With a career that includes vocal duties for bands such as Ministry, Revolting Cocks, KMFDM, Pigface, Murder Inc. and Damage Manual, Chris Connelly has deservedly earned the label of industrial rock innovator. Now a successful singer/songwriter, Chris recently revisited some of his past exploits on the pages of his book "Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible and Fried: My Life as a Revolting Cock". What better time to ask him some questions about his views on how industrial and metal merged into the style we are familiar with now and how it continues to influence heavy music to this day?
Chris' book is now available through Amazon and other stores.
Hi Chris, this is Jerry from Metal Storm. First of all, let me thank you for agreeing to do this interview for us, its an honor. Your book, "Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible and Fried: My Life as a Revolting Cock", has recently been published. Could you please describe to the readers of Metal Storm what this book is all about?
Well, the book has several different themes really, on one level, it is about a young man leaving his home country and moving into a different situation in a new land-it is also, by default, a loose history of what is known as "industrial rock", it's a cautionary tale without much obvious resolution, it's a coming of age story, and it's an expose of a rock band on the road.
Of particular prominence in the book are your experiences with the sex, drugs and rock'n'roll lifestyle that Ministry and RevCo favored. It was highly entertaining for me to compare your stories with those of other musicians, for example, Lemmy of Motorhead. Do you have any insights about the role of drugs in rock music? Do they help?
I have never found that drugs help in the creative process, but that's my personal experience, there were far, far too many drugs around in those days, and they are very destructive, yes-fun times were had, but it was not worth it.
In the late 80s and early 90s many bands previously associated with the post-punk and industrial genres started moving towards metal. Since you were involved with many of these bands, I am wondering if you have any insights on this trend? What made metal so attractive for you and your peers?
I think because the music was aggressive, the people were aggressive and as such sought to make loud & fast music, heavy metal has always had that reputation
The aforementioned metal direction that Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, Killing Joke and many others pioneered turned out to be highly influential on the metal world. How much of this was a planned, conscious mixture of styles and influences? Or did you arrive at the style by accident?
I can't say for sure, but bands like KILLING JOKE grew out of punk, but were doing something a lot more intelligent than punk in a way, I think though that ultimately bands like us, nails & kmfdm just wanted to "rock out" and still use the technology & machinery.
Sampling was one of the most recognizable elements of the style of bands like Ministry, KMFDM, RevCo and Killing Joke. I always wondered how far this ideology of borrowing and quoting sounds from various sources went? Were the guitar riffs and vocal melodies also treated in the same way?
No, I think one of the things that made it good was the definite distinction between borrowing and creating.
As a follow up to the previous two questions, was a song like TV Song influenced by Napalm Death or other grindcore bands?
God lord no! it was just a laugh really!
RevCo in 1993: Al Jourgensen, Mike Scaccia, Bill Rieflin, Paul Barker, Duane Denison, Chris Connelly
You are well known for your unique singing style. You performed with KMFDM, Murder Inc., Pigface, Revolting Cocks and Damage Manual, among others. To this day I can hear echoes of your style in various bands in genres both related and very distant to industrial metal. What influenced you to sing in this way?
I don't know, I was trained and sang in a choir, my first love was definitely Montiverdi, but I discovered David Bowie, Alice Cooper and then later on Punk came around, Dave Vanian, Steve Ignorant, Andy Blade, all fantastic vocalists who influenced me.
How did you come up with the vocal stylings of "Cannibal Song"? It is one of the 'weirdest' performances I can think of.
Al wanted it to sound like John Lydon!
Revolting Cocks on tour in 1990 (featuring a then relatively unknown Trent Reznor)
Your solo stuff has meanwhile developed in a much different direction. Why the switch in musical direction? Did you try to distance yourself from the abrasive rock of Ministry and Revolting Cocks? Or was it a natural progression and evolution of your interests?
It felt natural, I was also doing both at once for a while, I play host to a number of different personalities in my mind!
What upcoming projects can we expect from you?
My new album "Forgiveness & Exile" is out in May, all proceeds go to the Marjorie Kovler center which provides aid and counseling for victims of torture the world over, the album deals with this topic, which I feel very strongly about
Damage Manual: Martin Atkins, Chris Connelly, Geordie Walker, Jah Wobble
Do you think you will revisit the harsher style you used to do? Do you still like metal or abrasive and heavy music in general?
If I listen to extreme music, it has to be the most extreme, Whitehouse, Throbbing Gristle, Keiji Heino, for example...
I could see myself making a truly pure and extreme sounding record that might make people throw up & faint!!!!
That seems like something worth looking forward to! Thank you once again for this interview, I believe it will shed some light on an important era in the evolution of alternative music and metal.
Whitehouse "Twice Is Not Enough", an album that Chris was involved with
Posted on 04.03.2008 by
With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. Privately not actually an asshole, he lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he runs his small graphic and web design business.