Today, we are pleased to have an excerpt from No Slam Dancing No Stage Diving No Spikes, Amy Yates Wuelfing and Steven DiLodovico’s oral history of Trenton’s City Gardens. Specifically, it’s about a time in the mid-80s when two now-beloved bands–Ministry and Faith No More–shared the same bill one April evening. All did not end happily: synthesizers were destroyed, enemies were made, and a member of Judge makes an appearance. Read on for the whole story.
We’ll be hosting the book’s authors on March 25th at WORD Jersey City.
Ministry/Faith No More – April 4, 1986
Randy Now (promoter): Faith No More was a new band, and this is back when they still had original lead singer Chuck Mosley, before Mike Patton. I loved them. We Care A Lot had just come out, and I really wanted to give them a break, so I gave them a slot opening for Ministry in front of 700 people. This would be a whole lot of people in New Jersey watching a band from San Francisco no one had ever heard of.
Chuck Mosley (Faith No More, lead singer): I remember that night pretty clearly.
Al Jourgensen (Ministry, lead singer): I encountered problems by doing With Sympathy. The band had been going for a while and then [Arista president] Clive Davis made us—MADE US—sell out. He appointed backup singers and engineers, producers, and everything. It was this big spectacle. We had to go record in London and Boston. It made us complete sellouts. It was horrible. It was horrific. Before that and after that we were doing our own stuff, and I think it stands the test of time. But for that brief period, it was a nightmare.
Amy Yates Wuelfing: Ministry had so much stuff on stage that Faith No More had very little room to play. The band had maybe five feet to move around.
Randy Now: Ministry had a brand-new $50,000 piece of equipment on stage, an Emulator, which was given to them for signing with Sire. That’s $50,000 back in 1986. Imagine what that translates to now.
Al Jourgensen: But that’s why Faith No More happened. We were playing this pop music then, on Clive Davis’s instruction. We were like Milli Vanilli. Faith No More wanted no part of that, and good for them! Even though they destroyed my $50,000 synthesizer…
Rich O’Brien (City Gardens security): This was when the club had all-ages shows and there was no alcohol. My job for the night was to control the door that all the bands used to load in, so I could see what everyone was doing. Before Faith No More played, they hung in their van, which was parked right outside the door. I hung back there with them for a while, and they were definitely drinking… not out of control, but drinking.
Chuck Mosley: I might have had one or two shots, and maybe a beer, but that’s not enough to get me drunk. I am clumsy by nature. I could have be completely sober and still be falling all over the place. I’ve been accused of being intoxicated a lot, and I’m not saying I never have been, but I remember that show pretty clearly. I had a couple of beers at the most that night. I probably sound stoned to you right now, right? I haven’t even smoked any weed today. This is just how I am. People have always been accusing me of being intoxicated when I wasn’t.
Rich O’Brien: Right before they went on stage, I remember Chuck guzzling a beer, just chugging it down. And it looked to me like he might have been drunk, but if I had to perform in front of 500 people I’d be drinking too.
Chuck Mosley: Ministry had all this gear set up on the stage already. They literally had their monitors right by my feet and the mic stand. The whole stage was congested. I am an uncoordinated klutz. I have home movies of when I was a little kid, and I’d be falling down, tripping over myself, and bumping my head all the time. I was accident prone. So I was doing what I normally did when we played, jumping around and stuff.
Mike Judge (Vocals, Judge): That night Ministry had a truckload of shit, and Faith No More had to play in a broom closet pretty much. I don’t know if they were really knocking into shit or if they were trying to establish that they needed a little bit more room to play for the rest of the tour or what.
Amy Yates Wuelfing: At first they were bumping into Ministry’s equipment, but it looked innocent enough, like it was happening because Chuck was really animated onstage and had so little room. But then it started to seem more deliberate.
Chuck Mosley: Ministry had some computer thing set up as part of their act, and I did everything I could to avoid it. I probably did come pretty close. But I didn’t smash anything. I didn’t destroy anything, and I didn’t break anything. I didn’t even kick it. The one thing I might have done was spill some beer or water on something that was at my feet, and that would be the extent of it.
Rich O’Brien: I think there was friction between Ministry’s road crew and Faith No More to begin with. Then Chuck was jumping around onstage like crazy, which is what they were known for, and at one point he bumped into someone else in the band. They fell backward and knocked over a beer, and the beer spilled all over one of the keyboard set-ups.
Al Jourgensen: It was actually a Fairlight synthesizer. We weren’t sure how it was going to last on tour, and it certainly didn’t last with Faith No More spilling beer on it. Either way, good for them.
Gal Gaiser (City Gardens DJ): I was deejaying that night between bands, and, from what I could see, they had beer on stage and were spilling it all over. It was like, “I’m not knocking this beer over, I’m intentionally ruining equipment by spilling liquid into it.” That seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Randy comes running up to the DJ booth and says, “Gal, get on the microphone and tell them to get off the stage!” Oh, really? How do you throw someone offstage from the DJ booth 100 feet away? I got on the PA and said, “Um… guys? Can you guys get off the stage? Please?” It didn’t work. They didn’t get off the stage. But it did seem to inspire more chaos.
Rich O’Brien: Chuck was the main offender, which I blame on the alcohol, but Ministry’s sound guys were being a little prissy if you ask me.
Randy Now: Ministry’s road manager Sean Duffy and I both agreed, along with Al Jourgensen from Ministry, to get them the hell out of there.
Al Jourgensen: I got no problem with Faith No More. I thought they were kinda cool and they were, because they tortured us and we tortured them back.
Chuck Mosley: At the time Faith No More was pretty in-your-face, and we were proud and competitive with other bands. I know we came in that night with every intention of blowing Ministry away, and I am pretty sure we were doing that, as far as excitement and aggression goes.
Gal Gaiser: Randy then came back to the DJ booth and grabbed the microphone.
Amy Yates Wuelfing: Randy got on the PA and calmly said, “Guys, you’re fucking up. You’re fucking up up there. Get off the stage or we’re throwing you off.”
Rich O’Brien: Within five minutes of Randy saying that, Chuck drank a beer and threw it up in the air, straight up. It landed in the crowd and smashed all over the dance floor.
Chuck Mosley: I definitely wasn’t throwing beer bottles at the audience. I’ve never done that, ever. Now, I’ve deflected plenty of beer bottles thrown at me, but I never threw any at the crowd at a show. I’ve never tried to hurt anybody. I’ve been hit in the head by flying bottles myself plenty of times. It’s not fun.
Randy Now: One thousand percent, bottles came off the stage. Chuck was always blamed for it.
Rich O’Brien: And that’s when everything went nuts. About a minute later, the music just stops and there’s a whole crowd up on stage.
Amy Yates Wuelfing: I was about halfway back and saw a huge bouncer or security person pick Chuck up by the waistband of his pants—he didn’t have a shirt on—and toss him like a paper airplane. The crowd wasn’t sure what to make of it. Is this a comedy routine? Is this really happening? Everyone looked at each other like, “What the… ?”
Chuck Mosley: Right out of the blue, maybe during our third song, they kicked us right off the stage. The security guys came up and started throwing all our gear out the door and told us we had to get out of there. So we packed up our stuff and went back to the hotel.
Rich O’Brien: There was City Gardens security there, but also Ministry’s road crew, and they went up on stage, grabbed them, and threw them out the door. They all spilled out into the parking lot, and that’s when I went out there. Since I had been hanging out with the band earlier, I tried to step in and make peace, but it wasn’t happening. People started bringing the band’s equipment out to them, but at one point they let some of the band members go in, the reasonable ones, and load out their equipment. Chuck didn’t go back in, and at one point the other members of the band isolated Chuck from everybody else.
Chuck Mosley: We didn’t want to stick around, since we had no reason to. We might have hung outside for a little while, but we pretty much left after they threw us out.
Rich O’Brien: Faith No More weren’t a big band at the time. “We Care A Lot” didn’t become a big song until a year later because they revamped it. At the very end of the night, I bought a t-shirt and an album from them. I actually thought they were great.
Al Jourgensen: We got the Fairlight fixed after that night. We took it to some computer geek in Pennsylvania, and we kept on going. That’s actually how I met Trent Reznor. I accidentally spilled beer on my four-track machine during a Revolting Cocks tour in Cleveland and broke it, and we couldn’t get fixed in time for the show. The people at the club said they knew this local kid who had the exact same four-track. We brought him over and rented the gear from him, and then we said, “We’re taking this.” Trent said, “No, you’re not taking this. You already destroyed one and you’re not going to destroy mine.” So he came on the road with us. Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails was Revolting Cocks’ roadie. We used to throw firecrackers in his bunk and call him Techno Kid. We used to torture that poor bastard.
Randy Now: About three days later after that show, I was at Niagara Falls, in the tunnels under millions of gallons of rushing water. It was so loud I couldn’t hear a thing. I was at the very end of the tunnel, leaning on the railing, wearing the raincoat that they make you wear, and I turned around. There was [Faith No More guitarist] Jim Martin. It was all 6 foot, 4 inches of him and his goofy red-framed glasses, standing right in front of me. Behind him were another 20 or so people. All I could think was, “Shit, man. They’re all behind me in this tunnel and they recognize me for sure. They’ll keep me trapped down here until no one else is around, pick me up, and throw me over the railing into Niagara Falls to my death!” But they didn’t. They just gave me dirty looks.
Rich O’Brien: One funny thing was Randy yelling, “You’ll never play here again!” A year later they opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Chuck Mosley: When I went back to City Gardens after I joined the Bad Brains – and you can ask Randy about this – the first thing he did was apologize to me for that night. He explained that it was either Ministry or their manager that ordered security to kick us off the stage. He said that Ministry didn’t like us.
Randy Now: Well, I don’t remember apologizing when he came with Bad Brains, but maybe I did try to show him that everything was in the past.
Chuck Mosley: Randy explained that that night in particular the band or the manager told the guys to get us off the stage, that they just did not like us, period. Stuff gets so blown out of proportion over the years. I’ve read stuff about myself on the internet that’s ridiculous. I’ve read that I supposedly pulled a gun in Heathrow Airport one time. I’ve read all kinds of stuff that I’ve done that I have never done. It’s always stuff that makes me look very cool in the eyes of the fans, but it’s also made it very hard for me to work. In reality, I’m a calm family man.