Watch Ministry play songs from maligned albums With Sympathy and Twitch for first time since 1980s

Al Jourgensen performing with Ministry in 2024
(Image credit: Jeremychanphotography/Getty Images)

Ministry have performed material from their With Sympathy and Twitch albums live for the first time since the 1980s.

The industrial metal pioneers played the tracks Saturday (May 11) at the Cruel New World festival in Pasadena, California.

Video footage and the full setlist are available below.

The performance was composed exclusively of the band’s early synthpop era, which leader Al Jourgensen disowned once they started down a more industrial path on 1988’s The Land Of Rape And Honey.

Among the songs performed were Work For Love, I’m Falling and Effigy (I’m Not An), which hadn’t been played since 1984, and All Day and Just Like You for the first time since 1987.

Jourgensen revealed in a 2023 interview with Yahoo! that he despised With Sympathy to the point that he burned the master tapes on a barbecue.

“My hatred for this record was so deep,” he said. “As a matter of fact, the two-inch tapes of it, the actual two-inch tapes, I had a barbecue party and I burned them on a barbecue. So, there’s no existing original With Sympathys. I just burned them.”

However, the Ministry lynchpin came around to the new material once his band’s other members played new renditions of the songs to him.

“The guys in the band know I don’t like this record,” the singer recently told Rolling Stone.

“They came up with all these new versions of all the old songs and then sprung them on me one night on the bus while I was on ’shrooms. I actually wound up going, ‘Hey, that’s not bad.’”

The performance of Ministry’s earliest material is part of Jourgensen’s ongoing plan of bringing the band to a close.

The outfit, who released their latest album Hopiumforthemasses earlier this year, will wrap up after re-recording With Sympathy in the studio and then recording one last album with classic member Paul Barker, who left acrimoniously in 2003.

Jourgensen explained his desire to retire from Ministry in the aforementioned Rolling Stone interview: “I’m 65 now. I was hoping to retire at 65, but two years of Covid made it so I can’t afford that yet. So I’ll do another couple years, and then that’s it.

“There’s no point in touring. And touring gets harder as you’re older anyways, and I don’t really want to do the whole casino circuit.

“All I really want to do is film scoring. I get to stay at my house, and I work out of my house. And so I’m just trying to wrap everything up with a nice little bow, exorcise all demons, and put Ministry to bed.”

Ministry will tour with Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie across North America in August and September. See dates and buy tickets via their website.

Ministry setlist: Cruel World festival, Pasadena, California – May 11, 2024

Work For Love (first time live since 1984)
All Day (first time live since 1987)
Over The Shoulder (first time live since 1987)
Just Like You (first time live since 1987)
We Believe (first time live since 2003)
I’m Falling (first time live since 1984)
Effigy (I’m Not An) (first time live since 1984)
(Every Day Is) Halloween (first time since 2019)

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.