Paul Barker is best known as the former bassist for Ministry & he created what would be the architecture of the band alongside Al Jourgenson up until his departure from the band.
I had the opportunity to speak with Paul during a promotion for the film "FIX" which is a behind the scenes look at how Ministry worked on & off stage in 1996.
Paul's demeanor for this interview was not extremely friendly & he didn't really warm up to me until the interview was basically over...when I had asked all of my questions Paul turned the interview back on me & asked my opinion of the film & once I explained to him that I didn't understand the entire world they portrayed in the film, that I had never done hard drugs nor understood the reasoning behind using them like Al did/does it was clear that Paul warmed up to me a bit & understood where I was coming from...prior to that point though Paul's answers were not necessarily friendly when delivered & he even pointed out that he was annoyed by my questions....without any further ado, here's my interview with Paul Barker!
Rock N Roll Experience: Did you quit Ministry or were you fired?
Paul Barker: I quit Ministry
Rock N Roll Experience: Was there any particular reasons why you quit Ministry?
Paul Barker: Well of course, you don't do things for no reason, right? (laughs), it's not like you are a chicken.
Rock N Roll Experience: Can you give me any reasons why you quit?
Paul Barker: Because I was no longer satisfied with being whatever...in the band.
Rock N Roll Experience: In the "FIX" movie Buzz from The Melvins & Al Jourgenson both state that the movie could all be a joke & that the drug use & crazy behavior isn't real, is the way Al acts in the movie for real or an act?
Paul Barker: Well, (laughs) I mean, he (Al) knew the camera was on when the camera was there so there's that. I mean I don't even know what to say, I mean that's Al...I mean whatever, sometimes people are goofy, sometimes they are angry, sometimes, you know, whatever, do you know what I am saying? I mean it's not, look dude, there was a shitload of footage & it's been edited so perhaps that's a better question for the film maker.
Rock N Roll Experience: There's one scene towards the end of the movie where Al goes on with one of his conspiracy theories & the look on your face seems like you're annoyed with Al, were you annoyed with his ranting or am I just reading more into that scene that there is?
Paul Barker: (laughs) Do I really have to answer that question? I mean, you saw it, you felt it, it's like, what, wait, what are you talking about? You have the skill of interpretation, right? I mean sure, it's an intensely...was I annoyed? Is that your question?
Rock N Roll Experience: Yes
Paul Barker: More annoyed than I am right now? (laughs)
Rock N Roll Experience: Well you have to realize, I don't know you personally so I don't know how you act in real life, I could have just read more into that scene that there really was, I don't know you personally so I can't really tell what you were feeling, that's just my take on it.
Paul Barker: Yeah....it was pretty absurd, so yeah...I mean, remember in the film when Dave Navarro was astutely talking about Monster A & Monster B...that's the answer right there.
Rock N Roll Experience: You have to realize, I don't personally know you guys, I don't know how hard drug users are, I'm looking at it from the outside & I have no clue how things are when hard drug use is involved so when I watch the movie it's a world I don't know.
Paul Barker: ok, I got ya.
Rock N Roll Experience: As a parent, would you be upset if David from Jesus Lizard walked around naked onstage infront of your kids?
Paul Barker: No! Give me a break, it's just art! Who cares? I mean it's just whatever, it comes & goes...I mean whatever, it's a f**king naked body, who cares? I mean it's different if he was shoving a giant dildo up his ass or something, you know, but whatever...it's just so lame, I mean what's wrong with this country, we are so lame it's unbelievable. The answer is no, I don't care, my kids can see naked bodies, I don't care, I mean it's beneficial...some are nice to look at & some aren't, who cares? I mean, nude beaches, whatever! Who cares?
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you have any thoughts on Paul Raven & Tony Campos?
Paul Barker: I don't really have any thoughts, I mean whatever...I was very unhappy to hear of Raven's passing & that blows, I liked him quite a bit & I think I've met Tony a couple of times on tour over the years but it's cool, whatever, it's fine...when I decided that I was going to stop playing with Al, from that point on I had no involvement with what the aesthetic of the band was becoming...I had no involvement whatsoever & that's cool, I was happy that Raven was playing with Al, I like him.
Rock N Roll Experience: In most rock n roll documentaries you see more naked women than naked men, where are all the naked women in the "FIX" movie?
Paul Barker: Well, because that's not really the point of this movie, I mean that's...how many times has been done? You just hit the nail on the head, in most rock n roll movies it's Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll & who cares...the film wasn't about glorifying the rock n roll lifestyle, it's the opposite & the film makers did that intentionally & look, I didn't make the movie, I'm not a film maker so I trusted that these guys were going to make something interesting out of the footage that they captured so that aspect of there not being any naked chicks is totally fine with me & obviously some people might think there are gratuitous shots in there & maybe there are but hopefully less than most generic, let's glorify this band kinda rock documentary.
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you still friends with Al Jourgenson?
Paul Barker: No.
Rock N Roll Experience: Would you ever play in Ministry or with Al again?
Paul Barker: No I will not
Rock N Roll Experience: What was the writing process like in Ministry, how much material did you write?
Paul Barker: Whatever, I mean my hand is all over that music, that's not how we write music.
This was actually the last question that I asked Paul because I felt like he was not interested in chatting with me & I had more I wanted to ask but decided to just cut it short & call it a day because I had the key things I wanted to ask already answered & Paul just didn't seem to wanna talk about Ministry.