"He’s always waiting for body parts to fall off": Al Jourgensen says Dave Navarro once offered him $20,000 for his amputated toe

Ministry 2024
(Image credit: Derick Smith)

Al Jourgensen has more than a few tales of disaster and debauchery to share. Frontman of industrial metal legends Ministry for over 40 years, Jourgensen's battle with substance abuse has been well documented over the years - and contributed to several brushes with death, with two overdoses and an exploding stomach ulcer causing his heart to stop in 2010. 

In a new, in-depth interview with The Guardian, the frontman has reflected on one of the more bizarre instances of his life, stemming from an incident where he had to have a toe amputated after stepping on a hypodermic needle.

 “A buddy of mine, [Jane's Addiction guitarist] Dave Navarro, offered me $20,000 for the toe,” he tells The Guardian. "“He’s always waiting for body parts to fall off because he collects curios. I had to inform him that [my doctors] wouldn’t give me my toe back.”

Jourgensen entered rehab for alcoholism in 2014, having previously quit crack cocaine and heroin "by himself". Speaking to Hammer in 2019, the singer explained that, "“I was sleeping on some heroin dealer’s couch clinging onto the one last guitar that I hadn’t pawned yet, and I got this spider bite. The doctor wanted to take my fucking arm off so I looked at him and said, ‘Look motherfucker, I don’t play drums for Def Leppard, I need this fucking arm.’ 

I was at death’s door: I’d owned a 13-room compound and now I had a $500 a day habit, I’d gone through all my savings and pawned off all but one of my guitars. I’d hit rock bottom. A light bulb went on over my head and it all made sense: shit now or get off the pot.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Jourgensen also discusses Ministry's new album Hopiumforthemasses and the decision to retire the band after recording their next album. “I said [Ministry’s 2008 tour] was the last tour because I was puking up blood,” he tells The Guardian. “I had an ulcer which eventually perforated and I died. Then my best friend Mikey [Scaccia, former Ministry guitarist] died. I said those things for specific reasons, but I’m healthy now and we have a great lineup that’s been together for 10 years. We’re doing great work. But we all feel that we want to wrap it up.”

The band are currently set to tour the US with shows revisiting their long-disavowed synthpop flavoured debut With Sympathy. Jourgensen previously suggested they would be re-recording some tracks from the album to give them a more aggressive, recognisably Ministry tone. 

Ministry's new album Hopiumforthemasses is out March 1 via Nuclear Blast. 

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.