Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen has more than his fair share of faults, but you have to admit he is entertaining.
Over the years, Jourgensen has claimed to have been visited by aliens, talked about writing as many as three autobiographies (he currently has one on the market), and once told a story about scaring the members of Metallica after a show by chasing them around the green room with their rider food stuck up his ass.
Through it all, he has also been at the helm of some seriously good music. But now, Ministry finds itself at a bit of a strange point. After announcing that the band was done in ’08, Jourgensen recanted and reformed the group in late 2011. Now, after the 2012 death of guitarist Mike Scaccia, the band has embarked upon another round of lasts. Jourgensen calls 2013’s “From Beer to Eternity” the group’s last album, and he says that this year’s tour is going to be it. It is a story we have all heard before, of course, but Jourgensen does not care if you believe him. In fact, he doesn’t care that much about anything we think or say.
“You guys talk all the shit you want,” he said in a phone interview when asked about Ministry’s legacy. “If you think I’m an industrial pioneer or something like that, that’s great. I’m happy for you. To me, I just write music, you know? It’s very cathartic being out in the studio with friends, writing some stuff that may help, may not, may matter, may not, whatever. I don’t do it for the money. I don’t do it for the acclaim. I just do it because apparently that’s my job here, at least up until this point. That’s what I’ve been doing. I don’t get into all the labels and this and that. That’s for you guys. You guys go crazy.”
It is that mentality that really sums up why Jourgensen is saying that he is done. Over the years, Ministry has hopped from label to label, and after 35 years, Jourgensen is officially no longer capable of giving a shit.
“They don’t give a fuck about the kind of music you make,” he said of working with a major label. “They give a fuck about how many records they sell, and that’s it. They don’t give a fuck about anything except the bottom line. They’re not run by record people or music people anymore; they’re run by bean counters.”
Jourgensen has never really had time for bean counters. That is not a mentality that is apt to change as he gets older. He has his own label now but continues to insist that this is the end for Ministry. He said the band was done making music when Scaccia died, and he has kept that promise so far. Now, he says that this is this tour is Ministry’s last gasp before he goes off to create something new. Is it? Time will tell. But if you go to the horse’s mouth and ask Jourgensen himself, is there anything in his mind that resembles doubt?
“No, not sad at all,” he said. “I am very happy. I’ve said enough, done enough. I’m only doing, for the next two years, literary projects. I have a kitchen book coming out, and I also have a comic strip where I gain superpowers and I tackle the oligarchy and destroy that. I’m pretty much focused on my literary projects now. The music stuff is gonna take a back seat for a couple years at least.” CV
Chad Taylor is an award-winning news journalist and music writer from Des Moines who would love to take his talents abroad if the rent were not so much more affordable in Des Moines.