Ministry is an American industrial metal band founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1981 by producer, singer, and instrumentalist Al Jourgensen. Originally a synth-pop outfit, Ministry evolved into one of the pioneers of industrial rock and industrial metal in the late 1980s. The band's lineup has changed frequently, leaving Jourgensen as the sole original member. Musicians who have contributed to the band's studio or live activities include vocalists Nivek Ogre, Chris Connelly, Gibby Haynes, Burton C. Bell and Jello Biafra, guitarists Mike Scaccia and Tommy Victor, guitarist Cesar Soto, bassists Paul Barker, Paul Raven, Jason Christopher, Tony Campos and Paul D'Amour, drummers Jimmy DeGrasso, Bill Rieflin, Martin Atkins, Rey Washam, Max Brody, Joey Jordison and Roy Mayorga, keyboardist John Bechdel, and rappers and producers DJ Swamp and Arabian Prince.
Following Jourgensen's recovery, Ministry resurfaced in 2003 with Animositisomina, which turned out to be their last album with Paul Barker, who would leave the band the following year after nearly two decades as an official member. Ministry returned to the thrash/industrial style of Psalm 69 and released three albums critical of then-President of the United States, George W. Bush, dubbed the "Bush Trilogy": Houses of the Molé (2004), Rio Grande Blood (2006) and The Last Sucker (2007); these albums effectively revitalized the band's commercial viability. Although The Last Sucker was initially intended to be the band's final album, Ministry reformed in 2011 and released Relapse in the following year. On December 23, 2012, longtime guitar contributor Mike Scaccia died of a heart attack, and he was posthumously featured in the next Ministry album, From Beer to Eternity (2013), which was again supposed to be their last album, as Jourgensen thought his death was the end of the band. Despite this, Ministry has since released two more albums: AmeriKKKant (2018) and Moral Hygiene (2021), and they are working on new material for a sixteenth studio album as of October 2021.
Ministry's origins date to 1978, when Jourgensen moved from Denver to Chicago to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was introduced to the local underground scene by his then-girlfriend, and in 1979 he replaced Tom Hoffmann on guitars in Special Affect, a post-punk group which featured vocalist Frank Nardiello (Groovie Mann of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult), drummer Harry Rushakoff (Concrete Blonde) and bassist Marty Sorenson. Following Special Affect's split in 1980, Jourgensen formed a short-lived band called the Silly Carmichaels, which featured members of the Imports and played two shows.
In 1981, Jourgensen met Jim Nash and Danny Flesher, co-founders and co-owners of the indie record label and shop Wax Trax! Records who recommended him as a touring guitarist for Divine. After playing a few concerts with the latter, Jourgensen began to write and record songs in his apartment, using a newly bought ARP Omni synthesizer, a drum machine, and a reel-to-reel tape recorder. He presented a demo to Jim Nash, who suggested Jourgensen record a single and form a touring band, which Jourgensen decided to call Ministry.[a]
After Twitch, Paul Barker became Jourgensen's primary collaborator in Ministry; until his departure, he was the only person credited as a member of the band other than Jourgensen. Jourgensen then made another significant change to Ministry's sound when he resumed playing electric guitar. With Rieflin on drums, Ministry recorded The Land of Rape and Honey (1988). The album continued their success in the underground music scene. The Land of Rape and Honey made use of synthesizers, keyboards, tape loops, jackhammering drum machines, dialogue excerpted from movies, unconventional electronic processing, and, in parts, heavy distorted electric guitar and bass.
The follow-up album, The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste, was released in 1989. Due to the complex nature of the album's drumming, a second drummer, Martin Atkins (formerly of Public Image Ltd. and Killing Joke), was hired. In addition to Atkins, a ten piece touring line-up was formed, consisting of Chris Connelly (keyboards and vocals), Skinny Puppy vocalist Nivek Ogre (vocals and keyboards), Joe Kelly (vocals and backing vocals) and guitarists Mike Scaccia, Terry Roberts, and William Tucker, with Jourgensen, Paul Barker and Rieflin serving as the group's core members. This tour was documented on In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up. Two opening tracks, "Burning Inside" and "Thieves", were released as a commercial single; "Burning Inside" was accompanied by a music video.
On December 23, 2012, guitarist Mike Scaccia died following an on-stage heart attack, while playing with his other band, Rigor Mortis. In an interview with Noisey in March 2013, Jourgensen announced that Ministry would break up again, explaining that he did not want to carry on without Scaccia. He explained, "Mikey was my best friend in the world and there's no Ministry without him. But I know the music we recorded together during the last weeks of his life had to be released to honor him. So after his funeral, I locked myself in my studio and turned the songs we had recorded into the best and last Ministry record anyone will ever hear. I can't do it without Mikey and I don't want to. So yes, this will be Ministry's last album." The album, titled From Beer to Eternity, was released on September 6, 2013. Jourgensen stated that Ministry would tour in support of From Beer to Eternity, but would not record any more albums.
On January 17, 2020, Billboard released an exposé on guitar player Sin Quirin, detailing accounts of Quirin's alleged behavior including sexual relationships with underage females while touring in San Antonio, TX, Portland, OR, and Tacoma, WA, in the early 2000s. In May 2021, Quirin announced via Facebook that he was leaving Ministry.
Ministry's experimentation, stylistic variation and changes during its career cross several genres of popular music. Alternative rock subgenres such as industrial rock and industrial metal are umbrella terms predominantly used to describe the band's career in general.[c] Ministry has been classified under many other genres, including EBM/industrial dance, techno-rock, hard rock, heavy metal, speed metal, thrash metal, and electro-industrial; their early output has been categorised as new wave, synth-pop, dance-pop, electronic dance, and dark wave. In the April 1989 issue of Spin Magazine, an author Michael Corcoran labelled the band as "industrial disco"; in 1994, writer Simon Glickman used this term as well. AllMusic's Steve Huey states that, previous to Nine Inch Nails' rise to mainstream popularity, "Ministry did more than any other band to popularize industrial dance music, injecting large doses of punky, over-the-top aggression and roaring heavy metal guitar riffs that helped their music find favor with metal and alternative audiences outside of industrial's cult fan base." Despite frequent descriptions of the band's music as industrial, Jourgensen disputed the use of this tag in several publications since the early 1990s, preferring instead to identify his style as "aggro", and, much later "industrious".
Jourgensen, with former and current bandmates, has been active in a number of musical projects besides Ministry. Foremost of these was the Revolting Cocks, founded by Jourgensen, Richard 23 and Luc van Acker during Ministry and Front 242's tour in 1984. Since its formation, the band has released a number of records, and has gone through several line-up changes. 1000 Homo DJs, a project purposed for outtakes from The Land of Rape and Honey and The Mind ... , has recorded a cover of Black Sabbath's "Supernaut", featuring Nine Inch Nails frontman and one-time Revolting Cocks touring member Trent Reznor. PTP, a project led by Jourgensen and Barker, included the assistance from Nivek Ogre on one occasion, and Connelly on another, and notably provided the song "Show Me Your Spine" featured in Paul Verhoeven's 1987 film RoboCop. Other notable projects include Pailhead with Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat and Fugazi, Lard with former Dead Kennedys lead singer Jello Biafra, and Acid Horse with Cabaret Voltaire members Richard H. Kirk and Stephen Mallinder. Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters, a country project led by Jourgensen, released the sole album, Bikers Welcome Ladies Drink Free, in 2012 through 13th Planet Records. Surgical Meth Machine, a speed metal project originally tributed to guitarist Mike Scaccia
Barker has released several solo recordings under various monikers, including Age of Reason and Chicks & Speed: Futurism as Lead into Gold in 1990, The Perfect Pair as Flowering Blight in 2008, and Fix This!!!, an accompanying soundtrack of Fix: The Ministry Movie, under his own name in 2012. Through the 2000s, Barker formed Pink Anvil with Max Brody and U.S.S.A. with the Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Denison. Brody and Scaccia have also released materials as Goobersmoochers via Brody's Bandcamp site.
Roberto Gerhard: Libra; Hadyn: Four Scottish Songs; Carulli: Duo Op. 37 for Fortepiano and guitar; Vivaldi: Concerto in D for guitar and strings; Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Ecologues for flute, English horn and guitar; Ponce: Sonata for guitar and harpsichord; Villa-Lobos: Distrubacio de Flores, Aria from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, Three Guitar Solos; Recita: Music of John Dowland for lute solo and ensemble; Vivaldi: Concerto In G for Two Guitars, Strings and Continuo; Steinberg: Three Pieces for Prepared Guitar; J. N. Hummel: Serenata no. 1 for Clarinet, Bassoon, Violin, Piano and Guitar; Bach and Handel Anniversary; Handel: Sonata No. 4, Op. 1 for recorder and guitar; Giuliani: Variations on a Theme of F. Handel; J. 2b1af7f3a8