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When it seems as if Atkins' efforts are truly futile, he simply releases another album and rides out the pessimism. "But I've had my moments," he declares. "I try to take the high ground nowadays -- if in doubt, put in a bit more effort." In addition to serving time with Connelly during Ministry's metal-salad days, he helped run Murder Inc., which traded during the mid-'90s and included Killing Joke alumni Raven, guitarist Geordie Walker, and drummer Paul Ferguson.
As for Connelly, his cabaret-style solo exploits have been as ambitious as Pigface but with generally more enduring results. After stints with the pre-industrial groups Rigor Mortis and Fini Tribe, he went to work with Jourgensen, singing on all the Revolting Cocks' records as well as Ministry's Land of Rape and Honey and The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Tastealbums. His two early '90s solo releases, Whiplash Boychild and Phenobarb Bambalam, were Bowie-esque singer-songwriter records underneath the grime, and 1994's Shipwrecked, with its increasingly continental drift and high-art drama, was heavy with acoustic instrumentation and Scott Walker-affected delivery.
The term industrial vocalist makes little sense to him. "I'm just plying my trade, no matter how much of a sinking ship it might be," he jokes. But his recent records, including the deranged chamber music of his new Blonde Exodus album, indicate a quiet sophistication that Connelly is quick to shrug off. "I think it's a complete myth that people mellow out as they get older," he observes. "How many embittered old people do you know? I see them on the bus every day."
Connelly currently leads a grumpy-old-men metal-industrial band called Damage Manual with Atkins, Wobble, and former Killing Joke guitarist Geordie Walker that's obviously a by-product of their endlessly incestuous, intersecting paths. But at this moment Connelly may be best known as an infrequent member of the traveling circus of Pigface, the so-called industrial-rock supergroup, a description Connelly also finds comical.
"It makes me laugh, but I'm not going to argue. If that's what they want to call it, great. If they want to call it a self-indulgent dick-smoking competition, as I said before, then that's fine, too. No skin off my nose."