Ministry Principal Al Jourgensen said his old record label wanted Ministry to sound like Wham!
As longtime fans of the band know, Ministry’s 1983 debut album With sympathy, sonically, bears little resemblance to the industrial metal pulverizing assaults for which the Chicago band would become infamous, being largely composed of slightly funky synth-pop. Answer questions from Metal hammer readers in this week’s new issue (goes on sale September 16) Jourgensen revisits his band’s dubious pop past and blames his old label Arista squarely.
Asked by reader Simon Parrock âWhat made you go from synth to rock? Jourgensen replies: “We hardly ever changed, it was a decision of the label.”
“For our first record, they signed me on the stuff I wrote that ended up Tic and The land of rape and honey, but they didn’t want any of that, and they just assigned us producers and backing musicians – they even wrote lyrics for me. The producers were determined to make it into an early ’80s synth-pop album. They had me cut my hair, [and] bought me a whole new sharkskin costume wardrobe, because they wanted me to be Wham !, or whatever was selling that day. I didn’t sign up for this shit!
“I don’t even count that as a ministry record,” Jourgensen continues. “It’s good for what it is, but it’s not like we’ve gone from synth to rock – that’s the contract we were under, and as soon as we got out of it, we became Ministry. It was a rude awakening to the dangers of the music industry. It was like getting in an Uber and the driver gets lost, so I have to get the GPS out and figure out where we’re going.
For more on Ministry’s ever-entertaining frontman, including his memories of touring with the late Joey Jordison as Ministry drummer, pick up the new Metal Hammer issue on September 16.
Ministry’s new album, Moral hygiene, will be released on October 1, via Nuclear Blast.