Ministry's Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker Bury the Hatchet, Consider Future Music Plans

Al Jourgensen
Phil Parmet

Al Jourgensen

Ministry fans will likely be overjoyed to learn that Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker are speaking again -- and maybe more.

"We're actually talking about doing something in the very near future," Jourgensen tells Billboard, "so who knows what may pop up on the next Ministry album. That's really gonna get the old school crowd going. I just got off the phone with him, in fact."

Barker was with Ministry from 1986-2003 and was the sole other constant member of the band through that time. He left after touring to support the Animositisomina album, but despite acknowledging that he and Jourgensen had strained relations" at times their relationship did not cause him to quit. Jourgensen has continued to lead Ministry, while Barker worked on a variety of production projects, including Flowering Blight and the 2013 album Fix This!!!

Jourgensen and Barker got back in touch thanks to Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records, a documentary about Ministry's original label that's been making the festival rounds. Barker has been making appearances in conjunction with screenings, and after Jourgensen signed on to be part of an upcoming panel discussion in Denver he reached out to Barker -- as well as to Revolting Cocks and Ministry bandmate Chris Connelly, about the experience. "These people I haven't deal with or seen in years are becoming a prevalent part of my life again," Jourgensen notes. He says the conversations have been "awesome, man. It's like riding a bike. You know how to do it. It was something that was long overdue on both his part and my part. A lot of external factors -- whether it be management, previous relationships, ex-wives, things like that -- is what interfered with this partnership continuing. I think all the barriers have just dissipated through the process of time and healing. I think there could really be something to this."

Jourgensen says no concrete plans have been hatched yet. He's currently preparing for a tour supporting Ministry's latest album AmeriKKKant, during which the group will play the set in its entirety as well as celebrate the 30th anniversary of its landmark Land of Rape and Honey. The trek kicks off Nov. 21 in San Francisco, with 22 dates before wrapping up with a pair of shows in Los Angeles.

"This tour is the thing I've been the most invested in in the last six, seven, eight tours," Jourgensen notes. "This one almost feels like it's personal for me, 'cause I've met with so much resistance with doing it the way we're doing. Our booking agency, management, record company are like, 'You can’t do a f***ing concert that is a concept concert. It'll bomb. But when you tell me I can't do something, even at 60, it has the opposite effect, like it has on a child. I've got my hackles up and, 'F*** you! I'm gonna do it!"