By Amber Vass Amber: Are you there? Louis Svitek: I sure am… Amber: What do you have going on right now? Louis: Well you know, I’m doing well, and I’m working with a company out here in Chicago called Jam Productions. And, I’m working in the studio – I have a recording studio. I’m recording there, and…I’m a dad. And, that’s it; I’m just trying to get it together and work more on WuLi Records. Amber: Tell me more about WuLi Records. Louis: This is an idea I had a while back. I was out on the road with ministry when I started thinking about the label, and after 2003 I decided because of certain situations it was time for me to break from Ministry and figure out what I was going to do. I moved back to Chicago…I was a single parent at the time, so I was hiring babysitters and stuff. But, I needed to be around my son. I started out with the studio and started recording some artists that were coming up to me and asking me for help. I started realizing that I was working with all these artists that have no outlet, and it would be awesome to put something together to put them out there. I put the label together and got the website going. I started recording these guys. You know, we do rock. We do The Waking. Before we signed The Waking, I did their first demo for them. We got a little hip-hop, and we got a little pop music as well. Amber: The Waking kicks ass! Louis: Yeah, The Waking are awesome. They are a great band, and one of the things that grabbed me about that band, John, the drummer, is kind of the leader of the band and reminded me a lot of myself. When I was doing bands, I was the guy trying to keep it together, trying to make it grow and make really good music. So, I did their first demo, and I had all these people around me. Lee DeWyze was working with me before we signed him, and I was like, man, there has got to be a way for me to get some financial help or a partner or something. And, a friend introduced me to Ryan McGuire who later became my partner. We put together a business plan, and he has a lot to do with getting this project off the ground. Amber: Where’d you come up with the name WuLi? Louis: I was literally reading a book called “The Dancing with Wu Li Masters.” It was a book that someone had handed to me, and I needed some reading material on the airplane. The book was about quantum physics, and all the meanings for Wu Li were like positive energy, good fortune. All the meanings were kind of positive, you know, and I was like Wu Li Record…WuLi Records! That’s awesome! Man that’s an awesome name for a label. Got together with Ryan, and Ryan has been a big catapult for the record. Amber: So, you just stumbled across The Waking? Louis: It was a lot of people I met. A lot of people when they come to me are broke. “Hey can I make a demo?” “Hey can I do this?” They don’t have any finances, and I try to help some of these guys out. The Waking has a tight budget when I first met them, and I helped them do their demo. And, it came out really well. I love The Waking. I love their music. I was at their rehearsal spot the other day, and their new stuff, it’s just awesome. I love the way they write. It’s good rock music. It’s very different from anything that is out there. There is a lot of repetition on the radio, and I think they are going to be something to break that. Amber: Taking you back to your Ministry days, how did you hook up with Ministry? Louis: How I became a member of the band was when the did their Mind tour. They were looking for guitar players, and I was literally in MOD all the time. I couldn’t do that tour because I was in the studio with MOD, and we were getting ready to go on tour with Suicidal Tendencies. So, unfortunately I couldn’t do it. A year and a half goes buy, and I meet Al in a bar at two o’clock in the morning. I was like “Hey, what’s up?” and he knew who I was already. He said “Hey I’m going to the studio tonight. What are you doing?” I told him nothing, and I went to the studio with him. He was working on “Psalm 69,” and he was working on “Revolting Cocks’” “Finger Lickin’ Good” and was like “I need some guitar solos. I need some rhythm tracks. Are you interested in recording?” We worked through the wee hours of the night, rocking and rolling that first night, and I could not tour with them. He asked me to do that Lollapalooza, and I couldn’t do it because I was in the studio with Mind Funk at the time. Mind Funk was already up and running, so I couldn’t tour with Ministry. So, when I finished the second Mind Funk album, [Ministry] was like “Ok, do you want to come out on the road with us? We need somebody.” And, I had three days to learn all their material. I got all their stuff. I was in Seattle fnishing up the mixing, and as soon as we were done, I went to Chicago. I rehearsed with Ministry for three days, and then I went on the “Psalm 69” tour. And then I was in Ministry ever since. Amber: What was it like being a member at the height of Ministry’s success? Louis: Man that feeling was awesome because at the time I knew I was involved in something groundbreaking. I felt very lucky because I knew Al picked me as a guitar player because he knew I could compliment Mike Scaccia who use to play for Rigor Mortis and still does. And he knew Mike and I could get together and make this thing really heavy live. And that was the big think with Ministry – it was a great live band. And I knew I could do that job, and I was very grateful for being in that situation. It was an awesome feeling to be in a groundbreaking band and be able to help them get to the next level. I feel great about it. Amber: Who wouldn’t? It had to be a great thing. Louis: At the time Ministry was like the band to listen to. “Psalm 69” was just an awesome CD, and Ministry was the band. So, it was an awesome feeling, and it is something that I will never regret. Amber: Did you ever hang with William S. Burroughs when you did “Just One Fix”? Louis: You know, I’ve never hung out with Burroughs at all. I was actually in the studio when he came by. It was a brief meeting, but those were like, I don’t want to say Al’s idols, but he really respected those guys. And, I got an opportunity to meet Timothy Leary and hang with him at his house. That I did, which was awesome, but never got a chance to really hang out with Burroughs at all. Amber: Why exactly did you end up leaving Ministry? Louis: It was 2003, and I can tell you that tour was kind of a rough tour because Al and Paul were going through some things. What they were going through I really don’t know because we all kind of minded our own business. Our job was to go on stage and play the songs. There were a couple of things at the end of the tour we were supposed to get, and I mean I hate to say it, but all the guys were supposed to get a bonus. And, none of us got our bonuses. We were like, Ok, I’m not going to freak out yet. And then when they were getting ready to do the next album and I was a hired gun. I was a hired gun for eleven years even though I get publishing on the Ministry albums. I was still just a hired gun, and when we were getting ready to do the second album, they were like, “This is the deal. We can’t compensate you the way you have been.” Paul wasn’t in the band anymore. Rey wasn’t in the band anymore. To me Paul Barker, Rey Washam, kind of a big part of that, especially Paul Barker, even though Al is a great mind for Ministry. And, I got a son at home. My son was already like “Who are you?” Dad’s been on the road for eight months dude. He was eight years old at the time. He was literally asking me when I was going to stay at home. All these things happened at once to me, and I had to make a decision. So long story short, I ended up with WuLi Records. And I think now The Waking is the band, I mean their stuff out now is good, but their new stuff is just awesome. I just sat down and listened to six of their new songs the other night and had a couple beers, and I was like “Wow, this is hot.” Amber: When is it coming out? Louis: They are going to have to get in the studio with me within the next few months, and it’ll probably come out next year. I’m telling ya man, I’m really excited because it’s really good. Amber: Are you in any band right now? Louis: I’m in a band part time. I don’t know if you remember Rights of the Accused. They’re a Chicago band. The drummer that is in Local H right now used to be in ROTA. I play with the bass player, and we have this drummer, Lee Ann, which her nickname is Dickless. Amber: What is it? Louis: Dickless, and we all pulled a band together called The Beer Nuts. It’s an awesome band. It’s our part-time gig. We get together like five times a year. We are actually getting ready to play Riot Fest in Chicago on Saturday. I don’t know much about the festival; all I know is that I’m playing it. That, right now, is the only thing I’m doing band-wise. I have really just been working on keeping my family together, keeping our label together, keeping our studio together. I don’t know if I am ready to be in a full-time band yet. It’s a lot of hard work. Like I was in this Chicago band and all the other guys were in three or four other bands. It’s like there is no real commitment. Amber: Any truth to another Mind Funk album coming out? Louis: There is truth to that. After we were done with the third album, we came back into the studio and recorded about eight more songs. We recorded a few songs with vocals, and the rest were instrumentals. A few months ago I talked to Pat, and I got together all the files and sent them off. And, there is a strong possibility that we will get together to do another album. We’re thinking about putting this one out, but we haven’t done it yet. I’m hoping we do because it’s very cool, and it’s very Mind-Funk-ish. I know we want to do it, but we are all crazy busy. Amber: Do you ever talk to Al? Louis: To be honest with you, I have spoken with Al since 2003, and every time there was anytime of me getting close to Al, his wife would call and say, “Hey we’re going to be in Chicago.” And my thing is, I don’t want her to call me; I want Al to call me. You know what I mean, and that is kind of how I feel. My relationship with Al was with Al, you know. It kind of bummed me out a bit, and I never got together with him the last couple times he was in Chicago. Then when they played Chicago in supposedly their retirement, I didn’t go to any of those shows because I was too busy. It’s cool you know. I still think of Al as a cool dude. I really have a lot of love for the guy. He’s a great mind. He’s usually been unbelievable with me. I have no ill will toward the guy at all. Amber: Where can Buzzbin readers find out more about what you are up to? Louis: Go to www.wulirecords.com, and I am getting a site together for my studio that will show music I am working on. And I think MySpace is Awesome. I work so much lately I can’t sit down and get on it as much. I can’t say I’m a big MySpace person. If you want to find out what is going on with me that go to www.wulirecords.com, and that is the main focus right now. Amber: Hey, don’t forget to send over some pictures too. Louis: I will. I’ll send some over right away. I love your magazine. You know it’s funny because I work with a guy who was in a band called Salt of the Earth. And I was reading the mag the other day, and he was like “Wow, what magazine was that?” He was totally into it. It’s a really cool mag. It’s awesome. It reminds me of the early ‘80s kind of, when a lot of good mags were out. You guys rue. You guys are doing something positive, and you’re really helping people out.