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Ministry’s Al Jourgensen once charged a fan $1000 to sign With Sympathy

Al Jourgensen
Al Jourgensen (Image credit: Getty)

Al Jourgensen has reflected on Ministry’s 1983 debut album With Sympathy and admits it’s the one thing he will not willingly autograph for fans.

It’s not his favourite release and he says that it took him years to “stop loathing” the record as he had little control over it, with the record company at the time dictating its direction.

And in a new interview with Rolling Stone, Jourgensen reports that he once jokingly said he would only sign the album if he was given $1000 – and to his amazement, that’s exactly what happened.

Asked if that period is his least favourite era of the band, Jourgensen says: “I had songs written back then which later wound up on Twitch and Land Of Rape And Honey. We were doing those songs in 1982.

“Then we signed to that label and they said, ‘None of that stuff’s going on the record.’ I really don’t have anything to do with it, except for the fact that I executed it and at the behest of other people.

“But my name’s on it. So I do a meet-and-greet or something, and people will come in with these obscure bootlegs. And I’ll sign everything – but I will not sign that record.”

He adds: “As a joke, I put on the internet one time, ‘Don’t bother bringing these records unless you’ve got a thousand bucks in your pocket – I’m not going to sign that record.’ Sure enough, somebody came by with a thousand dollars in twenties and asked me to sign it immediately.

“I donated the money to a charity event in Chicago called Rock for Kids. So now I occasionally get a thousand dollars and donate it to charity. That’s the only way I’ll sign it.”

Earlier this month, Ministry launched a video for their new track Antifa, which was taken from their upcoming album AmeriKKKant.

And asked how it compares to previous Ministry releases, Jourgensen tells Rolling Stone: “It’s very different from most Ministry albums. I think the consensus among people who’ve heard it so far is basically that it sounds like ‘Punk Floyd.’

“It’s pretty ethereal, most of it. But then there’s a couple of clunkers in there that are very reminiscent of Ministry’s glory days, or whatever: Antifa and Wargasm is another one that fits right into that realm.

“The rest of the album is pretty trippy. I think it will do really well in states with legal marijuana.”

AmeriKKKant is now available for pre-order (opens in new tab). Find the cover art and tracklist below.

Ministry AmeriKKKant tracklist

  1. I Know Words
  2. Twilight Zone
  3. Victims Of A Clown
  4. TV5/4Chan
  5. We’re Tired Of It
  6. Wargasm
  7. Antifa
  8. Game Over
  9. AmeriKKKa

The Top 10 Best Ministry Songs

Scott looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.