DVD: Fix (2012)
Label: Gigantic Pictures/ Region: 1 (NTSC) / Released: April 10, 2012
Genre: Documentary / Music / Industrial Metal
Synopsis: Raw, entertaining fly-on-the-wall documentary of industrial metal band Ministry during several tour seasons.
Special Features: Deleted Interviews: “Stalkers” (2:55 + 3:17 + 2:38 + 4:13) + “Dope Fiends” (5:11 + 2:46 + 2:02 + 2:58) + “Aliens” (2:54 + 4:04 + 6:14) / Bonus CD (11 tracks / 52:26) / Poster / O-sleeve
Director Doug Freel managed to hang around industrial metal band Ministry long enough to not only earn the trust of band members during their European and U.S. tour dates (reportedly between 1996-2000), but gather a compendium of outrageous behaviour on film which, according to the myriad interviews with peers and colleagues, wasn’t unique to touring bands. When not performing, the musicians spent most of their time packed together in buses, and trying not to go crazy while far from lovers, friends, and family, but easily close to booze, drugs, and sleazy nymphomaniacs.
The centerpiece to the controlled chaos is lead singer Al Jourgensen, lead pioneer of the industrial metal sound. The term ‘controlled’ is used very loosely here, but regardless of how often Jourgensen shoots up, drinks, pukes, moons the camera, and in one memorable scene sodomizes a cooked chicken with his member, there are control measures which ensure the band stays together, delivers their music to fans, and moves on to the next gig, crossing international and state borders because it’s all part of the job.
The easy part here is to cite the crazy things Jourgensen commits on camera – and they are quite insane – but it’s (partly) an act, given he has a band persona that has to be delivered front & center to fans, some of whom the band knows are not always in the most stable states (mandating Jourgensen to don a bullet-proof vest, in case a lone loon wants to transform the singer into a martyr for some personal quest for narcissistic immortality).
The fact Jourgensen can still function is kind of a miracle when there’s so much substance flowing into him in liquid and injectible form, but he’s a survivor, still making music in spite of his (then) heroine use, and actively working and creating when the general assumption would be he shouldn’t be able to form fluid sentences.
Freel’s doc is a snapshot of a hard-living band, maintaining its relevance in spite of the fickle audiences; and the dissolution of Ministry’s relationship with Warner Music after a conservative regime took over company management. Some of the images on and off stage are both grotesque (David Yow pacing naked on stage is not a pretty site) and hysterically funny, and the visual weirdness is tempered by interview material from band members and colleagues taken at the time of the tours, and (presumably) a few years later with more sobering / humorous perspectives.
Many of the colleagues – Trent Reznor, Nivek Ogre, Dave Navarro – provide their own related anecdotes of tour behaviour and hard drug use, but pretty consistent among all of the musicians is their smart, articulate assessments on career, music, drugs, and positive life changes that are sometimes forced by pure exhaustion rather than legal or health issues. (The lone exception is maybe Casey Chaos, who swills Coke and booze by the mouthful at the commencement of an interview than turns into mumbled anthems on being an immortal rebel.)
Fix has a chaotic structure, but the whole mélange works with sharp editing, various video grades and limited use of colour, and music from Ministry plsu other sources. The DVD comes with bonus interviews that offer more self-reflective comments and interview extensions, and there’s a bonus CD packed with an hour of appropriately grungy, bass-heavy songs by Ministry bassist Paul Barker.
© 2012 Mark R. Hasan
Categories: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review