Ministry (formed in 1981) is a popular American industrial metal band, founded by lead singer Al Jourgensen in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Al Jourgensen, Ministry’s figurehead and only member to have continued from the start had been in a number of bands before Ministry including Special Affect and Silly Charmichaels, however along with Stephen George on drums and Robert Roberts and John Davies on keyboard, decided to create a new wave synth pop outfit. The band released four 12” singles on Wax Trax! Records including the fan favourite “Everyday is Halloween” and their debut LP “With Sympathy” in 1983 and became popular for their arena filling sound.
The band’s follow-up “Twitch” (1986) saw Jourgensen split with George and take a more solo-approach to the album, and 1988’s “The Land of Rape and Honey” saw the lead singer re-kindle his love or the electric guitar and continue the band’s success in the underground music scene. “The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste” released in 1989 saw the band tour with a 10-piece band and saw Al Jourgensen expand his musical ideas through side-projects and collaborations, honing in on Ministry’s sound, including RevCo and Lard.
The 1991 album “Psalm 69” represented Ministry’s move to the mainstream, with the notable singles “Jesus Build My Hotrod” and “Just One Fix” the latter of which was a collaboration with poet and Beatnik novelist William Burroughs, the album was a huge hit and enough to secure the band second billing at Lollapalooza.
Plagued by arrests and drug problems Ministry didn’t release their next album “Filth Pig” until 1996 and saw the distinctly-Ministry synthesisers and samples removed and replaced with distorted guitar with heavy bass and drums. “Dark Side of the Spoon” released in 1999 diversified the band’s sound further adding various melodic and inorganic accoutrements to their electro-metal mix, the single “Bad Blood” from the album appeared in the film The Matrix and ended up being nominated for a Grammy Award.
Due to disputes with Warner Bros. Records the band parted ways and had their planned albums “Live Psalm 69”, “Sphinctour” and “ClittourUS” cancelled. In 2001 Jourgensen was bitted by a venomous spider and nearly had to have his arm amputated, as a result he had one of those life-restructuring moments we’re all capable of and vowed to kick his heroin addiction. With the help of saxophonist Max Brody, Ministry released the album “Animositisomina” on Sanctuary Records in 2003, the album, however didn’t perform well commercially, with singles cancelled before being released.
Ministry’s next released cemented and developed the industrial metal approach of the electro-metal sound with the politically angst “Houses of the Molé” in 2004, followed shortly after by 2006’s “Rio Grande Blood” released on Jourgensen’s own 13th Planet Records. The single “Lieslieslies” from “Rio Grane Blood” was nominated for the Best Metal Performance and the 49th annual Grammy Awards.
Ministry’s more recent years have seen the release of “The Last Sucker” in 2007, the cover and remix album “Cover Up” in 2008 and “Undercover” in 2010 before a hiatus that lasted until 2011. Ministry’s album “From Beer to Eternity” (2011) was dedicated to guitarist Mike Scaccia who died of an on-stage heart attack, and the band toured in support of the album.