Session with Roberts, p.2
Q: There's a live video from Minneapolis in 83 circulating that looks pretty official looking, any idea if it was intended to be released by Arista?
Roberts: Wow, really! I had no idea. I'd love to see it. I'm guessing the gig was the one that we opened for the Police at the old MetroCenter. It was our biggest indoor show to date and, of course, the Police were right in the middle of their "Synchronicity" heyday. It was either there or at a club called First Street. If someone could get me a copy, I'd really be grateful. Show it to my kids. (laughs)
Q: Speaking of tours, some of us have been working on a tour chonology. So far we've got:
Summer 82 - Wax Trax tour
Summer 83 (July or so) through December 83 - With Sympathy tour
Sometime in 84? - more Wax Trax touring
April through Sept 86 - Twitch tour
Roberts: I only took part in the first two. I can tell you that in early '82, there would have been a bunch, a least a gig a week in Chicago, usually two or three gigs per week. In late winter/early spring we played out of town for the first time and did a few shows in Madison, Milwaukee and Minneapolis with an English white-funk band named "Medium Medium". In the summer, we went East and played gigs in NY, Boston, Providence, Philly. Trenton, Cherry Hill and someplace out on Long Island. While in NY we played at the New Music Seminar which was held at the Ritz. We played at Danceteria and even at the old Peppermint Lounge. It was around this time, while in Boston, that Al was put in contact with Ian Taylor who had produced Romeo Void and one of the Psyche Furs albums. This is why the first album was recorded at Synchro Sound in Boston, which was the Cars home studio. Ian was working out of there at the time.
The With Sympathy Tour started in Chicago at Metro and worked it's way East again. We played in just about every major city between Chicago and Boston and down to DC including some college towns like Bloomington IN and Carbondale IL. After that, we opened for the Police in Minneapolis as I mentioned and then opened for them again at a big show at old Comisky Park in front of 40,000 people. The tour moved west through Denver and we opened a few shows for Culture Club in California and played a few gigs of our own at The Palace, Pacific Amphitheater and a couple of other places. We played a gig at the Greek Theater and I think that was my last show with the band, if I'm not mistaken.
Q: Are we missing anything? A lot of the tour info from the early days is pretty sketchy. Did you guys ever tour overseas back then?
Roberts: Nothing overseas. Nothing in the South either. I saw the band in '84 and I'm pretty sure that most who saw those gigs would want to forget about them. Al was trying to keep things going after Mark, Brad, Stevo and I left and it was pretty much a rehash of the 83 shows, but with a bunch of guys who were for the most part just thrown together. That part of Ministry history is probably best left untold.
Q: Ok, I'll bite... What the hell happened at The Chilton Hilton in Cambridge MA?
Roberts: The Chilton Hilton was a comfy old house on Chilton Street in Cambridge run by a wonderful person named Ann Marie Foley. The place had a history of boarding up-and-coming bands when they came through Boston. Ann Marie was such a great hostess that most bands never forgot her hospitality and would visit even after they had "made it". I lived there for a few months while "With Sympathy" was being finished. You'd be sitting around and the doorbell would ring and when you went to answer the door, Bono would be standing there. One night John Lydon came over for dinner. It seemed that there were parties nearly every night and all kinds of Boston celebs like guys from the Cars, or Peter Wolf, even Steven Tyler I'm told would attend, though I never saw Steven Tyler there myself. I have a lot of fond memories of the Chilton Hilton.
Q: You guys played with many different bands in those days. I know of dates with Men Without Hats, Information Society, The Police, Flock Of Seagulls and I've heard of some others like Depeche Mode and Culture Club (the one everyone references). What other groups do you remember playing with? Any of them get along with you guys particularly badly/well?
Roberts: I think that Men Without Hats were on a bill with us once at the NMS. I already mentioned the Police and Culture Club gigs. Information Society, I don't recall. We did a couple of shows with Flock of Seagulls, I remember that we were playing out on Long Island and Mike Score took a $50 cab out to see us from the city. He hung out with us after the gig and took our tourbus back into the city with us the next day. He was a pretty quiet guy as I remember. Seems like we played quite a few gigs with Depeche Mode in NY. As I recall we were all staying at the Iroquois on 44th and both bands crammed into a van to go to soundcheck together. Dave Gahan didn't soundcheck with the band so one of their roadies would sing during soundcheck. It was quite funny, there was the band playing but a roadie singing, badly. But the roadie wouldn't let the fact that he couldn't sing deter him. He was giving it his all. (laughs) We had a good relationship with the Thompson Twins as well. Tom and Al were friends. The Thompson Twins and Ministry were both signed to Arista within weeks of each other so we were kind of "sister bands", as it were.
I remember that we got on well with Culture Club. They were a fun bunch, even their crew. I can't remember getting on badly with anyone, honestly.
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