Ministry

Al Jourgensen with Cross Bone Mic Stand
Al Jourgensen with Cross Bone Mic Stand

Ministry is an American industrial metal band from Chicago, Illinois.

Ministry was founded in 1981 by Alain Jourgensen (also Alien Jourgensen or Al Jourgensen for short) in Chicago as a pure synth-pop project. In the middle of the 80s the sound changed, influences from industrial and EBM were added. A few years later, using rhythm guitars, the industrial metal style that Ministry is known for was fully developed, culminating in style-defining albums.

At that time, Ministry consisted of Paul Barker (bass) alongside Al Jourgensen. In addition, Ministry was a central part of a wide network of musicians from various bands, which resulted in a number of side projects (including releases with members of Front 242 as Revolting Cocks; with the Dead Kennedys vocalist Jello Biafra as Lard; and with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails as 1000 homo DJs). In addition, Jourgensen was involved in the Skinny Puppy album Rabies, whose style he decisively and clearly influenced.

The subtitle of their song Psalm 69 (The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs) quotes a play on words from “Magick” by Aleister Crowley.

The band Ministry is identified by the Jourgensen’s character, who attracted attention through frequent drug excesses. He has been reanimated twice because of cardiac arrest due to heroin use. But he has overcome this phase and satirized with the cynical album title The Dark Side of the Spoon, derived from Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.

Of note is Jourgensen’s political engagement against the Republicans. Ministry’s reference work Psalm 69 (1992) is peppered with original speeches from, among others, George Bush Sr., which are integrated into the songs in the form of samples. Jourgensen also uses this stylistic device on other albums. The 2004 album “Houses of the MolĂ©” contains samples of speeches by George W. Bush. Many Bush’s speeches can be found in the album Rio Grande Blood, especially in the song by the same name.

In May 2006, Jourgensen announced that, following the upcoming world tour, he would immediately begin work on what is likely to be his last Ministry album (working title: The Last Sucker) and would then focus more on his newly founded label.

On October 20, 2007, bassist Paul Raven was found dead in his home in France, near the Swiss border. Raven died of a heart attack and was 46 years old.

On June 10, 2008, the band broke off a concert on their farewell tour in Hamburg after the audience had thrown (sometimes full) cups at the group and the band’s crew members.

On June 24, 2008, a fan under the influence of drugs attacked the band with tear gas during the show in Toulouse, France, after which the concert was interrupted for 15 minutes. After the perpetrator was caught by the band’s truck driver and handed over to the police, Al Jourgensen insisted on continuing the show.

On July 19th and 20th, 2008 Ministry gave what they said were their last concerts at the Tripod Club in Dublin, Ireland.

However in an interview with the American Metal Hammer, Al Jourgensen announced the return of the band and the work on a new album, which would be called Relapse and which should be released for Christmas 2011. However, it was not released until March 23, 2012.

Guitarist Mike Scaccia died, presumably of a heart attack on December 23, 2012 while performing at the Rail Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

I took pictures of Ministry at Red’s in West Edmonton Mall where they headlined the concert. Their opening acts were Hanzel und Gretyl and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult:

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