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Ministry

Until Nine Inch Nails crossed over to the mainstream, Ministry did more than any other band to popularize industrial dance music, injecting large doses of punky, over-the-top aggression and roaring heavy metal guitar riffs that helped their music find favor with metal and alternative audiences outside of industrial's cult fan base. That's not to say Ministry had a commercial or generally accessible sound: they were unremittingly intense, abrasive, pounding, and repetitive, and not always guitar-oriented (samples, synthesizers, and tape effects were a primary focus just as often as guitars and distorted vocals). However, both live and in the studio, they achieved a huge, crushing sound that put most of their contemporaries in aggressive musical genres to shame; plus, founder and frontman Al Jourgensen gave the group a greater aura of style and theater than other industrial bands, who seemed rather faceless when compared with Jourgensen's leather-clad cowboy/biker look and the edgy shock tactics of such videos as "N.W.O." and "Just One Fix." After 1992's Psalm 69, which represented the peak of their popularity, Ministry's recorded output dwindled, partially because of myriad side projects and partially due to heroin abuse within the band, but the band continued to resurface throughout the rest of the decade.

Ministry were formed in 1981 by Alain Jourgensen (born October 8, 1958, Havana, Cuba); he had moved to the U.S. with his mother while very young and lived in a succession of cities, eventually working as a radio DJ and joining a new wave band called Special Affect (fronted by future My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult leader Frankie Nardiello, aka Groovie Mann). Featuring drummer Stephen George, Ministry debuted with the Wax Trax! single "Cold Life," which -- typical of their early output -- was more in the synth pop/dance style of new wavers like the Human League or Thompson Twins. The album With Sympathy appeared on the major-label Arista in 1983 and followed a similar musical direction, one that Jourgensen was dissatisfied with; he returned to Wax Trax! and recorded several singles while rethinking the band's style and forming his notorious side project the Revolting C**ks.

In 1985, with Jourgensen the only official member of Ministry, the Adrian Sherwood-produced Twitch was released by Sire Records; while not as aggressive as the group's later, more popular material, it found Jourgensen taking definite steps in that direction. Following a 1987 single with Skinny Puppy's Kevin Ogilvie (aka Nivek Ogre) as PTP, Jourgensen once again revamped Ministry with former Blackouts bassist Paul Barker officially joining the lineup to complement Jourgensen's rediscovery of the guitar; fellow ex-Blackouts William Rieflin (drums) and Mike Scaccia (guitar), as well as vocalist Chris Connelly, were heavily showcased as collaborators for the first of several times on 1988's The Land of Rape and Honey. With Jourgensen and Barker credited as Hypo Luxa and Hermes Pan, respectively, this album proved to be Ministry's stylistic breakthrough, a taut, explosive fusion of heavy metal, industrial dance beats and samples, and punk aggression. Released in 1989, The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste built on its predecessor's artistic success, and In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up was recorded on its supporting tour, introducing other frequent Ministry contributors like drummer Martin Atkins (later of Pigface) and guitarist William Tucker (as well as featuring a guest shot from Jello Biafra). Jourgensen next embarked on a flurry of side projects, including the aforementioned Revolting C**ks (with Barker, Barker's brother Roland, Front 242 members Luc Van Acker and Richard 23, and many more), 1000 Homo DJs (with Biafra, Rieflin, and Trent Reznor), Acid Horse, Pailhead (with Ian MacKaye), and Lard (again with Biafra, Paul Barker, Rieflin, and drummer Jeff Ward).

In late 1991, Ministry issued the single "Jesus Built My Hotrod," a driving rocker featuring manic nonsense vocals by co-writer Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers; its exposure on MTV helped build anticipation for the following year's full-length, Psalm 69 (subtitled The Way to Succeed & the Way to Suck Eggs, although the only title that appears on the album consists of a few Greek letters and symbols). The record reached the Top 30 and went platinum, producing two further MTV hits with "N.W.O." and "Just One Fix," and Ministry consolidated their following with a spot on the inaugural Lollapalooza tour that summer (joined by new guitarist Louis Svitek). However, drug and legal problems sidelined the band in the wake of its newfound popularity, resulting in the clouded Filth Pig being released in 1995, too late to capitalize on their prior success. More problems with drugs and arrests followed, and Jourgensen returned to some of his side projects, recording a new album with Lard, among others. In 1999, the new single "Bad Blood" was featured prominently in the sci-fi special-effects blockbuster film The Matrix, setting the stage for the release of Dark Side of the Spoon (the title a reference to the band's heroin problems) later that summer. Guitarist William Tucker committed suicide in May 1999.

Ministry were nominated for a Grammy in 2000 for "Bad Blood," but they lost to Black Sabbath and were dropped from Warner Bros. around the same time. They were also added to the Ozzfest tour, but they were kicked off before it even began because of a management change. To compound their sorrows, Ipecac Records announced three live albums were to be released with material from the Psalm 69 tour being the main focus, but they only had a verbal agreement, and when Warner Bros. caught wind of the project, they stamped it out despite already having the CDs ready for printing. In 2001, Ministry filmed a scene for Steven Spielberg's A.I. and released their contribution to the film on a greatest-hits album, appropriately titled Greatest Fits. The song received a decent amount of promotion, but the single went nowhere and the band signed to Sanctuary Records later in the year. While recording new material, they released the Sphinctour album and DVD in the spring of 2002 to satisfy rabid fans who were disappointed by the Ipecac situation. The next spring, Animositisomina was released, advertised as a return to the Psalm 69 style of songwriting and featuring a cover of Magazine's "The Light Pours Out of Me." Houses of the Molé followed in June 2004.

In September 2005 Ministry celebrated their 25th anniversary with Rantology. Jourgensen remixed such past hits as "Jesus Built My Hotrod" and "N.W.O. for the set; it also included live material, rarities, and the new track "Great Satan." An extensive tour with Revolting C**ks in tow followed. The band then released Rio Grande Blood in May 2006; the second installment in what Jourgensen promised to be a George W. Bush-hating trilogy (which began with Houses of the Molé); the album earned Ministry another Grammy nomination (Best Metal Performance) for "Lies, Lies, Lies." In 2007 the bandmembers announced they would be releasing their "final" album, The Last Sucker, by the end of the year. The 2008 compilation Cover Up examined Ministry's long history of destroying other artists' tunes, while the 2009 set The Last Dubber featured The Last Sucker album remixed. Jourgensen would move on to his country project Buck Satan and return to the C**ks over the next few years, but Ministry wouldn't lay dormant for long. In 2012 they returned with the very thrash, very angry studio album Relapse with the ironically titled live album Enjoy the Quiet following in 2013. The studio album From Beer to Eternity also appeared in 2013, honoring longtime Ministry guitarist Mike Scaccia, who had passed away after suffering heart failure while on-stage performing with his other band, Rigor Mortis. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: From Beer To Eternity

1. Hail To His Majesty (Peasants)

2. Punch In The Face

3. Permawar

4. Perfect Storm

5. Fairly Unbalanced

6. The Horror

7. Side F/X Include Mikey's Middle Finger [TV 4]

8. Lesson Unlearned

9. Thanx But No Thanx

10. Change Of Luck

11. Enjoy The Quiet

x

Track List: Relapse

1. Ghouldiggers

2. Double Tap

3. Freefall

4. Kleptocracy

5. United Forces

6. 99 Percenters

7. Relapse

8. Weekend Warrior

9. Git Up Get Out 'N Vote

10. Bloodlust

x

Track List: Very Best Of Fixes & Remixes

1. Every Day Is Halloween (2010 Version)

2. Jesus Built My Hotrod (Powerman 5000 Remix)

3. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

4. Every Day Is Halloween (Razed In Black Remix)

5. Thunderstruck (Electro Remix)

10. Stigmata (Implant Remix)

13. Paint It Black

x

Track List: Every Day Is Halloween: Greatest Tricks

2. N.W.O.

3. Jesus Built My Hotrod

4. Stigmata

5. Paint It Black

6. Khyber Pass

7. Stranglehold

8. Iron Man

9. Thunderstruck

11. Sharp Dressed Man

12. Rehab

x

Track List: Adios P**as Madres (Live)

1. Let's Go (Live)

2. Watch Yourself (Live)

3. Life Is Good (Live)

4. The Dick Song (Live)

5. The Last Sucker (Live)

6. No W (Live)

7. Waiting (Live)

8. Worthless (Live)

9. Wrong (Live)

10. Rio Grande Blood (Live)

11. Senor Peligro (Live)

12. Lies, Lies, Lies (Live)

13. Khyber Pass (Live)

x

Track List: The Last Sucker

1. Let's Go

2. Watch Yourself

3. Life Is Good

4. The Dick Song

5. The Last Sucker

6. No Glory

7. Death And Destruction

8. Roadhouse Blues

9. Die In A Crash

10. End Of Days Part 1

x

Track List: Rio Grande Blood

1. Rio Grande Blood

2. Senor Peligro

4. Fear (Is Big Business)

5. Lieslieslies

6. The Great Satan

7. Yellow Cake

8. Palestina

10. Khyber Pass

x

Track List: Rantology

1. No W Redux

2. The Great Satan

3. Wrong

4. N.W.O.

5. Stigmata

6. Waiting

7. Warp City

8. Jesus' Built My Hotrod

9. Bad Blood

10. Animosity

11. Unsung

12. Bloodlines

13. Psalm 69

14. Thieves

15. The Fall

x

Track List: Early Trax

1. Every Day Is Halloween

3. All Day

4. All Day Remix

5. Nature Of Love

6. Nature Of Love (Cruelty Mix)

7. Nature Of Outtakes

8. He's Angry

9. Move

10. I'm Falling

11. I'm Falling (Alt Mix)

12. Overkill

x

Track List: Animositisomina

1. Animosity

2. Unsung

3. Piss

4. Lockbox

5. Broken

6. The Light Pours Out Of Me

7. Shove

8. Impossible

9. Stolen

10. Leper

x

Track List: Filth Pig

1. Reload

2. Filth Pig

3. Lava

4. Crumbs

5. Useless

6. Dead Guy

7. Game Show

8. The Fall

9. Lay Lady Lay

10. Brick Windows

x

Track List: Psalm 69

1. N.W.O.

2. Just One Fix

3. TV II

4. Hero

5. Jesus Built My Hotrod

6. Scarecrow

7. Psalm (69)

8. Corrosion

9. Grace

x

Track List: The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste

1. Thieves

2. Burning Inside

3. Never Believe

4. Cannibal Song

5. Breathe

6. So What

7. Test

8. Faith Collapsing

9. Dream Song

x

Track List: The Land Of Rape And Honey

1. Stigmata

2. The Missing

3. Deity

4. Golden Dawn

5. Destruction

6. Hizbollah

7. The Land Of Rape And Honey

8. You Know What You Are

9. I Prefer

10. Flashback

11. Abortive

x

Track List: Twitch

1. Just Like You

2. We Believe

3. All Day

4. The Angel

5. Over The Shoulder

6. My Possession

8. Over The Shoulder

9. Isle Of Man

x

Track List: With Sympathy

1. Effigy (I'm Not An)

2. Revenge

3. I Wanted To Tell Her

4. Work For Love

5. Here We Go

6. What He Say

7. Say You're Sorry

8. Should Have Known Better

9. She's Got A Cause

x

Track List: In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up (Live)

1. The Missing (Live)

2. Deity (Live)

4. Burning Inside (Live)

5. Thieves (Live)

6. Stigmata (Live)

Comments

Report as inappropriate
@dwmartinii, you can't separate his music from his politics. He hated the GBush presidency with a passion, and he had VERY good reasons to do so. I see by your American flag and bald eagle picture that you enjoy the symbolism of our country. But if you can't see any reason to criticize, then a little bit of Al's venom is probably being directed at you, too.
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I've been a big Ministry fan for 20+ years and I am currently reading Jourgensen's book. I have no doubt most of the stories are true but I wonder at his recollection at times (watching women f**k dogs in the streets of Chicago while he records,etc. ) . It's a great read though and it made me want to re-revisit his music and check out some of the stuff I missed.
Report as inappropriate
That's why there good what you mean there views
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Great industrial band minus their political views? You've got to be f**king kidding me.
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Still one of my fave bands and best live shows!
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long live ministry
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al jorgeson rules
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Miss the old ministry, twitch and the days before
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My a** smashing days never. Loose them
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\m/ (-_-) \m/
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Every time I hear this track, I know that someone loves me,they hear me!
Report as inappropriate
Great all time industrial band minus their political views
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Still one of the best songs ever!
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Rip Mike Scaccia
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Listen very carefully to this track,this is our world screaming see me hear me love me
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They are the most brutal, most bad a**, loudest, most rip your head off & pour nitro down your neck & light a match band in existence! Love them forever. From their inception to their last album (which is the LAST album) to their LAST tour kicking off in just a few more days, Ministry put it down the hardest & the best! If U think U can handle it, or already have in the past, go see'em now while you still can and prepare to be ever impressed!
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alabastervil l i s 0
industrial metal is one of the most difficult types of music. most bands have one good album and then return to techno, i give alot of praise for ministry for keeping it up, saw them in sf one time and they were brutal
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Met 1999 dkspoon gr mi w kerry
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Mike trupiano
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*****PHUCKIN GREAT.. IF YOU LIKE INDUSTRIAL.. MINISTRY& SIDE PROJECTS ARE ALL SWEET.. CUUM ON AL. 1 MORE TOUR.
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Jourgensen for President
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FIRES ME UP!!!!!!!!
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I have been listening to Ministry since the 80's and they have always been one of my favorite bands.They are edgier than other industrial outfits
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Gotta love Scarecrow, my favorite song out of all of them
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Top to bottom great album. Great driving music. The peak of industrial metal
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Sounds almost like rob zombie...
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cmcaligirl33 7 3
What will uncle Al pull off next ,
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I FUC%!NG LOVE READING ALL YOUR COMMENTS. THEY REALLY POINT OUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE INTELLIGENT LISTENERS WHO REALLY HAVE SOMETHING IMPORTANT AND RELATIVE TO COMMENT AND THE TOTAL UNEDUCATED IDIOTIC HOMOPHOBIC RACISTS WHO JUST LOVE TO SPRAY VERBAL DIARRHEA IT'S JUST TOO BAD STUPIDITY ISN'T PAINFULL TO THE USER / OWNER...
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Milton Martin Zamudio that is hilarious !!
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Use to f**k like mad to ministry.... Ahhh good memories
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One of the top 10 for sure
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miltonz66
Ah yes,....here ' s one for the kids!
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For f**ks sake this is mighty good s**t. Join the cult then the cult shall join you
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bluhoneyband
OMG I LOVE KISSING IN GRAVEYARDS!! ! THEY HAVE AN ALBUM COMING OUT SOON- LITTLE PSYCHO- I CAN'T WAIT!!!
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rylanchaos
I LOVE Ministry- such a great band! If you dig Industrial check out the band KISSING IN GRAVEYARDS
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COLD!
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When I used to wear this shirt, jesus freaks asked me if I was religious
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falch6
Ministry built my Hot Rod!!
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BOP BOP!....when they play-ed this song in the clubs...we went OFF!
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Both Ministry& NIN are right up there at the top with likes of Skinny Puppy & only a few select others. Also both are as incredible live as they are on album! Truly two of the standard bearers of the best genre of music which is this exhilarating noise we refer to as Industrial!!
Report as inappropriate
Ministry and NIN are live very similar. Now ministry has moved to metal but for 20 years were synth oriented heavily produced hard tunes. Trent. Alain. Same 80s base.
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Ignore moomoo hes a big time troll,guess mommy and daddy never told him they loved him so know he talks smack hiding behind his computer
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Why the hell do people think NIN and ministry sound alike? Maybe early on just a bit, but not enough to be compared. No offense, but NIN are better as well, but I do like both
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Cool--:-)
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I dont get why beaner ? Because Als from Cuba ? You're an ignorant gay name havin racist that doesnt know s**t about s**t. You've written this before, the fact you think its clever makes you a f¥ckin @sshole MooMoo 007™
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Dummy, they lead the way for nin. P**che boboso, moomoo, suck beaner leche...
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Beaner version of NIN.
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thieves and liars
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hekdw
The mind is a terrible thing to taste
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My favorite post Animosity song
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