Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Revolting Lots: Al Jourgensen’s Favourite Ministry Albums

As Ministry prepare to tour Europe, their leader puts the band's discography in order while sharing wild tales and encounters with William S. Burroughs, Robert Plant and copious amounts of his own stomach lining

Photograph courtesy of Allan Amato

Al Jourgensen feels like one of the final outlaws of extreme music. The last man standing, despite addiction, occasional institutionalisation and an amputated toe. His life sounds like a lunatic’s nightmare. But he makes it seem like a dream even when describing his third clinical death, from exploding stomach ulcers. 

"I didn’t know what was wrong with me," he says. "I was bleeding out of my nose, my ass, my dick… I was like, ‘Fuck this! I can’t keep touring and doing records, I’m going to be dead!’"

But since then he has prospered. The relentless (no song slower than 220bpm) solo album Surgical Meth Machine is out now and he’s preparing to tour Europe with Ministry in July and August. The band’s current setlist centres on the album From Beer To Eternity, released after guitarist Mike Scaccia’s sudden death in 2012. There was talk of Ministry splitting up for good, but Jourgensen indicates that more records will come.

"I’ve kind of learned never to say never," he says. "When I get around to it I may complete a Ministry record and we may tour on that in the future. I’m pretty confident that there will be a Ministry, Revolting Cocks and a Lard album in the next couple of years, because I have half of those albums already on my shelf."

Jourgensen’s Ministry favourites include The Land Of Rape And Honey for its tape-splicing innovation, but he hates – utterly despises – the first Ministry album, With Sympathy. It was produced under a contract so manipulative that he can’t even state the album’s name.

"I won’t even say the title," he says. "Because I did not write that fucking record. I had nothing to do with that record except my face is on it and my voice is on it. They wrote the lyrics, made me cut my fucking hair, bought me a wardrobe, assigned me management. I was literally a product of the old-school star-making machine.

"It was revolting, disgusting and it traumatised me for years. Actually I think without that record I wouldn’t be as much of a fucking maniac douchebag as I am today. I completely rebelled against it. I was sick to my stomach on a daily basis. I threw up more on that record – times ten – than any other. It was absolutely an abortion period of my life. I fucking hated myself, the world, and everything around me because of that record."

However, on reflection Jourgensen says it may not be totally without merit. "In retrospect, because of that record I wouldn’t be who I am today. So I’m thankful for it now. I’ve finally come full circle. It still doesn’t mean I’m going to listen to that fucking drivel, but I am going to appreciate the overview, of what it’s done for me as a person in my career. I didn’t put it on this list, but I will give it an honourable ‘fuck you’."

Surgical Meth Machine is out now on Nuclear Blast. Ministry play Freemont Country Club in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 26 and begin a European tour at Madrid’s Arena on July 28; for full details and tickets, head here. Click on the image below to begin scrolling through Al’s choices

First Record

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