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Ministry Biography

Home > Music > M > Ministry > Biography

Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Years Active: 1981-2008
Genres: Synthpop, EBM, Industrial Metal, Thrash Metal

Ministry is an industrial metal band that formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1981 by Al Jourgensen. The band began as a synthpop outfit, but moved to more of an industrial metal sound in the 1980s. Their 1992 album, “Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs,” brought the band commercial success and public recognition. The band's new found success secured them a slot on the Lollapalooza festival tour that year, which exposed the band to a whole new fan base. However, after twenty-seven years of performing and recording music, in 2008 Jourgensen decided to call it quits. Three years later it was announced in 2011 that Ministry would reunite and play their first show in the summer of 2012 at the Wacken Open Air festival. 2012 also saw the release of the band's new album, “Relapse,” followed by a world tour.

When Jourgensen formed Ministry, it was on the heels of his band Special Affect disbanding; Jourgensen recruited Stephen George on drums, Robert Roberts on keyboards, and John Davis on keyboards. The band's sound at the time was mostly new wave synthpop which was featured on their debut album, “With Sympathy” released in 1983 by Arista Records. The album was not a huge success and within a few years Ministry had left Arista and signed with Sire Records, in addition to George leaving the band. Ministry's second offering, “Twitch” emerged in 1986 and sold well, but the band were still considered an underground attraction and had yet to break into the mainstream markets. Jourgensen recruited bass player, Paul Barker and drummer, William Rieflin from the Seattle band, The Blackouts to join Ministry. “The Land of Rape and Honey” appeared in 1988, supported by another tour and a growing fan base.

Jourgensen and Barker continued to be the creative drive behind Ministry's music through to the early 1990s. The duo also branched off to work on their solo projects. Everything changed for Ministry in 1991 with the release of “Jesus Built My Hotrod,” which was written in collaboration with Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers. The music video for the single received continuous play on MTV, which led to a second billing slot on the next Lollapalooza tour. Tragedy struck in 1999 when guitarist William Tucker committed suicide, but the band went on to released their album, “Dark Side of the Spoon,” which they dedicated to Tucker. The band received a boost in their popularity with their single “Bad Blood” appearing on the soundtrack to “The Matrix,” which exposed them to mainstream audiences and earned the band a Grammy Award nomination in 2000. Ministry parted ways with Warner Bros. Records in 2001 and appeared in Steven Spielberg's film “AI: Artificial Intelligence.” By 2008 the band were exhausted by touring and Jourgensen's years of drug abuse had taken their toll. The band went on an indefinite hiatus.

2011 saw the band resurface with Jourgensen on vocals, Mike Scaccia and Tommy Victor both on guitar, Aaron Rossi on drums, John Bechdel on keyboards and Tony Campos on bass. The band also began work on their new album, “Relapse.” Ministry released their first single off their new album in late 2011, “99%.” 2012 saw a second single, “Double Tap” released, with their album, “Relapse” following a month later.