The Billboard Q&A: Ministry's Al Jourgensen
After 27 years, 13 albums and one lost digit (a toe), Al Jourgensen is pulling the plug on influential industrial metal band Ministry. In typical fashion, Ministry's last hurrah is unconventional.After 27 years, 13 albums and one lost digit (a toe), Al Jourgensen is pulling the plug on influential industrial metal band Ministry. In typical fashion, Ministry's last hurrah is unconventional.
The group is releasing a covers album -- "Cover Up," April 1, on Jourgensen's 13th Planet Records -- as its final body of work, putting its gritty spin on rock staples like "Under My Thumb" and "Radar Love." It makes for an interesting choice for a band whose last three albums have been dedicated to bashing President Bush. Ministry also began bidding adieu to the road March 25 with its C-U-La Tour that includes special guests Meshuggah and Hemlock.
Billboard.com caught up with Jourgensen to pick his brain about the disbanding.
Why did you decide to make the final Ministry album a covers record?
I didn't wanna go out with just three Bush albums, shakin' my fist in the air, tellin' everyone what a prick he is. I wanted to remind people that, "You know what? Ministry's a pretty good fuckin' rock band, too." And no politics, you know, no fist-shaking. No screaming and all that shit. I wanted to go out with a party record.
Was there a particular moment when you decided that it was time to end Ministry or was it gradual?
I did not wanna have to make three, ya know, Bush-bashing records, but the idiot kept getting re-elected. And I just figured after the last one... it was time, it's right. We're on our game. The last three records have been great -- I think -- and you know, it was just time we all rode off in the sunset together. We gotta get a new chapter in this country, man. This is just ridiculous.
Having gone through nearly 30 years with this band, how would you say you'd like Ministry to be remembered?
I'm just glad we're gonna be remembered by doin' this kick-ass cover album at the end. Just let everyone know, "Yeah, we can actually play.
We're not just all politics and anger and shaking your fist in the air and stomping about and being all mean and aggro. It's like, I don't really care what we're remembered as. I know in my heart that that band was relevant for 30 years... If you're [in something] for 30 years, a lot of shit happens in society, right? And basically my shit's always been pretty much social commentary and we've somehow managed to stay relevant. That's all you can ask for.