Soundwave 2015 Band Drags AJ Maddah Over Running A “Ponzi Scheme”

Lead singer of industrial metal band Ministry Al Jourgensen has posted a blistering rant about ex-Soundwave boss AJ Maddah, alleging that he basically ran the festival as a Ponzi scheme by paying the previous year’s acts with the following year’s ticket sales.

“Not only did he blatantly rip us off but ripped off damn near every band in the festival lineup,” he wrote on the crowd-funding he’s set up to help with the heavy costs now facing him. “He [Maddah] worked Soundwave fest like a Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme… (he would pay last years bands off of the next year’s ticket sales… and apparently this has been going on for years with this guy…) he has been living the “high life” of a jet setting playboy on the hard work of thousands of musicians and crew over the years, but this year, it all came crashing down.”

Jouregensen – who says he only found out he wouldn’t be getting paid on Friday – claims that Maddah owes him $200,000 for his Soundwave booking earlier this year, none of which he’s seen. Jourgensen says he’s reached into his own pocket to the sum of $35,250 to pay his band and crew.

“We’ve been told on numerous occasions, both verbally and in writing, that we would be paid in full,” he wrote. “AJ even set up a payment plan with me six months ago, which of course, was another promise he did not keep.”

Jourgensen’s set up the crowd-funding page on Patreon to try and cover some of his costs, saying that “it would be a big help in smoothing this crisis over.

He’s offered various personalised thank you’s for everyone who pledges, with amounts ranging from $3 per month (access to the Patron-only news feed, getting everything posted to them first), to $1,000+ per month (“You’re fucking nuts! THANK YOU! I will call you, and we will figure something out. If you’re in LA, we’ll go to dinner. If I come through on tour, you’ll get into the show and you can come hang out with the band backstage before.”).

Soudwave owes Ministry $203,952, according to an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) creditors report published by ToneDeaf. That’s just part of a unpaid bill of an astounding $26 million, of which $3m is owed to the Australian tax office, $2.1m to Soundgarden, $1m to Live Nation, $1.6m to Slipknot, $1.2m to Smashing Pumpkins, and $750k to Faith No More.

You can read Jourgensen’s full rant / donate over HERE, but first, a complete list of every insult Jourgensen flung at Maddah in the order they appear. Hey, it’s almost Christmas after all.


  1. Douchebag
  2. Lying scumbag
  3. Dickwad
  4. A grinch
  5. Evil fuck
  6. A charlatan

Photo: Martin Philbey/Getty Images.