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 Molé” 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:


My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult

My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, also just called Thrill Kill Kult or TKK is an industrial rock band from Chicago, Illinois.

Thrill Kill Kult is the name given to the band by Frankie Nardiello, who was Ministry’s light technician on their 1986 tour. Frankie wrote his first songs with Alain Jourgensen, the charismatic frontman of Ministry and one of their songs was called “Thrill Kill Kult“. On this occasion, with Alain Jourgensen on guitar and Harry Rushakoff on drums, Nardiello formed the group Special Affect, a project that was never to come. Soon after, Nardiello and a friend Marston Daley worked on the music for a movie Hammerhead Housewife and the Thrill Kill Kult, a movie that never found a broadcaster. Although it hasn’t been released, Wax Trax! Records published the soundtrack of the film as a maxi containing three tracks.

Under the pseudonyms “Groovie Mann” (Nardiello) and “Buzz McCoy” (Daley), they officiated as My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. Since their first 3 tracks were selling well, they were offered a deal on a full album. Named “I See Good Spirits and I See Bad Spirits“, the album was released in 1988. Loved by both independent radios and DJs, the album brought the band a following that loved as their music so their stage performances.

Thrill Kill Kult’s second album, Confessions of a Knife, remains to this day one of the best sellers of the Wax Trax! Label, and influences many groups, especially with the titles “A Daisy Chain 4 Satan” and “Rivers of Blood, Years of Darkness“.

The occult elements, including Satanism, which were an integral part of their music, have evolved in recent years and the group has reoriented to the “shady” disco sounds. Their 1991 album Sexplosion! tends towards psychedelia, house rhythms and towards what will be the basis of their music to come.

The latest albums have expanded on these sounds and also explored new directions, such as in 1995 with the release of Interscope of Hit & Run Holiday, with which they combine the electronic signature of the Kult’s with psychedelia, surf rock, and reminiscences of garage rock from the 1960s, but still contemporary sounds like those of The B-52’s.

Nardiello and Daley recruited Thomas Thorn (Buck Ryder) to synthesize and administer samples for the band’s first tour. For their live performances, the group has also surrounded themselves with “The Bomb Gang Girlz“, singers who do the second vocals and backing vocals. Among the singers were Jackie Blaque, Rhonda Bond and Kitty Killdare.

Thomas Thorn soon left TKK to found his own group, The Electric Hellfire Club (which embraced the overtly evil themes developed by My Life with the Thrill Kill), although he claims to be the one who introduced dark sounds to TKK. It is more than likely, however, that Thorn’s statements were not meant to be taken seriously, as his involvement in the creative process on TKK’s early albums was minimal.

Among the many touring musicians who played with My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult were singer Lydia Lunch, bassist Levi Levi, guitarist William Tucker, Chris “Curse” Mackey of the Evil Mothers and Grim Faeries, Lady Galore of the famous Lords of Acid (who appears under the pseudonym Cherrie Blue in TKK), and a large number of artists, sound technicians, musicians and filmmakers. At the creative level however, it is the duo Nardiello and Daley who remain at the heart of the creations both in terms of album recordings and live performances.

The Sexplosion! Tour in 1991 brought the band notoriety. At one point in the show, a man dressed as Jesus on his cross, presented a black dildo between his legs, while a woman simulated a fellatio. This controversy has caused anger and sparked protests in a number of places in the United States, while helping to raise the profile of the band.

Thrill Kill Kult have left Wax Trax! Records following their third album, Sexplosion!. The Interscope Records label, having realized the potential of the group, signed TKK, reissued Sexplosion! and released their most popular alternative radio hit, “Sex On Wheelz”, (Factory QC recorded by Marty Munsch). Their next two albums, 13 Above the Night and Hit & Run Holiday, were recorded with Interscope before their departure from the label in 1996. The album A Crime For All Seasons, was released on Red Ant Records.

In 2001, the album The Reincarnation of Luna was released on their own label Sleazebox Records and was distributed by Invisible Records. The band accompanied the title Luna with an album Golden Pillz: The Luna Remixes, as well as a live album called Elektrik Inferno. Rykodisc then became the new label of the group and released a compilation of Dirty Little Secrets rarities, and a project Gay, Black & Married.

I took pictures of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult when they opened for Ministry after Hanzel und Gretyl at Red’s in West Edmonton Mall on October 1, 2004:


Hanzel und Gretyl

Hanzel und Gretyl is an American metal band formed in New York in 1993 by Kaizer von Loopy and Vas Kallas.

Kallas had previously sung with Cycle Sluts from Hell, among others. After joining with Kaizer von Loopy, the two took on the roles of the two protagonists from the well-known fairy tale Hanzel und Gretyl, and moved the plot into the future. The intent was to represent a facet of the fairy tale in each album release.

After the release of their Demos Children’s Music (1994), a song appeared on the compilation COP International Chaos. Energy Records took notice of the group and signed them up in 1995.

In 1995 the album Ausflippt (Energy Records) was released, and the band played concert with Ginger Bread (bass) and Pat 5000 (drums). Between 1995 and 1996 Hanzel und Gretyl went on a tour as a support band for Marilyn Manson.

In 1997, Transmissions from Uranus was published. The band then toured both as headliners and with greats like Prong, Slipknot, Rammstein and Rob Halfords Fight. 9D Galactic Center appeared on the soundtrack of the film Mortal Kombat 2 – Annihilation that same year.

A live performance at the MTV Video Music Awards 1997 made the group known to a wider audience. Despite this brilliant start, the group was unable to expand their success because their label Energy Records went under.

It was not until 2002 that Hanzel und Gretyl found a new label with Metropolis Records. Über Alles was released in 2002, and Anna K. (Drain STH) and Jon Osterman (Into Darkness) joined the band as touring musicians. In 2004, album Scheissmessiah was released and the group toured as the opening act for Ministry along with Mark Barker as the new drummer.

In 2006 the EP Oktötenfest 2006 was released, and the band toured as headliners through the USA. Next album, titled 2012: Zwanzig Zwölf was released in 2008. In 2010 the band played at the M’era Luna Festival in Hildesheim, Germany..

In 2012 the album Born to be Heiled was released, followed by Black Forest Metal released in 2014. In 2017, Kaizer von Loopy released the debut album Reichstar under his solo project Kyzrwölf, which stylistically ties in with the music of Hanzel and Gretyl. In 2018 the band released the album Satanik Germanik, which continues the style of its predecessor.

Hanzel and Gretyl initially mixed elements from industrial rock with breakbeat and drum-and-bass rhythms. With the album Über alles, the music became significantly more metal-heavy, the breakbeats took a back seat in favor of conventional rock structures and powerful double-bass fills. The current style can be described as a mixture of alternative metal, industrial metal and influences of the new German hardness. The band often uses samples, for example from political speeches, or excerpts from songs by Kraftwerk (I am above everything).

In their lyrics they often use German words (especially in Über alles, Scheissmessiah and 2012: Zwanzig Zwölf) and clear symbols from German history. In the album 2012: Zwanzig Zwölf, “Sieg-Heil” samples were used.

I took pictures of Hanzel und Gretyl when they opened for My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult and Ministry at Red’s in West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on October 1, 2004: