Pat De La Garza-Guitar
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Industrial hip- hop probably best describes this unique, new sound of former Ministry members. Intense, powerful and spiritual, Lung Fu Mo She is the powerful debut album from MARZ, former Ministry guitarist Zlatko Hukic's hotly anticipated band. Lung Fu Mo She's dozen songs fit in the unlikely category of "industrial rap," songs like the instantly memorable "Step Aside" and "Hooray for the Bad Guy," about his volatile and beloved Muslim father, reflecting Hukic's remarkable life, positive perspective and strong musical and spiritual vision. The words and conception are completed and combined with musical influences from hardcore rap to Slayer, creating in Lung Fu Mo She an intense aural amalgamation. MARZ, featuring two of Hukic's former Ministry compadres, drummer Rey Washam and guitarist Louis Svitek, bring Hukic's aggressive, intense songs to a new level.
"Much of my music and lyrics are inspired by dreams," begins Hukic, who was born in Croatia and lived in a two-room house with dirt floors until the age of 9. "I would say the two main things I write about are sexuality and self-empowerment. I'm a believer in both, and I'm also spiritual and make every life decision from a spiritual, internal place. Ultimately, if you save yourself, everything else will be fine," he believes. In fact, the album title was inspired by a Jackie Chan autobiography, and the Chinese term refers to empowerment…"each day, who could outdo the next person to become more, a second by second, day by day thing about empowering your self and progressing," explains Hukic.
The Chicago-based Hukic is an expert at progressing---and creating his own destiny. After high school, the young musician worked several odd jobs to make money while formulating a clever plan: "I worked for a year as a mechanic, and my plan was to get fired, get unemployment and use that money to make music and records." And? "It totally worked," laughs Hukic, who despite his spiritual leanings, is also grounded, funny and ambitious. "I built a studio in my garage out of my unemployment money, but in my band at the time, nobody was as dedicated as I was. So when people didn't show up to record, I'd do their part. That way I learned all the instruments, drums, bass and guitar, and learned how to record and engineer."
But he wanted more. So Hukic opened the Yellow Pages and called every studio in Chicago. Chicago Trax took his call, and after two months of nearly daily phone calls, the studio relented. In 1991, Hukic began working in the studio as an intern. "I literally spent 23 hours a day there," recalls the enterprising artist. "From 8 in the morning to 8 at night, I'd work other people's sessions--blues, rap, rock, whatever." At night, during the studio's down time, he'd track his own music, pre-MARZ material, but in the same musical vein. Then, in 1994, Ministry came to the studio to record their "Filth Pig" album. And Al Jourgensen became an instant Hukic fan. "I was just an assistant, the youngest guy working at the studio, but after five minutes, Al asked me to engineer his record." That night, Hukic bought a book on engineering. Then, several months into the project, Hukic was playing some of his own songs on the guitar. Jourgensen was resting on a nearby sofa, eyes closed. "He didn't open his eyes, but said, 'who is that playing guitar?' I said, 'I am.' He said, 'do you want to be in the band?' I said 'yeah." Playing with Ministry from 1994 to 1997, and as recently as 1999, gave Hukic good opportunities, and respect for Jourgensen. "I got a lot of love for him. He gave me a chance when I had no experience."
And it also provided MARZ with musicians. While Hukic wrote and played all the instruments on Lung Fu Mo She himself, he's looking forward to collaborating with his band on MARZ' second outing. Rounding out the lineup, besides the aforementioned MINISTRY musicians Washam and Svitek, are bassist Troy Gourley, guitarist Pat De La Garza, and Robert Hill on keyboards. ("We're the United Nations of bands!" jokes Hukic.) In fact, Hill is co-producer of Lung Fu Mo She, first meeting Hukic in London in the late '90s when the two were producing tracks for the same artist. "Robert and I got along really well, and Peter Gabriel heard some of the stuff we were doing and asked if we could work with him. So we did on five songs on Peter Gabriel's forthcoming album. Peter was super, super cool," Hukic enthuses. "I learned a lot from him: I was Peter's producer, engineer, programmer, writer and opinion guy."
It was following the Gabriel record that Hukic returned home to Chicago, followed eventually by Hill, and the two began work in earnest on MARZ' debut Lung Fu Mo She album. Over the years, Hukic's music, as a white guy with a heavy rap influence, was thought to be too "different" by close-minded record labels. By the time major labels were getting a whiff of MARZ in '98-'99, the industry had come around to Hukic's industrial rap vibe and were clamoring for Hukic and his music. By then, Hukic was set on doing his own record without interference. In fact, Hukic toyed with starting his own label for MARZ, not liking the idea of being an "employee" of a record company. Enter E-Magine Entertainment. The strong start-up company, also home to Danzig, offered Marz a revolutionary deal structure which Hukic found ideal.
But much of what Hukic does is revolutionary. The singer/guitarist confesses that he often has pre-cognitive dreams-he had one about Jourgensen prior to meeting the Ministry frontman, and he even had a dream that resulted in the cover art for Lung Fu Mo She. "I know it may sound strange," he laughs, "but this whole record is very spiritually driven. It was guided… sometimes it feels like I didn't do anything on the record," Hukic confesses, before adding with a laugh: "It might sound cheesy, but it's totally true at some level." That said, Hukic is a prolific writer who began keeping a journal as a troubled teen. And while the band name, MARZ, arose from some of his early journal writings, many of the songs on Lung Fu Mo She, written over the last few years, came about less romantically. "If I'm in the bathroom taking a pee, I can write a whole fucking song. I have bags and bags of napkins and matchbooks with songs on 'em!" he admits. "I'm not a tortured writer!" Out of the 30 songs written for the record, Hukic chose his favorite dozen.
Kicking off the album is "Steal My Shine," a song that exemplifies Hukic's beliefs about strength and self-realization. "One of the challenges in life is, if you get a direction, people try to squash or change it, teachers or relatives or whoever. And the word 'shine' is a sort of synonym for 'soul,'" he explains. "This whole world, every culture is based on 80 percent lies. We lie to kids then wonder why they're fucked up. I want to reach young ears with the truth, though I'm not about preaching," he notes. "I'm writing music almost as if I'm writing children's books. As for MARZ, I don't care about being big or famous. On a spiritual level, I know music is only thing I'm going to do," he concludes. "If it works, cool. If not, I'll find a way to make money so I can continue making music." Or, as Hukic sings in "Fly'": "I don't give a fuck what they say, it's all love." And on Lung Fu Mo She, it's all good.
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