I’ve got a main gripe about live performances from artists with “big” songs who don’t play them: It’s just fucking selfish.
This blog was originally going to be about how Al Jourgensen (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, etc) sucks and how he sullied everything he started by giving a fucking TERRIBLE final tour in terms of the sets Ministry played. Ministry was my gateway drug into industrial along with Nine Inch Nails and a few other bands, and I still count Al’s works as a major inspiration for what I do. That makes it almost doubly disappointing that last year’s final Ministry tour focused pretty much exclusively on all the non-Paul Barker Ministry albums, aka everything post-Animositisomina. While I don’t hate those CDs at all, especially The Last Sucker and Houses of the Mole, he ignored EVERYTHING else until the last 30 minutes or so of the show. For a career retrospective, it rewrote the band’s history pretty heavily.
Same with the Revolting Cocks. It was known for its revolving door policy for contributors, but it’s now an industrial fucking Menudo with a bunch of guys, who for all intents and purposes are far from untalented, but they also are NOT the Revolting Cocks. Uncle Al is only going to even be appearing at a HANDFUL of the tourdates they just announced, and since William Tucker is no longer on this mortal coil, and Paul Barker and Chris Connelly (whose biography documenting his days in Ministry/RevCo is AMAZING) are doing other stuff, well…yup, fuckin’ Menudo.
Which brings me in a very roundabout way to my main point: If you’re an artist that has been blessed with a song (or even more blessed with multiple SONGS) that people love and want to hear, PLAY THEM THOSE SONGS. Trent Reznor has trotted out Head Like a Fucking Hole for 20-plus years now and (incredibly) still gives it his all. Most artists will barely have a song you remember two minutes after you hear it, let alone a “hit”.
There are worse crosses to bear, is all I’m saying.
Frankly, I would have dropped a few songs years ago from my live setlists, but people still want to hear them, I’m being paid (ahahahahaha) to entertain them, and goddammit I’m gonna do it. Does that mean I feel like mustering up the enthusiasm to do The Hustle again? Not always, no. But I do feel as if there’s a trade-off of me doing some stuff I really feel like performing AND giving the people what they want/know.
I give artists shit who flat-out refuse to play certain songs and it’s not out of disrespect to their “vision” or the fact that those artists have moved on artistically or whatever. I just think dismissal of your fans is disrespectful to THEM. Hell, if you’re sick of that version change it up a bit and surprise people with it, but totally denying someone something they love because YOU’RE sick of it…well, you shouldn’t have released it to begin with then. This doesn’t mean a song needs to be played every show, either. I think all artists who have played live enough deserve to give a track or two a rest, but don’t dismiss all of them simply because they’re popular.
Nobody can tell where lightening will strike, but don’t deny it ever existed when it burned your house down, y’know?
And Al– play the fucking RevCo tour. And stop pretending like Paul, Chris, William, and Bill, etc didn’t contribute a fuckton to your indsustrial metal empire.
A Fan Who Was Happy You At Least Played Thieves