Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lifelong Blackhawks fan and Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen writes a new team theme song

by Jeremy Schnitker

From the first game his father took him to a game at the old Chicago Stadium when he was just 6 years old, Al Jourgensen was hooked on Blackhawks hockey. Of course, most people now know Jourgensen as the frontman of seminal industrial-metal band Ministry, an act probably not associated with hockey. But Jourgensen has remained a die-hard fan of the team throughout all these years of rock stardom and even befriended Danny Wirtz, the grandson of late Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz. On March 5, the Blackhawk organization unveiled "Keys to the City," a song Jourgensen wrote for the team to play during games to get the crowd pumped.

How much does it mean to have this tangible influence on the organization after all the years of being a fan?
I'm freaking out. Even more is my dad's freaking out. We're talking about 44 years ago that my dad bought his first season tickets in the 300 level seats in the old stadium. Then I kinda worked my way down; I got a gold record with Land of Rape and Honey, so I bought 200 level seats. Then I bought 100 level seats after Pslam 69. Then I met Danny Wirtz, and now it's all over. I could die and go to heaven tomorrow.

How did the song come about?
It was something that I worked on with Paul Raven, my old bass player who passed away in October. After writing it, we were like, ‘Nah, this doesn't really sound much like Ministry,’ but it does sound like a hockey anthem. I put it on the shelf for a while, then all of a sudden the ’Hawks came out like gangbusters this year, so I blew the dust off the tape and I played it for Danny Wirtz while I was up for a game over Christmas. It just took off from there.

The good thing about this song is it's not really a Ministry song. There are families that come to the United Center. The last thing I'm sure the Wirtz family wants is a song where I'm cussing the whole time.

Do you know of any guys on the team that are big Ministry fans?
I guess [James] Wisniewski likes us, and Tuomo Ruutu I know loves us -- but he just got traded, of course. I think [Blackhawks chairman] Rocky Wirtz is sabotaging us: Whenever a guy likes Ministry I think they trade him, basically. [Laughs.]

You'll be back here at the House of Blues in May for the farewell tour. How does it feel to be getting ready for the last go-round?
Rock is for kids. I'm an old fart. I'm over it. I've got a label to run, I'm producing a bunch of other bands and doing a lot of soundtrack work. I'm probably busier now than I've ever been in my life. So it's time for me to step aside.

The tour couldn't be timed better, as far as hockey season goes…
They're [the Blackhawks] getting ready to embark on the playoffs, hopefully. And our last shows are in Chicago on the 8th, 9th and 10th of May, so if all works well, the ’Hawks will be in the playoffs and we'll be doing our shows here.