the only one who never got involved with Ministry, I'm guessing it was some conflict with the singer (Erich Werner).
Roberts: We played at least a handful of shows with the Blackouts. I really liked them a lot. I had no idea that someday Paul and Al would become such a dynamic duo. Patty, of course, was the Blackouts' manager early on. I think the reason that most of the Blackouts eventually joined Al was because after '84, Al needed a band, and the merge seemed natural. I don't know if there was a conflict with Erich. I just think that Al and Paul were a natural fit, at least it would seem so.
Q: Did Paul work on any solo stuff back then?
Roberts: I have no idea.
Q: What was the lineup for the Twitch tour?
Roberts: I had left the band by then. Around that time I was trying to get my own band called "One Love Lost" off the ground. Needless to say, it never really took flight. (laughs)
Q: Frankie/Groovy Mann from Special Affect/Thrill Kill Kult played with Al in the Special Affect days, and was lighting guy for the Twitch tour. He wrote "Thrill Kill Kult" the song that got performed live back then and sang Tonight We Murder. Did he hang out with the band a lot back then? Any other songs he did vocals on?
Roberts: Frankie hung out with everyone back then, and everyone loved Frankie. I knew Frankie before I knew Al. I'd have to say that Frankie is one of the most dynamic, intuitively creative people I've ever met. But, I can't recall Frankie ever singing in the band when I was in it.
Q: On Twitch, Isle Of Man and Twitch (the song) are clearly labled "Version II". What happened to version I?
Roberts: No idea.
Q: Was the early Revco stuff really segregated from Ministry stuff? No Devotion seems to have been played at more shows than most Ministry songs.
Roberts: Revco didn't exist for me. There was always talk, even early on, about recording under a different name, but it never happened while I was in the band. But I will say, that "Barnyard Oddities" is one of my all time favorite albums. I wish I had been a part of it. Whenever I hear "Mr. Lucky", it always sounds, to me anyway, like I'm back at Ministry rehearsal. I love that vibe. The dirty sounding horns, the swirling noises.
Q: What have you been up to since the Ministry days?
Roberts: Were to start? I gave the business a few more shots, but nothing really stuck. In a lot of ways it was my own fault, because Ministry was the first band I was ever in and I got spoiled. I didn't want to pay the price again. I figured out that there was money on the technical end of the business and had the technical background to pursue that. I worked for a company called Neotek that hand-built custom mixing boards for studios. I did some engineering and worked for a company called Pyramid that got the job to design and install a new Audio Control Room at the Johnson Space Center. That's how I came to work at NASA.
Q: Do you miss music, if you are not involved in it anymore?
Roberts: I'd be lying if I said I didn't. A recently as two years ago I was playing pretty regularly, mostly open mic nights, things like that. Just getting up on a stage, any stage is very cathartic for me. But sure I miss it.
Q: There were several other people involved and credited on the early Ministry releases who have been MIA since the early 80's, any clue what's become of them?
Roberts: I've seen Paul Taylor now and then. I know he's still around. I left Chicago for Houston from '95 until '01 so I'm out of the loop myself somewhat. Other than that, I haven't seen anyone.
Q: When you're sitting at home, surfing channels and come to a station showing Ministry play, what do you personally feel and think? Did you like the heavier sound they made?
Roberts: Honestly, it's never happened. I'm not a TV watcher/channel surfer kind of person. I saw the scene in A.I. were the band was playing and got a chuckle out of it. I'm really not into the whole "tattoo & leather, look my guitar is shaped like a skull" thing. I mean, I love loud distorted guitars and stuff and almost instinctively start playing like that as soon as I pick one up, which is nearly everyday. If I may, I'd like to use a sports metaphor. It's a lot like baseball. It's a lot of fun to play, but a real drag to watch. And that's more or less how I feel about it. I saw a Ministry show in Houston around '96 or so. I could tell the crowd was getting off on it and that's great. But personally, it's not my cup of tea.
Q: What happened to Stephen George? He seemed to leave Ministry rather abruptly after With Sympathy.
Roberts: I'm not sure. Stevo was a close friend of mine. He was even stood up at our wedding. I saw him last in '94. He was engineering at Battery Studio in Chicago. He had a couple of Gold Records for a albums he had engineered. I've been trying to trace him down but have been unsuccessful. Stevo, if you're out there, let's hook-up. Just contact Afra, he'll know what to do.
Q: Any other cool stories or info from the old days that we may not even know to ask about?
Roberts: Here's an interesting story about Al, and fate. Or rather destiny. In '84, after I had left the band, I was trying to work out some legal stuff with Al. I figured I was owed some money, it was no big deal and we reached an agreement, so everything was cool. I was working for an audio company doing tech work at the time. Anyway, after one of the meetings Al and I went out for a couple of drinks and Al asked me if I'd be interested in coming back, joining the band. I was always the "techie" in the band. I used to figure out the sequencing and the PA, stuff like that. And I said, "No, I'm doing pretty well right now. Unless you can guarantee me this and this, I'm not interested."
And Al says, "Oh, forget it. You'll probably end up working for NASA someday, anyway."
And that statement turned out to be true. At the time, it was just a joke. But Al was like that. He's always been quite the visionary.
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