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‘Our record label wanted Ministry to be Wham!’ says Al Jourgensen

Ministry
(Image credit: Nuclear Blast)

Ministry mainman Al Jourgensen says that his former record label wanted Ministry to  sound like Wham!

As long-time fans of the band will be aware, Ministry’s debut album, 1983’s With Sympathy, bears very little resemblance, sonically, to the pulverising industrial-metal assaults which the Chicago group would become infamous for, being largely composed of mildly-funky synth-pop. Answering questions from Metal Hammer readers in this week’s new issue (due on-sale on September 16) Jourgensen revisits his band’s dodgy pop past, and lays the blame squarely at the feet of his former label, Arista.

Asked by reader Simon Parrock ‘What made you change from syth to rock?’ Jourgensen replies, “We basically never changed, that was a record label decision.”

“For our first record, they signed me on the stuff I’d written that eventually ended up on Twitch and The Land Of Rape And Honey, but they didn’t want any part of that, and they just assigned us producers and backing musicians - they even wrote lyrics for me. The producers were hell-bent on making it an early ’80s synth-pop record. They had me cut my hair, [and] bought me a whole new wardrobe of sharkskin suits, 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 changed from synth to rock - that’s the contract we were under, and as soon as we were out of it, we became Ministry. That was a rude awakening to the perils of the music industry. It was like getting in a Uber and the driver gets lost, so I’ve gotta pull out the GPS and find out where we’re going.”

For more from Ministry’s ever-entertaining frontman, including his memories of touring with the late Joey Jordison as Ministry’s drummer, pick up the new issue of Metal Hammer on September 16.

Ministry’s new album, Moral Hygiene, will be out on October 1 , via Nuclear Blast.

MInistry Moral Hygiene

(Image credit: Nuclear Blast)