Apr 2017 07

Sin Quirin brings ReGen up to speed on his latest endeavors, including a new power metal band, recording with some industrial heavyweights, and continuing to rock in 2017 and beyond!
 
Sin Quirin

 

An InterView with Sin Quirin of MINISTRY & RevCo

By Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

He’s been nominated for a Grammy; he’s performed with some of the hardest hitting bands in the metal, hard rock, and industrial music scenes; he’s become one of the most respected and hardest working musicians in modern music, and he’s still going strong and kicking ass at every turn. Sin Quirin – best known as one of Al Jourgensen’s key players in MINISTRY and RevCo, having landed on the Thirteenth Planet in 2007 – continues to make good on his talents, lending his abilities as a performer to a multitude of bands and artists. Besides that, he’s performed with the likes of Lords of Acid, Society 1, American Head Charge, Sarah Greene, and in 2016 recorded with Alien Vampires, Rust Punk Tribe, K.P. Riot Brigade, and KMFDM. Suffice to say, Sin’s a busy guy, so ReGen Magazine is grateful that the man took some time out of his schedule to speak with us about his current endeavors – including his new power metal band 3 Headed Snake – and just what we can expect to hear from him in 2017 and beyond.

 

I was just checking out the new track from 3 Headed Snake, which answered my first question of what you’ve been up to. And you premiered two tracks from that, ‘Wisdom Screams’ and ‘Catharsis.’

Quirin: Well, it’s sort of one-and-a-half songs, really.

How did 3 Headed Snake come together?

Quirin: 3 Headed Snake was a sort of an idea and a project that I started probably about a year ago. I met up with this old singer of mine from my very first band from what I was like 18-years-old. So I met up with him and we discussed sort of tracking, writing, recording some new material, but it would be throwback material, kind of like the style we were playing back in 1987, 1988. That’s what got the ball rolling. He had some health issues shortly after that, so he wasn’t able to do it anymore with me, so I’d written a couple of songs that sort of sat there. I got busy with MINISTRY, so then when I had some free time, I’d think, ‘Man, I really wish I had a singer for this material.’ It was just for fun; it wasn’t like I was trying to start a new band or do anything like that. It was honestly just for my own kicks. One night, I was online and I saw this ad for this vocalist, and I clicked on the link, which was a video of him singing in his home studio. I was blown away by it! ‘Wow, this guy is intense!’ So I reached out to him and kind of explained the situation to him that obviously MINISTRY is my main gig and takes priority over everything, but when and if he has time and if he’s interested, let’s move forward. I sent him the first song, which turned out to be ‘Wisdom Screams.’ He’s in Florida – I sent him the music, and a couple of days later, he sent me back the whole thing, and I thought, ‘Jesus Christ, this guy is killer!’ It’s just a fun project for me. I know that anytime I do something on the side, people think I’m going to do some industrial project or something. I understand that; I totally get it. But this is not that at all. This is me going back to my power metal roots. We have a handful of songs, and I’ve demoed them in my house, but the response has been pretty positive. I wasn’t going to release anything, but I sort of put my foot out there, and people replied in a very positive way, so I thought, ‘You know what? Let’s just do something, and if people dig it, great. If not, at least then I’ll happy with the material that we have, and that’s enough for me.’ We’re actually going to go into the studio here in the next month or two, and we’re going to track an EP. It will probably be a three song or a maybe five song EP, I’m not sure yet. I’ve actually been contacted by a few labels already, and I’m not even trying to push it, which is pretty funny that I’m being approached. But if something happens with a label, great. If not, I’ll put it out myself, and it’ll be a really cool metal project that I have on the side here. That’s the gist of 3 Headed Snake.

When I heard Johnny Ray’s voice on the two songs, I thought that it was everything I loved about Iron Maiden and Queensrÿche, and that whole power metal vibe.

Quirin: Totally! He’s a monster vocalist, man! I’m super proud of that guy, and we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel or anything here. It’s just good old fashioned classic power metal, and we’re just having fun with it. It’s a trip that people seem to be digging a lot more than I thought they would. I always get that initial, ‘Oh, is it going to be industrial? Is it going to be goth? This or that?’ No, that’s not what this project is about.

The ’80s are back, and I think it says something that it applies not just to retro new wave (synthwave as many call it), but also with the power metal.

Quirin: It’s a trip, man. Like I said, the response has been way more positive than I ever imagined. I honestly thought that just a couple of people would be like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s cool,’ but I get tons of e-mails and messages from people who are just waiting for us to do something. We are going to get into the studio in the next month or two, and I’ve got a drummer already and all set, and it looks like I’ll have a bass player as well. In the studio, it’s looking like I’m going to track all of the guitars myself. If and when it ever comes to a live thing, which I’m thinking down the road here, I may have another guitar player. But I’m not sure yet. I still haven’t decided yet. First I want to get a good quality product recorded, and then we’ll take it from there.

You also recently played the Randy Rhoads Remembered gig on the weekend of March 18-19. Was that you solo or part of a band?

Quirin: Basically, what happens is that the Randy Rhoads Remembered gig has been around for four or five years, and it’s usually one of the after-parties at NAMM. Usually, there is a core set of guys that are sort of like the house band, and they bring in different guest guitarists for each song. They asked me to do it, and gig was on Sunday, and I think I got the request for it literally the preceding Monday or Tuesday. It was really strange how it happened. Through a mutual friend, I got connected with Rudy Sarzo, so he and I had been texting each other for the past week or two, just trying to get together for lunch or coffee or something. So I think it was the last Monday that he asked, ‘Hey man, would you like to play Randy Rhoads Remembered?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, man! I’d love to! I’d be honored to do it!’ He put me in touch with Brian Tichy, who’s the drummer that put the whole thing together. So, we decided which song I was going to do… no rehearsals, because I was swamped. Literally, Sunday afternoon, I went down there for soundcheck, we played the song once, and then played the gig Sunday night. It was Rudy Sarzo on bass, Dewey Bragg singing, and Stephen Perkins from Jane’s Addiction on drums, and we played Ozzy’s ‘Suicide Solution.’ It’s one of my all-time favorites; it was just a blast! Randy’s sister and brother were there, and all of these top-notch musicians, and somehow, they included me. It was a trip!

MINISTRY continues to tour and perform, and as you said, it’s your main gig. Al Jourgensen has been hinting that a new MINISTRY album is in the works. Actually, when I InterViewed him prior to the election, he’d said that there was no way Trump would get elected, so I’ve wondered how he felt about that.

Quirin: (Laughter) Believe me, I know. MINISTRY is in full swing right now. We are recording the new record, and as soon as I hang up, I’m going back to the studio. We’re about halfway done with the new record, and dude, I say this every time we do an album, but… man, I don’t even know how to describe this record. People always ask, ‘What’s it sound like?’ I would say that it’s a mixture of Filth Pig, Dark Side of the Spoon, and Psalm 69. If you could imagine those three records and put them in a blender, that’s what you’d have. It is very, very close to Filth Pig and definitely has that vibe, but it’s like all three of those records on steroids and really pissed! And when I say that, I don’t necessarily mean that the record is brutally fast, because it really isn’t. But you know how intense Filth Pig was; imagine a song like ‘Lava’ or ‘Crumbs,’ that are slow but just as intense and heavy. That’s the vibe that this record has, and I think a lot of people will be pleasantly surprised. I think people are expecting us to be going a thousand miles-per-hour, and we’re really not, man! But somehow, it is just as heavy, if not heavier. That’s what the deal is with MINISTRY right now, and Al is doing amazingly in the studio. He’s playing more guitar on this record, and the production stuff he’s doing is through the roof. He is in top form right now, more so than on the last three or four records. He really is on top of his game right now, so I am beyond psyched for this record.

You’re always involved in several collaborations, and since the last time we spoke, you’ve worked with K.P. Riot Brigade, who just released the debut (apparently, I’m on it too), you did a track for Rust Punk Tribe, and you did some recordings for KMFDM.

Quirin: I did!

Let’s start with KMFDM. What can you tell us about working with KMFDM?

Quirin: It was one track I did with Sascha (Konietzko), and it was beyond awesome for me, being such a big KMFDM fan for so many years. I mean, way back, I’ve been a fan. It was something that I always hoped for and wanted to happen, and luckily… it might’ve even been through social media, like Instagram… either I reached out to Lucia or she reached out to me, something like that. And then Sascha and I started e-mailing each other, and he’s like, ‘Hey man, I’ve got this idea,’ and he sent me basically what was a drum track and he said, ‘See what you can do with it.’ So then I did my thing with it and sent it back, and then he sent it back, and it’s all done! It’s a classic KMFDM song, and I tried to add my own little flavor to it, but keep it in that KMFDM vibe. But yeah, I just played guitar all over this track, and I’m super excited to hear how it comes out.

 
KMFDM + Sin Quirin
 

As far as K.P. Riot Brigade, you had done a couple of tracks. How did you hook up with Dana James and become part of that collective?

Quirin: We met Dana, I want to say on tour when we played Florida, and… it wasn’t on the 2008 tour, but it might’ve been in 2009 on the RevCo tour, I think? I don’t remember, but we met him in Florida. I think Aaron Rossi started working with him first, and somehow, I ended up talking to Dana. Oh, you know what? It might’ve also been when a couple of years ago, I put out on social media that I was looking for session work, and I think he may have reached out to me about that. So, he sent me a track, and then I did guitars on it, and I think I’m like two or three tracks, but it’s been two or three years since I first did that, so I’ve lost track on what I did. But that’s kind of how that came about. When we toured in 2015, we hit Florida, and he came out so I got to meet up with him again, but by then, I’d already done my recordings for him. So basically, I tracked everything, sent him all of my parts, and he’s the one who’s been editing and manipulating everything, but he’s had my recordings for the past couple of years.

Apparently, I’m on the album as well, and I am credited, but I don’t recognize any of it because the track I recorded wasn’t on the album.

Quirin: Oh, that totally makes sense, because the versions that I got sound way different from the versions that are out now. I’ll be listening to the album thinking, ‘Is that me? No. Wait, is it?’ So, he did some manipulations, and there’s a lot of stuff on there, but it was fun, man.

So, was your working with Rust Punk Tribe the same situation?

Quirin: Oh yeah, it was the same thing. It was me putting out on social media that I was available for session work, man. That’s how I got the Alien Vampires track as well, and actually, I’m about to… and I don’t know when I’ll have time to, and I told Eric (Powell) this as well, but I’m going to be remixing a 16volt track. I’m really psyched about that because I’m a huge 16volt fan, and I love Eric. He’s such a nice guy. He sent me the stems and I have them, but I’ve just not had the time. I even told him that as long as there’s not a super big rush, to which he said I could take my time. So that’s the next big project I’ll take on, because as I said, right now is all pretty much MINISTRY stuff – writing, being in the studio, and we’ve got the first MINISTRY show on May 27 out here in California playing the Blackest of the Black festival with Danzig. It’s a two day festival on May 26-27, and we’re playing May 27. That’s the first MINISTRY gig, and then about a week after that, we’ll be flying to Europe and we’ll be in Europe pretty much throughout the entire month of June. The record, we’re hoping, will be out I would say by the end of summer or early fall. We’re planning and working towards a fall U.S. tour.

 
Blackest of the Black - Danzig & MINISTRY
 

That sounds awesome! Being the busy guy that you are, what haven’t we talked about that you want to let people know about?

Quirin: I just unveiled my guitar at the Hard Rock Café out here on Hollywood Blvd.

Is that the Schecter Sin Signature model?

Quirin: No, not the signature model. It’s a Schecter Corsair that I played in 2007 when Al and I played with Cheap Trick at the Hollywood Bowl. We did a couple of nights with Cheap Trick to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I donated this guitar three years ago, and it took three years to get it back to the Hard Rock Café, so we had this big ceremony for the big unveiling. It’s up on the wall with this big plaque next to it that talks about MINISTRY and it talks about me on there too. That’s cool; it was a really, really amazing ceremony, and it meant a lot to me because it’s back in my hometown – this guitar that was only used for those two shows at the Hollywood Bowl, and now it’s in this killer glass case at the Hard Rock Café.

The last time we spoke, you were working with Supermanic.

Quirin: Yeah, Supermanic is on the backburner right now. Charles Callahan – the singer – blew up as a producer, man! He’s been super busy with all kinds of really big bands that are like on the charts. So, he got busy and I got busy, but it’s still there and it’s something that we’ll go back to at some point once we both have enough time. He actually might be the guy producing this 3 Headed Snake record. He’s an amazing producer, and we’re still in contact. So one day, hopefully, I’ll go back to that Supermanic project as well.

You’d also said that you wanted to do something with a funky electro or disco vibe to it; have there been any developments with that?

Quirin: I’m turning that into the new Revolting Cocks record, man. I’ve already got some ideas down for the new RevCo album. It’s like if the ’70s porn scene had a soundtrack; that’s sort of what I’m writing for this new RevCo album, which will happen at some point. We don’t know when. I do have one really strong idea that I’ve already played for Al, and he loves it. It’s a total groove, funky, disco kind of ’70s track that he was totally into. After this MINISTRY album and the tour, I don’t know when we’re going to have time to squeeze this in, but we do want to do another RevCo album. That’s where I’m going to put all of this disco stuff in.

Were you aware that the past members of Revolting Cocks had reformed and toured and played at ColdWaves? What are your thoughts on it?

Quirin: Yeah! Honestly, man, I have no beef with anyone. I wish everyone well, and that includes all those guys. I think Phildo (Owen) met up with the guys in Houston, and I had a DJ gig right around the same time, and I think we missed each other by about a week or so. To me, it’s all good. I’m a fan of all the early Cocks stuff, and those guys were part of it, so I have no beef with any of them. Al might have a different answer than I do (Laughter), but it’s all cool with me. We’re all spreading the music around, and that’s cool. As long as everyone can be cool with each other, I have no problem with it at all.
But yeah, believe me, man… no matter how many years I’m with MINISTRY or will be with MINISTRY, I’m still going to be one of the new guys and I’m always going to get flak for it. Man, you can just imagine some of the shit that I have to deal with and that I get from old diehard fans. I mean, I get it, but then I don’t get it at the same time. You know I’m a huge KISS fan, and I’m a fan of the original KISS guys – like ’74 to like ’79, the original four guys, that’s what I’m a huge fan of. I saw them plenty of times after that and I’ve met them and played shows with them, and to me, those four original guys are always going to be what means the most to me and what I’ll remember as my favorite lineup. That being said, I could never see myself going online and talking shit about Tommy Thayer or Eric Singer. I don’t get that, man. Of course Peter Criss and Ace Frehley are going to be the original guys, but that doesn’t mean I should have to talk shit about the guys who come in after that. I don’t get it.

When I first came into RevCo, it was ’06, and that was the MasturbaTour, and during that tour is when Al asked if I was interested in helping him write the new MINISTRY record. So when MINISTRY went to Europe, I stayed in the States and started working on some ideas, and when they got back, he flew me to Texas and we started working on what became The Last Sucker. After that is when we did Cover Up, and he said he was shortening the name to just RevCo, and he wanted me on the album, which was cool. I asked him, ‘Well, what direction do you want to go in?’ He said, ‘Well, just write some cool rock electronica kind of stuff.’ My first train of thought was to go back to No Devotion and that kind of stuff, because that’s the stuff that I grew up listening to. That was my first instinct, but Al said, ‘No, that’s not the kind of stuff, I don’t want to go that way. I want this to be new and fresh and different.’ Ultimately, it’s his call and I have to follow his lead. But you know that I’m a fan of the old school and I dig all the early stuff, but we have to look at it… Al doesn’t want to repeat himself or do stuff that he’s already done, and as much as I’m sure I annoy him with my wanting to go back to this or that, I have to realize and totally understand his intent.
Even with the last set list, I had been bugging him to do ‘The Missing’ and ‘Deity’ for like 10 years… for 10 years, every time we talked about a tour, I was this annoying thing in his ear saying, ‘We’ve got to do these songs,’ and he’d cuss me out. And then somehow this past year, he was like, ‘Okay, you really want to do these songs? All right! We’ll do ’em!’ Man, to be able to play those and feel like you’re doing In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up, I would look over and see Al and feel like, ‘Man, I can’t believe that I’m up here! This is not happening!’ Some of those nights, I’d almost get lost and think, ‘Shit, I’m playing! I need to know what I’m doing here.’ I’d get so caught up in the moment of that experience. I’m sorry, I sidetracked from the question. (Laughter)

Will Clayton Worbeck and Josh Bradford be part of the new RevCo record, since they were so integral to Sex-O Olympic-O and ¿Got Cock??

Quirin: I don’t think they are, and we actually haven’t gotten that far yet. The core will be myself and Al, and I’m pushing for Al to be on it as much as possible, more so than he was on the last couple of RevCo records. I really think he’s going to be all over the new RevCo record, just like with this new MINISTRY record. He’s all over this thing! I don’t know who else – I’m sure we’ll have a cast of characters coming in and out of the studio to do special guest appearances and stuff like that. But I think the nucleus will be myself and Al working on the core, and I would love to have Phildo on a track, so any one of our friends. Al is very cool with that and it’s a very relaxed kind of attitude that he has in the studio right now. If a person is cool and we can get along with ’em, then bring ’em into the studio! Who knows who’s going to stop by, but I’m sure it’s going to be interesting.

Is there anything else you’ve got going on that you’d like to talk about?

Quirin: Man, I don’t think I have time for anything else. (Laughter) I’ve got 3 Headed Snake, which will hopefully see the light of day before the end of the year, and if everything goes as planned, we’ll release that EP by the end of summer/beginning of fall. We’re shooting a video for that project as well. And then MINISTRY on May 27 for the Blackest of the Black festival in Orange County, California, followed by the tour in Europe in June, with hopefully, a U.S. MINISTRY fall tour. The new MINISTRY record should hit around the fall as well. My plate is pretty full right now, so who knows what else is going to pop up, and before you know it I’ll be involved in some other project.

 

Sin Quirin
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MINISTRY/Al Jourgensen
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3 Headed Snake
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Photography by Leonardo Treviño, courtesy of Sin Quirin & Leonardo Treviño (Schecter Guitar Research)

 

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