INTERVIEW: Sin Quirin Talks All Things Ministry & What It’s Like to be a Fan of the Band You’re In

Since 2006, Sin Quirin has been a mainstay in Al Jourgensen’s stable of musicians. Contributing to both Ministry and the Revolting Cocks, Sin has been nominated for two Grammy’s, has a Schecter signature series guitar, and remains one of the most down to earth dudes you could ever talk to. the void report is happy to present our chat with Sin, where we discuss all things Ministry: past, present, and future.


the void report: I did an interview with Cesar Soto a couple of weeks ago and he told me that you were the one who originally reached out to him about playing guitar for Ministry.

Sin Quirin: When it was time for us to look for another guitar player, I initially thought of Cesar. We had another guy come in briefly, who was a little bit more well known. But, Cesar was definitely the guy that I wanted initially. I’m glad it worked out and we ended up with Cesar.

the void report: The EternaTour seemed to be a success on all accounts.

Sin Quirin: It really was, man. I think it surprised even us as far as the response we got from everyone. It seemed to have gone over extremely well, everyone seemed to dig the band, the lineup, the sound. And I attribute a lot of that to Al being in great spirits, feeling healthy and just the camaraderie the band had this time around. It showed on stage.

Sin Quirin, far left, performs with Ministry at the Bomb Factory in Dallas, TX.
Sin Quirin, far left, performs with Ministry at the Bomb Factory in Dallas, TX.

the void report: I saw you in Dallas, which was the third or fourth show on the tour, and you guys were tight.

Sin Quirin: Thanks, man.

the void report: I’m a long time Ministry fan. And when you’re a fan of any band for a long time, there are songs you kind of get sick of.

Sin Quirin: Sure.

the void report: And I’ve been known to tell people I’m sick of “Thieves.” But, at the show when y’all kicked into “Thieves,” It was fucking awesome. I have no idea what I was thinking. It blew me away.

Sin Quirin: I’ve been doing “Thieves” for years with the band as well. And I’m like you, man. I’m a long time fan. I was listening to the band when I was right out of high school. So, I love the old stuff, too. If it were up to me, I would probably throw a lot of old material in there. And I’ve co-written a lot of the newer stuff. From The Last Sucker on, I co-wrote a lot of that stuff with Al. But, I would sacrifice those songs for some of the old stuff that I am just a fan of…I just keep going back to being a fan of the band. But, I’m glad you dug “Thieves,” man. It seems to be a crowd pleaser, especially on this tour. But, I dunno the band sounds really tight right now.

the void report: Since the tour ended it seems you’ve been busy with various projects. Anything you can mention here?

Sin Quirin: Yeah, I always try to stay busy doing anything I can. Recently, I’ve been doing remixes and that’s been keeping me busy. I’m having a lot of fun with that. What I’m working on now is a Jesika Von Rabbit remix. She’s a really talented female singer-songwriter. Actually, tonight…I think is her first night on tour with Eagles of Death Metal. I’m finishing up her remix as we speak. So, I’ve been doing that. I’ve been doing an Alien Vampires song that should be out very soon. I did some guitar on that.

I’ve been doing DJ gigs. I did one in El Paso a couple of weeks ago. I’m doing one in Mexico City in November. And that’s about it. Just staying busy with remixes and writing music. I’ve got some stuff up my sleeve that I’m going to unleash probably early next year. I’m working on some stuff for myself, actually. I don’t want to call it a solo record or anything. I’ve always hated the sound of that. It makes me think of an ego-maniac kind of thing. And I hate things like that. But, I am writing and doing all the parts and also bringing in guests and vocalists. I hope to release it early next year. I’ll be filming The Bridge, the movie, in early 2016 as well. It looks like in the first quarter we’ll be filming The Bridge movie. Then the 2016 summer tour for Ministry in Europe.

the void report: Before we move to next year, you’ve got Rock In Rio coming up, right?

Sin Quirin: Yeah, next week, man. I got to start practicing the set (laughs).

the void report: I was gonna ask, are you guys rehearsing or at this point can you guys just sort of….wing it? (Laughs) Not to belittle it…

Sin Quirin: (Laughs) Well, we are professionals. We’re each rehearsing on our own. You know we started the first leg in Australia in February and then did South Africa, South America and Mexico. Then we did the states and Canada. At this point everybody’s kind of scattered over the country right now. So, we’re rehearsing on our own and meeting up in Rio next week. (Laughs) You know…we’re just gonna show up and play one of the biggest festivals in the world. You know….(Laughs)

the void report: Piece of cake.

Sin Quirin: Just another day at the office, man.(Laughs). Actually, that’s what I’m gonna do when we finish this call (Laughs). Gonna pick up my guitar and start going over the set again.

the void report: Who’s playing bass?

Sin Quirin: Tony Campos.

the void report: Okay, I wasn’t sure if Fear Factory was playing. I know Burton Bell is lined up to appear with you guys.

Sin Quirin: You know, I don’t think they’re playing the festival. But, Burton is coming out and doing basically what we did in 2008 on the CULaTour where Burton came out and sang the classics with Al. That’s what Burton’s gonna be doing. So, he’ll come out and probably do the last 4 or 5 songs with us.

the void report: Going to 2016, I know Wacken is on the books. Are there going to be other UK dates beyond that?

Sin Quirin: That’s what we’re hoping for. I’m thinking…every time we go to Europe, we do UK and Europe, so I’m anticipating the same thing. A UK run, then the festival run in Europe, and also in-between festival shows, we’ll do club and theatre dates.

Sin Quirin of Ministry.
Sin Quirin of Ministry.

the void report: Are you recording anything on this final tour? Live recordings?

Sin Quirin: Not that I know of. We haven’t yet. I don’t think we recorded anything on the last two runs. So, I don’t think so.

the void report: Going back to your own Ministry fandom. You said you got into them when you were in high school. What was your first Ministry album?

Sin Quirin: It was like…say…about 89 or so when I first got into them. I was, at the time, well…I’ve always been a metal guy, ever since I started playing. But, I think it must’ve been The Land of Rape and Honey. And I was just blown away with the record. It was just, “Wow.” I hadn’t heard anything like that and here I was in this kind of thrash band that I was playing with and that just really kind of turned everything upside down for me. And even back then, as primitive as it was for me, I was sort of starting to put electronics and stuff into what I was doing. Nowhere near what these guys were doing, but it planted that seed. And so I started to incorporate that with some of my early bands in LA. We didn’t always see eye to eye. Here I was in these thrash bands and instead of playing a solo, I was trying to throw in some keyboards and shit, or whatever (Laughs). And it wouldn’t always go over well. But, yeah, that was sort of my first, and the whole black Box thing, I just got into everything they were doing. That was a big, eye-opening thing for me. But, Ministry and Al and all his projects are a big part of my early writing influences and the direction I wanted to go in.

the void report: Yeah, right on.

Sin Quirin: Just to be lucky enough to be in the band and write songs with him, all the experiences I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of…it’s still a trip. It’s still weird. There were times where I was in the studio with him, more so the earlier records, and we would be sitting across from each other and he would look at me and say, “Well, what do you think we should do here?” And I’m like, “What? You’re Al Jourgensen, man!” It would blow my mind. It’s definitely one of those pinch me moments. And I still get that. I’ve told him that. I still get that sometimes on stage. Especially when Mikey (Mike Scaccia) did the 2012 tour with us.

I was huge Mike Scaccia fan and to have done that tour with him was just a big dream for me. There were a couple of nights where we were up on stage and I would go over to Mikey’s side and I would be to his right. And we would be playing some of the classics, you know “NWO,” “Just One Fix,” or whatever, “So What.” And I would be standing right next to Mikey and I would look over to my left and there’s Al and I was just like…I’m playing these songs that I just worshipped, you know what I mean? When I was growing up. I would just be like, “What the fuck? How did I end up here?” It was just a dream come true. The hair stood up on the back of my neck. It was a trip. I feel so lucky to have done this stuff with the band and very lucky that I got to play with Mikey because that was a big thing.

the void report: I was gonna say, I grew up in Arlington, TX, which is home of Rigor Mortis (Scaccia’s former band). Oh and then there’s that other metal band you maybe have heard of…(sighs) Pantera. [ed-We love Pantera]

Sin Quirin: (Laughs) Yeah.

the void report: But, when I was learning to play guitar…in my neighborhood it was a Rigor Mortis neighborhood. And when I’d meet somebodies older brother, or whatever, they would always tell me, “You have to listen to Rigor Mortis.” So, it was also a big deal for us when Mikey joined Ministry. We felt like we were really on the map. That was our guy. It was a big deal.

Sin Quirin: Yeah, definitely. SQ05

the void report: Well, not to put you on the spot, but do you have any Mikey stories you can share?

Sin Quirin: I first toured with Mikey in 2006, actually. When I was playing guitar for Revolting Cocks. That tour was the MasterBaTour, it was the Revolting Cocks opening for Ministry. And that was when I first came into this camp, the whole Al Jourgensen/Ministry camp. And I came on board as the Revolting Cocks guitar player and I got to hang out with Mikey a little bit on that tour, not a whole lot, but a little bit. But on this last run in 2012, we really got to hang out and spend time together. We rehearsed for a whole month before the tour, so we got to spend all that time together out in El Paso. And with Mikey, man, we were always laughing and cracking up, cracking jokes. We got along so well. And he welcomed me as if I had been in the band forever. He was that kind of guy. Cause, you know, I’ve had run-ins with other guys who have also been guitar players in this band who didn’t really welcome me, you know…that nicely. And Mikey, from day one, when we realized we were going to do the 2012 tour he called me up and he said he just got the word from Al that we’re going out on the road and he was really happy I was coming along. And he didn’t have to do that stuff, but that just shows what kind of guy he was and that there was absolutely zero ego with him. He just cared about the music and nothing else at all. That always meant a lot to me.

Speaking of Cesar, I hoped and wanted to…and hope I was able to welcome him into the band the way Mikey welcomed me in. I didn’t want to be like, “well, I’ve already been playing here a couple of years longer than you have so this my territory.” I didn’t want it to be like that. I wanted to welcome Cesar in the way Mikey welcomed me into the fold. But, yeah it was just a crack-up with Mikey. The one thing I will say, after the tour when we got the word we would be writing a new record, Mikey was so stoked about us actually writing music together in a room. That was something that he always stressed when we got the word about the new record. So, I started writing some riffs in LA, Mikey started working on some riffs in Dallas. Then I got to El Paso a week or two before Mikey did. So I started laying down some of my ideas. Then Mikey showed up, but everyday he was like “man, let’s jam, let’s jam.” He just wanted to play. And it was a really cool feeling, because it was an old school feeling. It’s the way we used to do it before. We all got in the room together and jammed and just came up with stuff. There’s some videos of that on YouTube on the making of From Beer to Eternity. Where you can see us literally coming up with riffs right on the spot and we’re bouncing ideas off each other. Those things were just huge to me. Very lucky, very, very blessed to have been able to do that with Mikey.

the void report: You mentioning that he always wanted to jam reminds me of stories people have told me over the years that he was constantly practicing. He had a guitar in his hands all the time.

Sin Quirin: Yeah, yeah. He always had his guitar with him and he was always noodling, jamming, doing something on the guitar. In between us eating burgers and stuff. But, yeah, he was always with his guitar. He loved playing guitar, whether it was just himself in a room or us jamming in front of 50,000 people. He just loved having his guitar with him.

the void report: I really like the Buck Satan record because it showed another dimension to his playing.

Sin Quirin: Yeah, great album. I think its underrated. And I think Mikey did some great stuff on that album.

the void report: And then that Rigor Mortis album, that’s gotta be the most bittersweet album I’ve ever heard. 45 seconds into the first song I had my head in my hands, just asking myself why?

Sin Quirin: I know man, he was so out of this world with his playing. And I hope at some point he gets the proper credit he deserves.

the void report: Shifting gears, you mentioned earlier that if you had your druthers you would put some more of the older material in the live set. What are some of the songs you would want to play?

Sin Quirin: “Deity.” I would love to do “Deity.” “Breathe.” I would do “Land of Rape and Honey,” what’s the other song…”The Missing!” I would just shit myself if we ever played that live. And I’ll say this, I tried very hard to get some of those songs into the set and for whatever reason it didn’t work out. But, every tour, man…I’m always the guy who is annoying Al with a “Hey, man let’s do this one.” And I know I get on his nerves, but I’m that guy. I love those songs, man. Its just stuff that to me is timeless. You know, that stuff sounds just as fresh today as it did then. All the stuff on In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up (Live). That’s one of my favorite records. Some of those songs, just to name a few. I would just shit myself if we played them live. And we rehearsed some of them, but they just didn’t make it into the set. We did “Psalm 69” on the 2012 tour which is cool, I always loved that song. But, the stuff on In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up (Live), I think it was in 2008, I actually got to play some of those songs with Mikey. And the final night of that tour was in Austin and Mikey came up and I think we did “Breathe,” and what was the other one we did? We might have done “The Missing.” I’m not sure. But, we had Mikey playing guitar and that was a cool thing. People went fucking ape shit, man. They went ballistic when we started playing those songs.

the void report: Yeah, “The Missing” and “Deity” or “Deity” and “The Missing,” however they are back-to-back on the album.

Sin Quirin: Yeah, dude. Forget about it. I would come out to just do those two songs and leave. I love those songs, man. I still have hope, I still have hope.

Band 03the void report: Well, if there’s one song on the last record that I would’ve wanted played, it’s “Change of Luck.” Because that song is amazing.

Sin Quirin: Thank you. I appreciate that. I’ll tell you how that one came about. That was the last song that we recorded with Mikey in the studio. That song started as a percussion idea that I had and I still have that percussion idea demo on my laptop that I’m on right now. So, it was the final day with Mikey there and I had this idea and went into the studio and basically loaded up the percussion idea we had onto the console and built the song up from there. After that percussion thing, it was me and Mikey and Al was in there. And Mikey was noodling around and the vibe I was going for was a very, you know, middle-eastern, sitar-y kind of vibe. And Mikey started noodling around with that and came up with that little sitar melody. Then I put the verse chords on there, the chorus chords on there, and I did the solo on there. And I think Al added that final, “your luck is gonna change” part at the end. And I went back and did that and added those chords. But, that’s kind of how that song happened. It happened in the studio and it was the last one we did with Mikey. And I love that song. I’m very proud of that song. I think it sounds great. I wanted to play that song, too. It was on the list, too. But didn’t make it into the final set.

the void report: Whenever I listened to From Beer to Eternity for the first time, I can’t remember…”Change of Luck” is track 10 or 11? And the first nine songs, I’m was just like this pretty cool, this is a good album…I like this song and that song. And then when the song gets to the “your luck is gonna change” part, I was totally caught off guard. It came out of left field and his voice sounds great without all the distortion.

Sin Quirin: I think that part steps it up, takes it to a whole new place. Thanks a lot. I’m glad you dig the tune, man. Its always a trip for me to here what people think about the stuff. I’m always interested in what people think about it and usually its not very good feedback that gets back to me. So, its refreshing to hear that someone digs something.

the void report: Well, yeah! “Let’s Go,” that’s one of yours, right?

Sin Quirin: Yeah.

the void report: I fucking love that song, dude.

Sin Quirin: Oh, thanks. I’m actually working on video tutorial on “Lets Go.” I posted a video a couple of weeks ago, a little snippet of the solo to “Punch in the Face.” People really dug that and started writing me. People have been asking for videos and tutorials for years and really, I didn’t think anyone cared to be honest. But, a lot of people have asked about “Let’s Go” and a lot of people have written tabs and then sent them to me and they’re almost right, but they’re not. And it’s actually a very simple song. But, I want to go over everything and show all the parts and stuff like that. But, thank you, I appreciate that. I’m really, really glad to hear that somebody digs the song.

the void report: Well it’s got to be a complement that someone took the time to try to tab out the song.

Sin Quirin: Big time, man. Big time. You have no idea man how much I appreciate the positive feedback. You know how it is man…on the internet. Everyone’s a tough guy and tries to put you down and stuff like that. We get a lot of that. We try not to take it to heart, but it is nice to hear every now and then. You know, it is blood, sweat, and tears for us when we’re writing. We put a lot of ourselves into it and its a very personal thing, whenever you write something. So, of course, I always feel humbled and very much appreciate anybody who takes the time to say anything. Especially when it’s nice.

the void report: Double Tap” is another one of my favorites. Isn’t that one of yours?

Sin Quirin: Yes, it is. I’ll tell you the story about “Double Tap.” I wrote “Double Tap” in 2006? 2006 or 2007. It was originally written for The Last Sucker album. Al came to me when I was working on The Last Sucker and he said he wanted it to have a very Indian/Middle Eastern sounding vibe to it. I started working on it and there’s this intro that’s not on the album version, I have the original demo version…the…

the void report: The uncut version.

Sin Quirin: The uncut version. It has an extended intro which is fucking awesome. It has a slightly longer solo and it is brutal. The intro would give you chills and nightmares if you heard it. Its this real slow Indian/Middle Eastern sounding tones and stuff like that with this real war veteran talking. And you hear war sounds and noises in the background and he’s recounting some of his war experiences and what he saw…the casualties. It’s really creepy man. It sets this mood. It’s really dark and when this guy talks it’s really riveting. Then it hits into what you hear on the Relapse record. I still have that version. So we did that, but Al didn’t want to put it on The Last Sucker and I fought and I fought and I’m pretty sure I begged and cried to get it on the album. But, he just didn’t think it fit on the album. But, me and the engineer were like, “Man, this song has to make the album.” It didn’t go on the album and it got shelved. I didn’t know if it would ever see the light of day. And at the time, that was the last Ministry album. So, I was like, “well, that’s it. That song’s never going to see the light of day.” Then around 2011, I was out playing guitar for American Head Charge and I got a call from the Ministry camp and they told me they were going to put it on Relapse. And we rehearsed “Double Tap” for the 2012 tour, but it was one of those that didn’t make the final cut.

the void report: Well, did you ask Al why he cut the intro on “Double Tap?”

Sin Quirin: No.

the void report: (Laughs) You were just glad it was out there.

Sin Quirin: I knew better. I don’t question Al and what he does in the studio. That’s his genius. He knows what he’s doing. I may not always agree, but he’s usually right when it comes to the studio stuff. But, who knows, maybe one day we’ll release a rare tracks album. I’ve played it for several people and they’ve always been, “God damn! That is brutal.” It sets such a mood and a tone for that song. That intro is so creepy. It’s got that long intro and, like I said, the solo is a little longer as well and then the outro goes back to the beginning and you can hear flares and bombs going off in the background. It’s trippy. I hope people get to hear it at some point.

Ministry play Rock In Rio September 19, 2015
Ministry play Rock In Rio September 19, 2015

the void report:  Yeah, that sounds really cool. Going back to In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up (Live). You know we just had the 25th anniversary of its release? In a way, that album kind of ruined The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste for me.

Sin Quirin: Me, too.

the void report: I just liked the live versions of those songs better.

Sin Quirin: Same here. I play the live version, not the studio version of those songs.

the void report: Then back in July was the 24th anniversary of Psalm 69. Do you have any favorites on that album?

Sin Quirin: You know what song I always dug? I don’t know if everyone else dug it. Obviously, I like all the big hits from that record. But, I was always a real big fan of “Hero.” I always loved that song. There’s something about it. And that’s a song we rehearsed in 2012 with Mikey and it just didn’t make it, man. But, I got to tell you, being in the rehearsal room with Mikey playing that tune was one of those moments where I had chills. So, I would probably say “Hero,” if I had to pick just one.

the void report: well, I’m out of questions, dude. I was prepared for 15 minutes. We’ve gone way over that. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.

Sin Quirin: Yeah, man. My pleasure.

the void report: Best of luck at Rock In Rio.

Sin Quirin: Thanks a lot, man. It’s gonna be a blast.


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