That was my mantra in 1988, when industrial music was in its golden age, and I was a sucker for anything released on the Chicago Wax Trax label. Most if not all of the labelÁ¢€â„¢s releases seemed to have some tie-in with MinistryÁ¢€â„¢s main man Alain Jourgensen, whether as producer, vocalist, noisemaker. While MinistryÁ¢€â„¢s output was fairly regular at this point, it seemed like a new side project was debuting monthly. One of these was a pairing of Jourgensen and indie/punk Áƒ¼berlord Ian McKaye dubbed Pailhead.


LetÁ¢€â„¢s do some quick math Á¢€” Ian McKaye was the lead figure of the straightedge punk movement, which frowned upon drug use. Alain Jourgensen had a rep for being a walking pharmacy. This equation shouldnÁ¢€â„¢t have added to much, and in terms of recorded output, it didnÁ¢€â„¢t really. Pailhead, with McKaye on vocals and Jourgensen doing pretty much everything else, released a 7Á¢€ and one EP. Both were later compiled onto one CD EP titled Á¢€Å“Trait.Á¢€

I first heard Pailhead shortly after its release while shopping at ChrisÁ¢€â„¢ Warped Records, then the coolest record store in Northeast Ohio. I recognized the trademark Wax Trax lurching sound immediately and snatched it up. I recall it being one of Wax TraxÁ¢€â„¢s first CD releases, alongside Acid Horse, Lard and MinistryÁ¢€â„¢s Á¢€Å“12 Inch SinglesÁ¢€ CDs. For a few years, if it was on the Wax Trax label, I bought it, sound unheard.

Pailhead was interesting in that it presaged MinistryÁ¢€â„¢s later forays into more metallic sounds, beginning one year later with Á¢€Å“The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste.Á¢€ In fact, both Á¢€Å“Man Should SurrenderÁ¢€ and Á¢€Å“DonÁ¢€â„¢t Stand In LineÁ¢€ end up sounding like theyÁ¢€â„¢d fit on that disc perfectly. Remember though, this was at least a full year before. Did McKaye influence MinistryÁ¢€â„¢s future sound? Maybe. No? Who knows. ItÁ¢€â„¢s great anyway. And thatÁ¢€â„¢s coming from someone who, back in 1983, LOVED Á¢€Å“With Sympathy.Á¢€

Download Á¢€Å“Man Should SurrenderÁ¢€.
Download Á¢€Å“DonÁ¢€â„¢t Stand In LineÁ¢€.

Á¢€TraitÁ¢€ did not chart.
Neither single charted. (I mean, really. CÁ¢€â„¢mon.)

About the Author

John C. Hughes

John C. Hughes began his Lost in the ’80s blog in 2005 and is now proud to be a member of the Popdose family, where he’s introduced LIT80s’s companions, the obviously named Lost in the ’70s and Lost in the ’90s, alongside the slightly more originally named Why You Should Like…

View All Articles