33 years ago yesterday, we played Houston Numbers with Ministry. There are pieces of that tour that blur into one here and there, but I remember Houston and William Tucker. Maybe four years earlier when I was living in New Jersey, so many songs on college radio at the time WPRB Princeton or WRSU new Brunswick were connected to William. Either Cleft Palate (his thing), or the fabulously named Leather Studded Diaphragm (I still have some stickers), or 15, or Spy Gods – produced by him. Eventually our paths crossed and, frustrated that no one would respond to the cassette demo packages we were sending out, we pooled a small amount of money (I had $60, I think he had $150, and a few others chipped in). We started Invisible Records. Fast forward a couple of years, and I am in Chicago working with Ministry and the guitar gig becomes open – regular guitarist Mike Scaccia had a tour with Rigor Mortis and couldn’t make it. My wife at the time, Leila, insisted that William get a shot and pestered Al until he agreed. We flew William out and I warned him it would be no ordinary guitar audition, but an opioid obstacle course, followed by maybe a surprise – here’s a guitar do or die chance. He, of course, passed with flying colours, and we were set! I still have a fax he sent to his girl in NJ at the time – I need to frame it!
A few weeks later he called me – out of his mind angry. The Rigor Mortis tour had been cancelled and now Mike Scaccia was available…..damn ……Al had offered him the keyboard tech gig and he was incensed, furious, and babbling. When I managed to get a word in I advised him…….listen man – take the gig – you’ve been around these lunatics – not everyone is going to make it through in one piece (ha!). Put your guitar in your bunk and be ready. Opportunity will knock.
It was in the car park at Numbers, sitting at the bus stop on the other side that I got to tell him the news……several members had flat out disappeared, and Ogre was still in Miami! He joined us on stage that first night… A couple of weeks later En Esch was badly, badly injured in an apartment fire (the subject of War Ich Nicht on the Pigface GUB album), and he got to jump in for KMFDM too. A few days later and we were in the studio with Steve Albini making the first Pigface album, and then he was on tour with us, then on the road with Thrill Kill Kult and Chris Connelly and I on Phenobarb Bambalam.
Man, alive he was a riotous difficult lunatic at times – well, most of the time. At least the last time we spoke (after some difficulties) we laughed til we cried. So, yeah, Houston Numbers is a legendary club and a great city and damn was that Ministry tour fucking crazy and the mosh pits and the fence. For me, I remember the bus stop. It was magic.
God bless William Tucker and remember, as he would post notes on the filing cabinets at the invisible offices – warning – cats may be asleep inside – slam drawers as hard as possible. ( I framed that one)
Peace and Respect
There are still numerous auctions happening on our eBay from apparel, a one of a kind Midwest F*ckers jacket (off my back!!), PiL items, Killing Joke Items, vinyl, a F*ck shirt reprint, and of course our experience auctions such as Spend a Night at the Museum! Check them out linked below!
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