AKA Alain Jourgensen. AKA Buck Satan, AKA Hypo Luxa, AKA Alien Dogstar, #26 in the VH1 Top 40 Badasses of All Time, and probably a few more.

Al B.M. (Before Ministry)

Allen David Jourgensen was born in Havana, Cuba on October 8, 1958. With his family, they moved to Denver, Colorado shortly thereafter, and after a while they relocated to Chicago, Illinois.

It comes as no surprise that Al's father was a stock-car driver who then moved into the pit crew as a mechanic (not starring Charles Bronson). Al's love for fast cars and fast music can be directly traced to this. (See: Jesus Built My Hotrod.)

Al, from an early age, did a little more than his fair share of dabbling with drugs and alchohol. His first stint at a rehab clinic was in Chicago when he was just 14 years old. He says the experience was really nice because the doctors and orderlies gave him drugs. "Sex, drugs, and really decent literature," he has said.

He graduated from Summit High School in Frisco, Colorado, and then went to the University of Chicago in, duh, Chicago, along with a half-dozen other campuses, where he met many of the players that would influence him directly, among them Franke Nardiello (aka Groovie Mann of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult). He played guitar in Franke's punk band called Special Affect, worked as a record store clerk, and was a DJ at Club 950.

Ministry, the early years

Ministry was birthed in 1981, mostly based around percussive things like drum machines and keyboards. Ministry quickly became the third act ever signed to WaxTrax! recordings. Then Al met Paul Barker, thereafter an inseperable musical partner and good buddy. At the time, Paul was in a band called The Blackouts with Roland Barker and William Rieflin, both of whom would work with Al later.

In 1983, Al met Jello Biafra (of Dead Kennedys fame), and they decided to do music together. The really obscure Work for Love was released. He and his then manager, wife Patty, decided to move the band to Arista Records. He stayed with WaxTrax! personally, though, and released side projects through them. Also, Ministry's first real album, With Sympathy was released. Since, Al has called With Sympathy "an Abortion" and has disowned the album.

Circa 1984, Al's first daughter, Adrienne, was born. Also in '84, the famous single/EP Every Day is Halloween is released. In 1985, Ministry's next album, Twitch came into being, along with Revolting Cocks' Big Sexyland. This marked Al's first real side project, teaming up with Luc van Acker and the mysterious Richard 23, both of Front 242.

Growing Pains

Ministry's next album, The Land of Rape and Honey (1988) is a marked departure from previous efforts for a couple reasons. Primarily the addition of metal-style guitar work and the official addition of Paul Barker to the band.

Only one year after The Land of Rape and Honey came The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, which further showcased sampling, processed vocals, and the heavy guitar that would later be the "Ministry Sound" imitated by acts even over a dozen years later, including Static X and others. It is, personally, my favorite Ministry album.

In 1989, Lard's first EP, The Power of Lard came out; Lard's first full length came out in '90, named Last Temptation of Reid. Lard is Paul Barker on bass, Al on guitar, Jello Biafra on vox, and Jeff Ward on the skins.

Also in '90, the 1000 Homo DJs project came to fruitation, featuring appearances by damn near everyone involved in the Chicago/Midwest industrial music scene at the time, including Trent Reznor (aka Nine Inch Nails). Also, In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up, a live album was released.

Then IT came.

The Way to Succeed.

In 1991, George H. Bush sent U.S. troops into Iraq for the first time, at least the first time shown on CNN, and Ministry, now signed to Warner Bros. record label, proceeded to show the world how to kick ass.

Al and Gibby Haynes from The Butthole Surfers collaborated on what would become Warner Bros. best selling single that year, Jesus Built My Hotrod, a seeming homage to the fast cars that facinated Al in his youth. Also came a new album from RevCo, Beers, Steers, and Queers. Out was Richard 23 and in was Chris Connelly and Paul Barker.

Also, Al seems to be accused of murder by the Chicago weekly paper, New City, alluding to the death of poet Lorri Jackson of an overdose. She was supposedly last seen alive with Al. Also he stood accused of heading a ring of musicians and artists bound by hard drugs. "To gain admission to his inner circle, heroin is the ticket," says Tony Fitzpatrick.

In 1992, Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs is released. Fueled by residual excitement over Jesus Built My Hotrod and its accompanying video (featuring Flea), the album goes platinum (one million albums sold) very quickly. This is the peak of success for Ministry and for Al. Success being fickle and strange, Paul left the band for a short while due to Al's perfectionism. TVT also bought WaxTrax!, and so Al moved his side projects to Sire records.

The way to Suck Eggs

In '93, Al divorced his wife Patti. Then RevCo's swan song, Linger Fickin' Good... was released. Then they moved to Texas, where Al bought a former brothel. In March '94, Al appeared in Hustler magazine, in protest, "act as a molten poker shoved up the ass of the ruling class bastards who run Warner." The photos were of Al and women and guns.

In August of 95, Texas police raided their compound and Al was arrested for drug possession. 5 years of probation and forced methadone treatment was the sentence. Al then decided that Texas sucked, and moved back to Chicago near Warzone Studios. Then, insult to injury, WaxTrax! president Jim Nash died of an AIDS-related disease

Filth Pig is a reaction to all that occurred around Ministry. Spiders in the electronics shorted out equipment, many people quit because they couldn't take the spiders, the police harrasment, or the ghosts. Of course the studio was haunted. Many fans reacted violently to the slower music of the album. It is shocking to see the furiously fast Psalm 69 followed up by an album whose BPMs seem to hover around 80 instead of 180, not to mention the omission of the samples and politial lyrics. By this time the lyrics are more personal, focusing more on struggles between people instead of against authority.

In '97, Pure Chewing Satisfaction was released, Bill Reiflin replacing the late Jeff Ward on this Lard album.

In '99, weeks before their '99 tour, former Ministry guitar player William Tucker committed suicide due to a long-standing illness.

Album-wise in 1999, Dark Side of the Spoon was released, combining some slow and fast songs. His girlfriend, Tycoon, can be heard singing in the song Bad Blood. In 2000, leftover Lard tracks made the EP 70's Rock Must Die. They were also scheduled for an Ozzfest appearance, but that was later canceled because it was a favor for their former manager, Walter O'Brien of Concrete Management.

On a personal note, just recently, mid-September, 2002, Al married Angelina Lukacin at Graceland.

Ministry's next album, Animositisomina, was released in Febuary 2003.

Random Notes.

Produced a song of Gwar's called The Horror of Yig off their Scumdogs of the Universe album. He was paid in pizza and cocaine.

Considers himself a reformed heroin addict.

Bibliography

Information culled from:
http://hem.passagen.se/jourgensen/info/bio/bio.html
http://www.allmusic.com
http://www.prongs.org/ministry/faq/faq.html
CzarKhan for bringing me up to date with the mtv.com

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