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UNITED STATES, Illinois, Chicago

Date Formed 1981
Date Disbanded 2008

Categories: Industrial


Last Known Lineup

Past Members

Live Session Members


Groundbreaking act led by Cuban born Al Jourgenson that have undoubtedly influenced later major names on the scene. Strangely, MINISTRY started out as a Electro Dance band prior to switching tack to a much harder sound for 1986's 'Twitch' album. The group started out with SPECIAL EFFECT issuing 1979's 'Mood Music' EP on the band's own label. Following a 1981 single 'Empty Handed' on Thermidor Records SPECIAL EFFECT folded as Jourgenson founded MINISTRY. The band's first incarnation included bassist Lamont Welton and drummer Stevo for the 1982 single 'Cold Life'.

Signing to major label Arista MINISTRY continued with their Electro Dance theme as Jourgenson brought back into the fold his former SPECIAL EFFECT colleague Marty Sorenson on bass. Other enlisted recruits for the 'Work For Love' album, released in America under the title 'With Sympathy', were vocalist Shay Jones, guitarist Walter Turbett, drummer Stephen George and keyboard players Robert Roberts and John Davis. The album, a pretty limp affair, barely scraped the American top 100.

Jourgenson cut MINISTRY back down to a solo project to release the 1985 independent single 'Nature Of Love' prior to landing a further major deal with Sire Records as MINISTRY's sound began to toughen up for the 'Twitch' album. Jourgenson also had a side project act going at the same time titled endearingly THE REVOLTING COCKS which included FRONT 242 members Richard 23 and Luc Van Acker, the former being replaced by FINITRIBE's Chris Connelly. REVOLTING COCKS would maintain their presence throughout MINISTRY's career with numerous releases and late collaborations with NINE INCH NAILS mentor Trent Reznor under the guise of 1000 HOMO DJ'S as the duo covered BLACK SABBATH's 'Supernaut'.

MINISTRY were now aided by former FRONT 242 bassist Paul Barker, keyboard player Roland Barker and drummer William Rieflin. Two further albums 1989's 'The Land Of Rape And Honey' and 1990's 'The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste' followed as MINISTRY's sound got harder still. Featured on drums for this outing would be former HAMMERON man Jeff Ward. In America a live album 'In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up' was issued to mark their progress. As well as THE REVOLTING COCKS Jourgenson was also putting his energies into ex-DEAD KENNEDY's man Jello Biafra's LARD, P.T.P. for the 'Rubber Glove Seduction' single, ACID HORSE and LEAD INTO GOLD. The latter included Rieflin, Paul Barker and guitarist Stuart Banf Zechman and released the 1990 albums 'Chicks And Speed' and 'Age Of Reason'.

1992's MINISTRY album 'Psalm 69' gave the band the commercial success they had been looking for with tracks such as 'Jesus Built My Hot Rod' (which included guest vocals from THE BUTTHOLE SURFERS Gibby Haynes) and 'N.W.O.' attaining mass appeal. MINISTRY drafted in RIGOR MORTIS guitarist Mike Scaccia for touring including a high profile slot on the 1992 'Lollapalooza' tour. Some of these dates also witnessed Scaccia's RIGOR MORTIS colleague Casey Orr, later of GWAR repute, standing in on bass guitar.

The band switched labels to WEA / Warner Bros. as Jourgenson held onto Barker and Scaccia but bringing in fresh blood in the form of ex-ZOETROPE, METHOD OF DESTRUCTION and MINDFUNK guitarist Louis Svitek, former JESUS LIZARD drummer Rey Washam and keyboard player Duane Buford. 1996's 'Filthpig', including an irreverential take on BOB DYLAN's 'Lay Lady Lay', gave MINISTRY their highest selling album to date but Jourgenson MINISTRY went on ice.

Svitek put in a guest session on FINAL CUT's 'Atonement' album in 1996. Rieflin put together an experimental band in 1998 titled SUNSHINE CAKE that included former NIRVANA bassist Krist Novoselic and Roderick Romero of SKY CRIES MARY. Van Acker created SPINE GRINDER for a 1998 album 'Meat & Greed'. Meantime MINISTRY issued their parting shot for Warner Bros. with the 1999 album 'Dark Side Of The Spoon'. Despite losing major label support the band's profile would be back on the rise courtesy of a useful cameo in Steven Spielberg's Sci-Fi film 'A.I.' MINISTRY signed to the Sanctuary label as a quickfire Warner Bros. retrospective release, entitled 'Greatest Fits' included a band new track 'What About Us'. New product would come in the form of the 'Sphinctour' CD and DVD package documenting the band's 1996 tour.

STATIC X, together with a guesting Burton C. Bell of FEAR FACTORY, covered 'Burning Inside' for their 2000 album. MINISTRY bassist Paul Barker launched a side venture billed as PINK ANVIL in 2002.

Promoting a new studio album 'Animositisomnia', sporting a cover of MAGAZINE's 'The Light Pours Out Of Me', MINISTRY got back to live action in March of 2003, touring the USA allied with MUDVAYNE and Swedes IN FLAMES. Drummer Tia Sprocket would be superseded by former SCRATCH ACID and JESUS LIZARD man Rey Washam. A fresh bout of North American touring throughout March, April and May saw MINISTRY headlining over LOLLIPOP LUSTKILL and MOTOGRATER. New face on the drums would be PINK ANVIL man Max Brody. MINISTRY would spend January of 2004 locked up in the Sonic Ranch studio in Tornillo, Texas cutting a new studio album with the title 'Houses Of The Molé'. Closing an eighteen year tenure with the band Paul Barker bowed out. New man on bass guitar would be the M.O.D., MINDFUNK and DRAGPIPE credited John Monte.

Al Jourgensen re-assembled REVOLTING COCKS in March of 2004. Joining the frontman in the new lineup would be Phil 'Phildo' Owen of the SKATENIGS, John Monte on bass, guitarist Mike Scaccia and Mark Baker of the HELLIONS and SHADOW REICHENSTEIN. Meanwhile MINISTRY would gear up for live dates with the recruitment of guitarist Brian Kehoe, previously with LES CLAYPOOL'S FROG BRIGADE and M.I.R.V. However, in August it would be announced that PISSING RAZORS bassist Rick Vallez would be handling all guitar duties for MINISTRY. US shows had the band allied with MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT throughout September and October. West coast dates would see the inclusion of ex-DEAD KENNEDYS frontman Jello Biafra joining the band for renditions of LARD songs. Another notable gig came on 12th October, when MINISTRY were joined onstage by CHEAP TRICK guitarist Rick Nielsen for a rendition of the BLACK SABBATH classic 'Supernaut' at the Rave in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Upfront of a 2005 album 'Rio Grande Blood' MINISTRY published the 25th anniversary collection 'RaNtologY' a fifteen track retrospective of "redux, remixes and alt mixes" by Al Jourgensen and the previously unreleased cut 'The Great Satan'. In May 2006 'Rio Grande Blood' shifted just 7,000 copies in its first week of US sale to debut at number 134 on the US charts.

Tour plans commenced in May 2006, seeing the band teaming up with REVOLTING COCKS, San Antonio's PITBULL DAYCARE and SPYDER BABY for the two month 'MasterBaTour'. These shows would see a re-vamped MINISTRY line-up involving Jourgensen alongside Mike Scaccia of RIGOR MORTIS and Tommy Victor from PRONG on guitar, Paul Raven of KILLING JOKE, MURDER INC. and PRONG on bass and Joey Jordison of SLIPKNOT repute on drums. Subsequently enrolling would be keyboard player John Bechdel of FEAR FACTORY and KILLING JOKE repute.

Album recordings in early 2007, branded 'The Last Sucker', saw the inclusion of FEAR FACTORY frontman Burton C. bell as studio guest.

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