In the early 1980s, Aimee Mann, leader of the band ‘Til Tuesday, penned a song called “Voices Carry” about a troubled relationship. Back then, it was hard to know the true story behind the song, but many wonder, is Voices Carry about Al Jourgensen?
Here is what I know:
Voices Carry is most likely about Al Jourgensen, who was dating Aimee Mann at the time. Ministry’s frontman confirmed this more recently in an interview. But while Jourgensen has confirmed it, Mann has denied it.
But at the time, I recall it being the urban myth since this was in the days before Al Gore invented the internet.
There are many versions on the internet of this story, but they fail to give any concrete answer. As I dug deeper, I came across a few possible explanations, which are as follows:
According to Mann, the track resulted from an argument between her and ‘Til Tuesday drummer and ex-lover of Mann’s, Michael Hausman.
However, producer Mike Thorne, who produced that album, says the lyrics were intended for Mann’s skittish girlfriend, but the singer had to replace “she” with “he” due to growing pressure from her label “Epic Records”.
To make the topic more complex, Jourgensen made a claim in 2013 that the song was about him, and the song captured the essence of the time Jourgensen and Mann spent in Boston as a couple.
And Mann later claimed the ‘Til Tuesday song “No More Crying” from the same album is really the one about Al.
But, as I said, there is no concrete answer.
So, which version is valid? Is “Voices Carry” about Jourgensen? Did Jourgensen also write any song for Mann? And was Aimee really dating all 3 of them at the same time?
Let’s find out!
Happy 60th Birthday Aimee Mann! Her song with the band Til Tuesday, “Voices Carry” inspired many women to get out of abusive relationships. MTV pushed the video hard and helped give the song added exposure. Her abusive boyfriend in the video was played by actor Cully Holland. pic.twitter.com/q1XGITWvw1
— Psychedelic Jukebox (@60sPsychJukebox) September 8, 2020
Who is the boyfriend in the Voices Carry video?
The actor who plays Aimee Mann’s boyfriend in the Voices Carry video is Cully Holland. Cully was hired to play Mann’s abusive boyfriend, who disapproved of her profession, demeaned her, and constantly demanded that she change her looks to appear respectable.
It’s worth noting that the actor does not really look like Al Jourgensen, who looked much more “new wave” at the time.
Shot in the Strand Theatre and Davio’s Restaurant in Mann’s native Boston, the video inserts several unspoken dramatic scenes and displays a young musician being controlled by her abusive boyfriend.
The video starts with actor Cully Holland demeaning Aimee for her short hair and pursuing music as a hobby, saying, “Can you do something for me once?” before forcing himself on her.
The situation worsened until Mann had enough.
By the video’s end, the couple is shown attending an elite event at Carnegie Hall, where the boyfriend is disgusted to find a visible black lace cap peeking out of his girlfriend’s blacktop.
Mann decides not to stay hush anymore and sings in her seat. She raises her voice and creates a scene. She stands and belts out the lyrics, “He said, shut up! He said, shut up!” Oh God, can’t you keep it down?” indicating that Mann was no longer a submissive and timid girlfriend.
The track was a great success, primarily attributed to the video. It grabbed worldwide exposure and nominations for numerous awards.
Mann’s band ‘Til Tuesday received the Best New Artist award the same year.
It is also worth noting that in 1985, Mann gave an interview where she denied Voices Carry was about Jourgensen and instead claimed the ‘Til Tuesday song “No More Crying” from the same album was about him.
Those lyrics include:
There is no love here
(There is no love)
Only some sort of blackmail
Whatever you feel
(Whatever you feel)
Probably only comes down
To male and female
No more crying
No more crying
No more crying
No more crying
Because of you
— 𝑵𝒐𝒄𝒕𝒖𝒎 𝑪𝒓𝒊𝒑𝒕𝒂𝒆 (@noctum_criptae) October 3, 2021
Did Al Jourgensen date Aimee Mann?
Al Jourgensen dated Aimee Mann for a brief time in the early 1980s, but their relationship was significantly dysfunctional. Although Jourgensen loved Aimee, he did not see any future with her.
And I once played at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston where those 2 often hung out, and even then (1988), the guys working there recalled the high drama relationship between Jourgensen (who spent time there and recorded the first Ministry album there) and Mann.
Aimee even briefly joined the band Ministry and learned to write songs efficiently:
“I started writing songs on my own and looking for musicians to put a band together so we could get a record deal.”
But honing her writing skills wasn’t the only thing she took from Ministry. She also cherished a romantic liaison with Jourgensen during this time.
According to an article Jourgensen stated in his autobiography:
“The only good thing about being in Boston was hooking up with Aimee Mann. She split her time between her place and mine, living with another guy. What we had was much more than just a fling, and we’ve stayed in touch over the years.”
The old-time friends also met each other at a Hollywood Bowl event. Jourgensen told Rolling Stone Magazine,
“she was there. We got along great. I go along well with all my exes.”
So, taking the above incidents as a piece of evidence, it is clear that Al Jourgensen dated Aimee Mann, and it was more than a fling, but that was the end of it.
‘Til Tuesday-Voices Carry (1985)
Maybe pure nostalgia, but I love this album ‘T to B’. It doesn’t build, it doesn’t reveal itself in layers on repeated listens and it’s not a particularly varied set of songs… still love it. pic.twitter.com/ZskC6aN8vu
— Tor Hansen (@TorHansen18) January 16, 2022
What is the meaning behind the song Voices Carry?
The debut single by ‘Til Tuesday is an account of lead singer Aimee Mann’s troubled relationship with an abusive boyfriend she had. The track captures the musician losing her freedom because her partner had a very controlling nature.
“Voices Carry” by ‘Til Tuesday, claimed itself as a success as soon as it was released.
The beautiful tone of the song hit you like a sledgehammer with its intense bass playing and husky vocals.
The track is loaded with undertones that hint that someone is caught in an abusive relationship. I mean, look at the lyrics- “I try so hard not to get upset, because I know all the trouble I’ll get”
At first, the guy tells the singer to hush, which later elevates to “shut up.” You can’t help but feel bad for the person in this relationship.
The song garnered critical acclaim.
Overall, the track received positive reviews and was hailed as “wonderfully eerie”. Rolling Stone magazine praised it for its “icy charm” and Allmusic for its “production”.
5. Ms. Afton / Ballora
Aimee Mann pic.twitter.com/rAjRDiJLC9
— George W. Bush (@lemon_chief_) January 18, 2022
Is Aimee Mann friends with Al Jourgensen?
Aimee Mann and Al Jourgensen remain good friends with each other despite having a brief but tumultuous relationship in the early 1990s.
Back in the early 1980s, Mann and Jourgensen spent quite some time with each other working on music. And while the couple’s perseverance paid off in the sense that they both built a successful musical career, their relationship never bore them good results.
Since then, the duo has maintained to keep their bygones be bygones and hardly talk anything about each other. But according to an interview, Jourgensen recently met Aimee, and both got along really well.
A rumor was that Aimee was deeply saddened when a hoax surfaced around the internet saying Jourgensen had died.
But do you know how many times Al Jourgensen died?
Luckily, I covered that in my recent article. Just click that link to read how many times Jourgensen made it back to the mortal world.
— です☠ねっこ🇳🇷🇳🇺🇹🇼 (@overland112029) December 21, 2020
Did Al Jourgensen write any songs about Aimee Mann?
Al Jourgensen wrote about his relationship with Aimee Mann on many tracks from the debut Ministry album With Sympathy including “I Wanted to Tell Her” and “Say You’re Sorry”, but also most likely the 1988 track “Flashback”.
In a 2013 MTV interview, Jourgensen was asked about his relationship with Mann, to which the musician stressed: “Voices Carry” was about him.
If the idea of Aimee and Al being a couple then is hard to wrap your mind around, perhaps the bands’ early 80s version might help you through.
It was all about synths, and with their debut album With Sympathy, you probably know that pretty much every song on this album talks about a relationship with a girl going sideways.
His third studio album, The Land of the Rape and Honey, also consisted of a track (Flashback) which was most likely about Mann.
But his relationship wasn’t the only thing Al gave up when The Land of the Rape and Honey appeared. Jourgensen also gave up his synth sound and moved towards industrial, and ultimately turned into a metal band.
Want to know the reason Ministry changed its sound?
Luckily, I covered that in a recent article. After all, there’s a HUGE difference between Ministry in 1983 to Ministry today. I even cover the truth about whether With Sympathy was forced on him by the record label.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
Lead singer of the band ‘Til Tuesday, Aimee Mann, had a penchant for storytelling since the start. Her quality to study characters was deeply captured by her track Voices Carry.
As soon as the song was released, there were rumors that Al Jourgensen dated her for some time.
Despite a range of versions available on the internet, there is enough evidence that suggests that the song is most likely about Al Jourgensen.
And while Jourgensen has confirmed this story, there is no statement made by Mann to date that can confirm this.
Photos that require attribution: