Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Ministry’s Roy Mayorga Talks New Music, Cruel World Festival And How He Creates Music On The Road

Roy Mayorga is an American drummer and bassist, best known as the drummer of heavy metal bands Hellyeah and Stone Sour and is currently the drummer for the industrial metal band Ministry. After becoming interested in the punk rock scene as a teenager, Roy started his own band and the rest was history.

Performing in dozens of bands over the years, Roy has made a name for himself as one of the most seasoned drummers of his time. Roy has also perfected the art of songwriting and composing, having written scores for movies and TV including Studio666, Nanny Cam, Legion, Hellbilly Hollow, and Little Bites.

Ministry’s new album, HOPIUMFORTHEMASSES, is coming out on March 1st. It will be their 16th studio album. Ministry was founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1981. The band is led by producer, singer, and instrumentalist Al Jourgensen. Roy joined the band in 2016. The band was initially a synth-pop group, but evolved into one of the pioneers of industrial rock and metal. They are set to go on tour at the end of February. 

We caught up on the latest Ministry news with Roy during ShipRocked. We got to hear about the band’s newest collabs, what he’s looking forward to at Cruel World Festival, and how Roy creates music on the road. 

Ministry's Roy Mayorga Talks New Music
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

There’s a big Ministry tour coming up. Can you tell me a bit about that? Any cities you’re looking forward to visiting?

Yeah, February 27th. I’m looking forward to visiting all of them, especially New York City, where we’re originally from. That’s the one I’m looking forward to the most because I haven’t played in Manhattan in I think at least 15 years, 12 years, easily. Any band I’ve ever been in recently, like Stone Sour, Ministry, we always play in Brooklyn, Long Island, Jersey, but never in Manhattan. We’re playing at Terminal 5, all my friends are going to be there and some of my family. I’ve played there one other time with Stone Sour, so I’m really looking forward to this show. It’s going to be great. 

You guys have a new album coming out. What can fans expect?

Yeah, HOPIUMFORTHEMASSES, coming out in March. It’s a kick-ass record. I’ll leave it to the person to listen to. I’m not going to tell them what it’s like. You can’t explain a record; a person has to hear it. 

Are there any songs that stand out to you?

Well technically I only played three songs with my drums, the rest of them are programmed. Those are the three that I’m looking forward to playing. The songs are “B.D.E.,” “Just Stop Oil” and “New Religion.” I’m looking forward to playing those for sure. 

You guys are playing the Cruel World festival. The lineup is amazing!

It’s crazy, there’s Duran Duran, Adam Ant, Blondie, Simple Minds, I mean come on. My 13-year old self is freaking the hell out, I’ll tell you that. I listened to all of those bands back then. Ministry, we’re doing pretty much half of With Sympathy, which Al has never done before. We worked out new versions of it, mixing it with a bit of now and how it used to sound. 

We used a lot of the old synthesizer hardware to recreate some of these tracks because he doesn’t have any of the original multi-tracks. Between me, JB, and Al, we recreated things as best we could. We’re doing stuff off of Twitch, and some other deep cut stuff that he normally doesn’t do. Stuff off of The Land of Rape and Honey that he doesn’t normally play. 

Can you tell me more about the Melvins collaboration you are doing on Tarantula Heart?

The Melvins and Ministry were on tour together in 2021, and we hit it off and became really good friends. In the middle of that tour I was invited to play drums, double drums with Dale (Crover). I would play like the last two songs with them because we were on right after, my stuff was already set up there. 

They would unveil my kit and I would show up and play two songs off of their Houdini album, which is one of my favorite albums by them, one of my favorite bands, and it’s really cool to get to know them and call them my friends now. They’re great guys. I played “Hooch” and “Honey Bucket,” those two songs back to back, and it was a treat. It was a lot of fun. 

Once the tour was over they asked me, ‘Hey, what do you think about coming to the studio and doing some recording with us?’ I’m like, ‘Absolutely. Tell me when and where.’ They’ve recorded like a mile or two away from where I live, so it was perfect. There’s two drum kits set up in their studio, both facing each other. 

The cool thing about this record is that I’ve never made a record like this before. Basically, they recorded Dale and I just doing several passes of different drum motifs and we were just off the cuff to start playing, you know, no click track. We’ll just click each other off and just speak to each other with drums and just lead each other. Whatever part’s going to come up, we just figure it out right there. 

We would do like five, ten-minute things like this. Buzz would just take those songs, unedited and write all this music up to it. I don’t know how he did it, and I can hear it, and I know he hasn’t edited the music because I could tell if he’s edited or not. He took them all and just wrote all the stuff over it and created this record. 

The song that’s out now, “Working the Ditch,” that’s how it was created. I added some synthesizer work on there, some odd sounds from my ARP 2600 signal synthesizer. It’s like a 50-year old synthesizer. You’ll be able to hear it all on April 19th, but the single is out right now.

What’s your perfect day in your hometown of Burbank? 

I don’t know, sitting in my backyard hanging out with my dog, Rosie, and my wife and daughter Cazzie and Nico. That’s my perfect day.

Any family travel you guys have planned or how do you decide where to go as a family?

Well, we’re planning to go to Bali this year and meet up with my wife’s family. My wife’s family is from Australia. We’re actually going to probably go to Australia first and then go together to Bali. It’s a 15-hour flight from LA to Australia and then another six maybe to Bali. But we’re not going to do it all in one shot like that. We’ll spend a couple of days in Australia, get acclimated, and then fly up.

What are your must pack items when you’re traveling?

Well, if it’s like a week gig like this, I just take my essentials. All the supplements, my powders and all that sh*t. But on the road for tours, I’ll take a week’s worth of clothes and then keep washing them just to keep the pack down. I take three sets of stage clothes, pants and tank tops. That’s it. Three sets of those, two sets of street clothes, and a bunch of t-shirts. Keep it simple. 

Ministry's Roy Mayorga Talks New Music
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What do you like to do in your downtime on the road?

I don’t get that much downtime. I do like three shows, four shows in a row and then have a travel day, stay at a hotel, and then you don’t really get to sleep. Sometimes we get a day off. In the middle of the tour we’ll get a full day and be in a hotel, but the bus driver can only work a certain amount of hours, so don’t get too comfortable. 

I usually bring my recording studio rig, my laptop and synthesizer, midi control keyboard and a bunch of sample library stuff and I write on the road. I scored a film while I was on the last tour. I scored Spider from Powerman 5000. Him and his wife, Krsy Fox, made a movie called, Little Bites, and I used my rig on the road when I was out with Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie to score it. So, I did that in my downtime. 

I’ve talked to a couple people who are creating music for film and television and they have to turn it around in 24 hours.

Oh, it’s like that. Even with my first major film, the Foo Fighters movie Studio 666. I did the music for that. John Carpenter did the theme song, but I did the rest of the film. It was a fun movie. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What are your favorite ShipRocked moments? 

I’ve done it in 2018 with Stone Sour. In 2020, with Hellyeah when I was standing in on drums for Vinnie. Just being up there on stage to play is always my favorite moment. 

A lot of people didn’t know you played bass until yesterday when you played with The Stowaways.

Yeah, I’ve been playing bass on and off now for over 30 years. I used to play in bands locally in New York, you know, some punk rock stuff. I never get a chance to play. Hopefully I can get more work as a bass player. So just plugging myself out there, if anyone needs a bass player, give me a call. 

Ministry's Roy Mayorga Talks New Music
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

As a drummer, how do you stay in shape? 

I work out as much as I can. I do my morning calisthenics. I do some yoga, eat right, take my supplements and do my amino acid powder and creatine powder drinks before I play so I can repair the muscles as I’m breaking them down. That’s what keeps me in shape. 54 years old, still doing it.

The older you get, the harder it gets, so you have to take more precautions. That’s what I do because I want to keep doing this till I can’t. I look at people like Tommy Aldridge of Whitesnake. I want to be that guy when I’m his age. He’s a monster still. Amazing drummer. I look at him as inspiration. He’s f*cking great. He’s one of my favorite drummers. He’s amazing. 

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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