Industrial complexity: the ministry divides its platform between the new and nostalgia

Industrial complexity: Ministry head Al Jourgensen can be an intimidating soul, at first sight. With his long dreadlocks and his face full of piercings, and a look that can burn lead, his behavior on stage is quite intense.

In conversation though, he’s warm and super friendly, blessed with a hearty laugh. When we start this interview by sympathizing with Jourgensen because he has a press day allotted, he responds with, “Being a promosexual is a very hard job.” You just have to like it.

The last few years have been strange for Ministry, as for everyone else. They were to go on tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the The mind is a terrible thing to taste album when the pandemic hit. Now this album is 32 years old and the Psalm 69 album celebrates its 30th anniversary. And on top of all that, they’ve released a phenomenal new album, Moral hygieneWhich one is, in the humble opinion of this writer, their best since the above Psalm 69 masterpiece.

But now they’re back on the road, making up for lost time. Their concert at the Anaheim House of Blues with Corrosion of Conformity and the Melvins will be their first in SoCal since performing at Slayer’s last concert at The Forum in late 2019.

“Yeah, it’s been almost two and a half years,” says Jourgensen. “Quite a journey from our little imposed quarantine lives that we participated in. I managed to make the equivalent of almost two, two and a half albums just by being in forced quarantine quarantine. Believe me, I’m not complaining, but I have a studio at home so, OK, there’s nothing to do – let’s just be creative for a few years. It worked out well, but I can’t wait to get back on the road, which I never thought I’d say, but here we are.

Yes, Ministry made lemonade with lemons. And in Moral hygienethey made the sweetest of elixirs.

“I knew when we were done with that, that OK, that’s a good one,” Jourgensen said. “He’s a keeper. After 15 or 17 years, there’s probably maybe four or five keeper. It’s in the keeper category. It seems like everything that’s talked about on this album comes to fruition more than ever. Things like fascism coming to a head, they’re trying every legal trick in the book to impose authoritarianism on this country, with the right to vote and everything we were singing about then comes to fruition now.

Jourgensen has never been one to shut up when he feels passionate about something – there has always been an element of punk rock rebellion in the man and his various bands. Moral hygiene is overtly punk, from the police “anarchy” on the cover, to the Jello Biafra guest feature, to the Stooges cover “Search and Destroy.”

“It wasn’t a conscious effort, but it definitely started to move in that direction,” he says. “What do we still have to lose? They took everything away from us. We are in quarantine with no opportunity to earn money for the next two years. We just have to pull ourselves together and that was the DIY punk rock spirit of the early 80s, late 70s, which I was also a part of. It was kind of a throwback. It was about stepping into a time machine and back.

Jourgensen and Biafra have been friends and colleagues for a long time; indeed, they formed a side project together in 1988 called Lard, and Jourgensen says there’s more Lard on the way.

“[Jello] didn’t happen here – it’s in San Francisco,” says Jourgensen. “We traded hard drives, drop boxes and stuff. I just knew this song was meant for him. I tried to try the vocals and wasn’t happy, so we did it. sent it to Uncle Jello, and he came back with that. We were like, ‘Yeah, that’s it.’ Because we had all this time on our hands, we ended up writing five, six, seven more songs that head into Jello and I’m looking forward to his renditions of his vocal takes on those songs so it looks like we’ve a new Lard album also coming out next year. That’s a bonus.

The Ministry song that Jello sings to is “Sabotage is Sex”, a bratty punk anthem and a highlight of the album.

“This track is a throwback,” says Jourgensen. “It was a lot of fun to do, just the trading process – that’s the new reality we live in. This is how you write music. You send it into the ether and someone picks it up, does their job, and sends it back to you in the ether. There you go, without any human contact. This is where we are. But anyway, it was still great fun. Just hearing the process of how this song grew. I can’t wait to play this stuff.

The new songs are sure to be a highlight of this entire tour, but Ministry will still have to fulfill their duties and celebrate their legacy.

“We have a two-year lag because of COVID,” says Jourgensen. “I kinda thought that was stupid – we planned a 30 year anniversary for this era of ministry, and I was in for it, it made sense, but two years later in quarantine is now the 32nd year of The mind is a terrible thing to tastenot on the 30th, and Psalm 69 now hit 30. So we’re in a weird spot so in this live show we’re going to give some of the Psalm 69 songs, as well as MIATTTT, as well as Pailhead, as well as RevCo. It is literally a throwback. When it’s done, we go out and start hitting them with the new stuff.

Which, when all is said and done, sounds like an explosion.

Industrial complexity: of the ministry Moral hygiene the album is out now. They play with the Melvins and Corrosion of Conformity at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13.

Sharon D. Cole