Mishaps, difficulties, and setbacks: the tour start of the US outfit 3TEETH could have run much smoother. A near-arrest, a drummer with a broken leg, a cancelled gig, technical problems – things could not have been worse. But also hardly more exciting. Being on the road as support for Ministry automatically means that the journey – taking place in parallel to the release of the third studio album Metawar – will by far outshine any adventure holiday. The shooting stars of the Industrial Metal scene will never forget their tour through Europe, that’s for sure. We sat down with frontman Alexis Mincolla right after their show in Oberhausen on July 9th.
What was it like for you tonight? You had to deal with technical issues at the beginning of the show …
Our drummer broke his foot last night and it looks so bad. We have to go to hospital tonight. We have two more shows on this European tour and then two months of touring back in America – with only one day off in between. So, this is a problem.
But Justin managed fine tonight …
Yes, he did, but that just makes it worse. Because you get painkillers, you play the show – but the next day, it’s worse. Two months of that – you can’t get away with that, so we have to figure out a solution.
Obviously, you’re facing a bunch of problems right now. You also had trouble when immigration into the UK as the tour kicked off. What was the reason for that?
It was so stupid and complicated. We flew into Gatwick, coming from Berlin, because we started the tour there, and we’ve had a few drinks on the way. When we came off the airport, having a good time, we saw no lines at the immigration [counter, ed.], which is run by machines where you’re just scanning your passport, and we all got through. Andrew couldn’t find his passport, just when the immigration staff came over and asked “what are you guys doing here and where did you get your stamps?”
We explained that we’re a band and that the machines stamped our passports. He said that we were not supposed to go through the machine line but to go all the way to the other side where there is a human that stamps the passports. Well, we didn’t see that.
We asked if we could go over now, but he said no and that we already immigrated into the country illegally – and that we cannot come back in, because we had left the airport. We explained that we’re at the airport still, but he declined and informed us that we cannot play in this country. We asked what would happen if we did and he said that they’ll [the police, ed.] come there and arrest us. And we’d not be allowed to play in the UK ever again.
What did you do?
In this case, you have to leave the country and come back in. With a proper stamp. So you know what we had to do the next day? We had to drive to France. Drive all the way to Dover, get on the train through the Eurotunnel – and had to wait seven hours for the next train to come. So we waited there and then they told us that we have to wait two hours in France to legally come back in. So two more hours in France. This is how this tour started. So fucked-up.
That was a shitty start. And the technical issues tonight …
Oh, that was nothing! That was just me giving my drummer more time in between the songs because his foot hurt.
"It is really awesome to be out here with Ministry!" – Alexis Mincolla
Are you aware of the fact that quite many people are here to see 3TEETH tonight – not only to see Ministry with a random support act?
I try to not think about that too much, because I just want to play the show and have a good time. And it is really awesome to be out here with Ministry! But I don’t want to get caught up in considerations of how many people are here for us and how many people are here for them. If I walk out there and if it is a good crowd and they’re into it, I have a good time.
Tonight, the stage was comparatively small and crammed with instruments. Are you still fine with that? I mean, you played huge stadiums with Tool and Rammstein …
I don’t care if it’s 20 or 20.000 people. If it is a 25-foot-stage or a 200-foot-stage. I just don’t care. I just want to play and have fun.
It’s no secret that Ministry is an important influence for you. Is Al, after you toured together and got to know him personally, still an icon for you?
Even more so! Before this tour we went out together, he invited me to sushi. This was the first time we really hung out. And maybe we had two bites of sushi, but we drank like seven bottles of sake. After that, we had to go over to his house and do an interview together. We had the most hilarious time! And it was almost like he was testing me, to see what I was made of. Can you get fucked up? Is it still cool?
And I said to him: “Al, without you I wouldn’t do what I do”. He is probably the single greatest influence for me. I was listening to Psalm 69 when I was 14 years old. It was very formative upon my human psychology at that time. And for me, to be able to hang out with him now, consider him like my peer, that’s an honour.
What is Al Jourgensen like?
He is a very magical creature. When you meet him, it’s special. He is on a different wavelength of human being. Like a Keith Richards or someone like that. I mean – how is Keith Richards still smoking and drinking?! And he is still the best! Al is cut from that same cloth as Keith Richards.
"I'm not here to cure cancer, I'm out to make Rock shows.“ – Alexis Mincolla
This is your most extensive tour so far. Have you had a cabin collar yet or is it still cool for you?
Yeah, it is! You know, I'm not out here to cure cancer, I'm out here to make Rock shows! If it is not fun, what the fuck is the point of doing this?! If people have nine-to-five jobs and they’re going out on a concert, lose their mind and go crazy – if that is not fun for me, then it’s not fun for them. So, of course it is fun. It has to be fun!
You’re on the road a lot. What was your weirdest experience so far?
There are so many things, I don’t know what’s the weirdest. I really cannot say. The weirdness never stops. Perpetual cascading infinite weirdness.
Then maybe pick one weird thing.
I’ll give you a very diet story, which can be told on record. Getting into Canada sometimes is a hassle for Americans. Because if you have a DUI, which is Driving Under The Influence, they won’t let you in into Canada. Chase has that issue. And they don’t like Metal Bands. So we thought one time that it would be a good idea to dress up like a country band; so we all were wearing cowboy hats and these blazers and the boots. And we showed up there with our instruments and our band’s name, 3TEETH, which kind of sounds like redneck anyways, like 3 Ts, and somehow someway they like “oh yeah, come on in, country music, heck yeah!”. So we got in there and there is a picture that exists of that somewhere. That was one of that moments that a completely shitty idea worked amazing!
In the course of your career, you slightly changed your musical direction. From the more electronic Numb-style of your debut over the more stadium-rock-orientated second longplayer to the new album Metawar, which is your most melodic and song-oriented album so far. Was that a natural process or planned from the start?
I just don’t want to write the same album twice. I have very little interest in that. And as a band who tours a lot and plays with other bands, you draw inspiration from people like the Rammsteins, the Tools, you learn what works in really big spaces. As a band, when you play in front of 20000 people, it’s like drinking the blood of a dragon. You wake up the next day and want that blood again. You get addicted to that. So you’re trying to write music that might be able to fill that level of space.
For us, the third album sounds like a band that has been on the road a lot and played a lot together. As opposed to the first album. Where we sat in our houses and send files via internet. This now is a band in a room, writing as a band who toured a lot. So Metawar sounds more like a band than the albums before. And it sounds like a band who has been fortunate enough to tour with really big bands – having the crazy-bastard-idea of maybe becoming a big band themselves. With obviously no guarantees about that.
What is the future perspective for 3TEETH?
The future for us it to be able to play shows with the level of production that we want. Every time you open for a band, it is really cool, but if there is one thing you learn as an opener, it’s to be as not under foot of the headliner. If you don’t want them to be stepping somewhere and they step on your shit, you have to be very ok with knowing that it is not about you. Because it is not. It is about those guys. It’s like respect for your elders. So you don’t go and say “hey, can I put a bunch of fucking lights on your stage?”. You go light. You don’t want to upstage.
The next stage is obviously for us to headline the tour here in Europe in February 2020. So for that we’ll be able to bring a production with us. That’ll be cool.
Interview: Catrin Nordwig
Live photos: Daniela Vorndran