TagMinistry

Every Day is Halloween: The Evolution of Ministry

jourgensen-and-jourgensen

I wrote for Intonarumoron:

The first two Ministry albums I heard were With Sympathy and Filth Pig. I can’t remember which one I got first, but they sounded completely different not just from each other, but from what I expected Ministry to sound like — something like Skinny Puppy or Nine Inch Nails.

How did Ministry begin with such pop roots and emerge as a heavy metal band? Jourgensen has claimed he was forced by the record company and his producers to create a pop album. Others have speculated that he discovered hardcore punk later in life and was converted.

“The singer has been accused of punk posturing on the video for ‘Stigmata,’ which has him decked out in skinhead garb and wallowing in a pile of trash,” the Phoenix Times wrote in 1988, following the release of The Land of Rape and Honey.

Neither version of the story is true. And while skipping straight from “Revenge” to “No W” would be quite a shock, there’s actually a steady progression in the sound over the years. This evolution has been a fascination of mine for a long time, and may be the thing I like most about his work.

On their own, most of Ministry’s albums aren’t great. There’s a forgettable synthpop album, a poppy EBM album that’s OK if you like that sort of thing, two rather confused industrial rock albums with a few good tracks, one excellent alternative metal album, a below average sludge metal album and a bunch of above average speed metal albums.

But considered as a whole — as a single continuum instead of several discrete works — Jourgensen’s albums are much more interesting.

His authorized biography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen by Jon Wiederhorn, provides some insight into how all of this came to be, but it’s often at odds with contemporaneous interviews he gave. I’m not interested in proving whether Jourgensen is being entirely truthful in his account of what transpired at Arista records, but in gaining more understanding in how and why Jourgensen’s music changed over the years.

Full Story: Intonarumoron: Every Days is Halloween: The Evolution of Ministry

Warning, this is long (4,500 words) and self-indulgent.

Skinny Puppy reunite for festival

After five years Nivek Ogre and cEvin Key, the founders of the band Skinny Puppy, will reunite for a one time show at this year’s Doomsday Festival in Germany.

The festival, to be held August 19 and 20 in Dresden, will feature a number of electronic and gothic bands from around the world.

Ogre and Key met in Canada in 1983. The two had similar interests in film and music and decided to start a band to explore these interests. Mixing performance art with live music, Skinny Puppy’s concerts were a walk through the darkside. Ogre frequently mutilated himself on stage while images were projected on screens. In the mid 80s Dwayne Goettle joined the group to play synthesizers and Ogre met Ministry’s Al Jourgensen. After personality differences caused a schizm between Ogre and Key and Goettle the group split. Key and Goettle worked on various side projects including Hilt while Ogre toured with Jourgenson’s Ministry and Revolting Cocks.

The group eventually got back together to do more recording, but drug addiction and further personality conflicts led Ogre to tour with Pigface and to contribute very little to the Puppy album Last Rites. After being diagnoses with Hepititus and kickign cocaine Ogre rejoined the group full time to create their last album, the Process. However, Goettle’s drug problems and the persistant plague of interpersonal conflicts led to the bands final demise. After the band had officially split, Goettle died of a heroin overdose. The Process was stiched together by producers Martin Atkins (of Pigface) and long time Puppy collaborator (and nin mixer) Rave.

Ogre began a new project called WELT with Mark Walk, but the album has yet to see the light of day (rumor has it that it will be released under the name “Ohgrr”). He then went on to create a project called Rx with Atkins and to record and tour with KMFDM. Key continued working on many of the side projects he’d been working on before including Download and Tear Garden and also founded the label Subconscious Communications.

Every year the organizers of the Doomsday festival have asked Orge and Key to do a reunion show. Finally this year Key and Ogre agreed.

Skinny Puppy FAQ and Lyric Archive Go here first. Has a FAQ, Puppy history, and annotated lyrics. Great stuff.

Litany Up to date Skinny Puppy, Dowload, Rx, and related project news. Excellent site!

Skinny Puppy Internet Database Major Puppy resource with images, texts, multimedia, and more.

The Vault of Skinny PuppyIncludes real media songs and videos. Lots of rare stuff here.

Skinny Puppy CentralOne of the oldest and best Skinny Puppy web sites.

Mike’s Startup Logos Lots of Skinny Puppy start up screens for Windows.

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