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Ministry band

Ministry band photo 2006

Ministry Biography

This Industrial Metal outfit is one of the pioneering projects in the genre but Ministry started out in 1981 in Chicago, Illinois USA, as Synth-Pop Disco-Dance act releasing several maxi-singles. Cuban born vocalist + guitarist Al Jourgensen is the creative force behind the band that initially consisted of Jourgensen, keyboardist John Davis, bassist Lamont Welton and drummer Stephen George.

Ministry's debut full-length record, "With Sympathy", came out in 1983 on Arista Records, it reached the #96 spot on the U.S. Top 200 LPs & Tapes chart cranking out a slew of club hits including "Work For Love".

After the release of "Twelve Inch Singles 1981-1984", Jourgensen signed a new deal with Sire Records, opted to shift musical gears and issued an album of heavier stuff, the second proper Ministry LP, "Twitch", which made a brief appearance in the lower regions of The Billboard 200 chart, in 1986.

Jourgensen also had a side project called The Revolting Cocks and subsequently began collaborating with like-minded artists like Skinny Puppy's Kevin Ogilvie and Nine Inch Nails mentor Trent Reznor, among others.
In 1988 Ministry resurfaced with a new line-up of Jourgensen, keyboard player Roland Barker, bassist Paul Barker and drummer William Rieflin releasing "The Land Of Rape And Honey" in the fall; the disc stuttered at #164 on The Billboard Top 200.

The follow-up album, 1989's "The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste", met with similar chart peak but it included "Burning Inside", the group's first Modern Rock top 30 hit; shortly afterwards guitarist Mike Scaccia joined.

July 1992 saw the release of Ministry's fifth LP, "Psalm 69", which climbed into the U.K. top 40 and into the top 30 of The Billboard 200 chart while the first single, "Jesus Built My Hotrod", crashed into the top 20 of The Modern Rock list and its follow-up, "N.W.O.", peaked at #11 on the same chart.

Distracted by drugs, arrests and replacing nearly the entire line-up of the band, Jourgensen took nearly four years to complete Ministry's next record; the album, titled "Filth Pig", came out in January 1996 on Warner Bros. and became their highest charting LP to date, reaching #19 on The Billboard 200 and spawning the Hot Dance Music top 20 hit "The Fall".

In 1999 the band appeared on the soundtrack for the sci-fi movie "The Matrix" with the song "Bad Blood" and later, in June, was released their parting shot for Warner, "The Dark Side Of The Spoon", which barely sneaked into the top 100 of The Billboard 200 Albums list.

In late 2001 Ministry signed for Sanctuary and with 2003's "Animositisomina" the group delivered their first album of original material in three and a half years; the band then set out on the road and raided towns with the likes of Mudvayne and In Flames.

The follow-up CD, the first part of Ministry's anti-George W. Bush trilogy "Houses Of The Molé", was released just a year later, in June 2004, to little notice.

Having finished with major labels, Jourgensen formed a new record label, 13th Planet Records and in May 2006 issued "Rio Grandé Blood"; this record shifted 7,000 copies in its first week of release to debut at #134 on The Billboard 200. So for the subsequent tour he assembled an impressive line-up of musicians: guitarist Tommy Victor, long-time Ministry axe-virtuoso Mike Scaccia, ex-Fear Factory keyboardist John Bechdel, Killing Joke bassist Paul Raven and drummer Joey Jordison.

2007's "The Last Sucker" ended the anti-Bush trilogy; the band's eleventh studio album of new material reached #130 on The Billboard Top 200 chart.

Following a three-year hiatus and deep in the heart of El Paso, Texas, Al Jourgensen re-opened the doors of his industrial compound studio in fall 2011 to cut Ministry's next album, "Relapse". Featuring the single "Double Tap" the CD was released in March 2012.


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Ministry pictures:

  • Ministry band lineup early 90s Ministry band lineup early 90s
    The band line-up early-'90s