December 17th, 1988 - Ministry Plays Their Last Show at City Gardens (Or Smoking Crack in the Shower with Gibby)

December 17th, 1988 - Ministry Plays Their Last Show at City Gardens (Or Smoking Crack in the Shower with Gibby)

The following is an excerpt from the book No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens by Amy Yates Wuelfing and Steven DiLodovico

Ministry – December 17, 1988

[This is the last time Ministry would play City Gardens -ed.]

Al Jourgensen (Ministry): I knew we were getting big when the tour manager booked a separate room in the hotel just for our drugs. We had to go to that one room to shoot up. You couldn’t do it in your own room [or you might] get arrested. That’s when I knew I wasn’t hitting on something good. This was a few years before “Jesus Built My Hotrod” with [Butthole Surfers frontman] Gibby Haynes. Gibby is the most astute, yet insane, person I have ever met in my life. He is absolutely astute and absolutely insane. He grew up with a famous TV clown for a dad, which would make anybody insane. One time, me and my buddy Mike were at my house, and Gibby stole all my crack. Then he proceeded to smoke it all in front of us with my stolen pipe! Me and Mikey got pissed and beat the living crap out of Gibby. You know what he did? He got up, all bloody, and stole the rest of my crack. The guy is relentless. I love that guy. We’re BFFs forever. You know what else? He did that to me twice. Once, he did so much crack he thought he was covered in spiders. He’s freaking out and scratching himself to the point of blood. I take off his clothes and throw him in the shower, and he’s in the shower, naked, washing the spiders off, or so he thinks. And what’s in the shower? A black widow spider… a real one. He freaks out again, and I went got a gun and shot the spider. I blew up my shower stall for Gibby. The first time I met him was at the first Lollapalooza. I got into a fist fight with Henry Rollins at that Lollapalooza. It was brutal. He called me a scumbag junkie, and I’m like, “What is your fucking malfunction? Live and let live.” And then he started beating his chest like a gorilla and freaked out. We got into a fight, but people jumped in right away so I didn’t get my ass kicked, because he would have kicked my ass. He had people holding him back, and he’s yelling and screaming, and I’m just like, whatever. So, later that night I’m at the studio and Gibby comes down. I had this song I didn’t know what to do with vocally, so I said, “Why don’t you take a crack at it?” I had met him a couple times before that. One time it was at a motel in Oklahoma, where we were doing mushrooms together, and I never laughed so hard in my life. That guy is the funniest motherfucker ever. During the recording of “Jesus Built My Hotrod,” Gibby was drunk off his ass, slurring all over the place, sitting on a stool. Then he’s so drunk he can’t even sit on the stool. He was literally falling… face planting on the floor. So we switched out the stool for a chair, and he can’t even sing words. He starts singing gibberish. I spent the next two weeks editing it together to make a chorus and a verse out of it.

Randy Now: One time I called Al Jourgensen’s house to talk to his wife Patty, who was his manager, to book him for a show. His little daughter answered the phone, crying. I said, “What’s the matter?” She said, “Mommy’s sleeping and won’t wake up.” I said, “Where is she?” She says, “She’s on the floor sleeping, and she won’t wake up.” I asked if her daddy was there, and she says no. I had no idea what to do. This was before cell phones, the internet, Facebook. So, I called the Chicago police department. I tried to explain what had just happened, but they just didn’t get it. Plus, I didn’t have their address. I’m not sure what happened, if the police showed up or what. Patty didn’t die, so I guess it turned out okay.

[In 1986, former Regressive Aid guitarist William Tucker released a record under the name Swinging Pistons. The record got the attention of Al Jourgensen, who invited him to Chicago. -ed.]

Sim Cain: Shortly thereafter, Billy [Tucker] moved to Chicago and things really took off for him. Billy contacted me about a year before he died, and the two of us went out. He wasn’t drinking at the time, which was amazing. And he was telling me things like he was considering ideas like growing old gracefully. This shit was startling to me. First that he was telling me these things, and then a year later he took his own life. If people don’t want to talk about Billy now, I think it’s out of respect for him. He was capable of amazing sweetness. He was a rock star before he was famous. It was a lifestyle he embraced and an aesthetic he went for. He was a little Keith Richards, and a true music aficionado.

Amy Yates Wuelfing: I recall going into Princeton Record Exchange where Billy worked, and he had two records in his hand: Skinny Puppy and Swing Out Sister. He was equally excited about both of them. He wasn’t snob about music. He loved it all.

Sim Cain: Billy even liked Ministry when they were doing that horrible Duran Duran type music. He chased down the musicians he really liked and ended up working with most of them. We all had a complete appreciation for music. We would take notes and catalog it all. We were like librarians with alcohol. There were a lot of amazingly creative people around at that time… a lot of artists and musicians. I thought all my friends were brilliant. I thought that someday people would be writing about us the way they did about the ex-pats in Paris. I was really lucky to have spent time in their presence.

[On May 14, 1999 William Tucker took his own life. He was 38 years old. -ed.]

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