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Early years:
Al Jourgensen began Ministry in Chicago, Illinois in 1981. His first band prior to Ministry was Special Affect with Groovie Mann (of My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult). The original line-up of Ministry consisted mainly of Jourgensen (vocals and keyboards) and Stephen George (drums), and Ministry's original sound was essentially New Wave synth-pop that was more melodic than the aggressive music for which Jourgensen would become known. In the incarnation of Jourgensen/George, Ministry created four 12" singles on Wax Trax! Records through 1984 (anthologized on Twelve Inch Singles). Their first LP, With Sympathy, was issued on Arista Records in 1983, and sold slowly but hit the upper 90's in the Billboard Top 100. The music in With Sympathy, and the various singles that Arista issued in association with it, was melodic pop; critic Dean Carlson describes the album as "Human League's surly little brother." Jourgensen has always expressed disappointment with Ministry's music during those early years, reportedly referring to With Sympathy as an "abortion of an album." According to him, after signing the record contract, all artistic control of Ministry was "handed" over to other writers and producers. Some of his preferred recordings from that era were collected into the CD Early Trax (Rykodisc Records, 2004). A notable song was "Everyday is Halloween."

Twitch
By the mid-1980s, Jourgensen parted ways with George and the record-company. Signing to Sire, Jourgensen performed mostly solo for Ministry's next LP, Twitch (1986), which sold well, but was still considered to be "underground". The music was danceable electronic music, but wasn't pop music, and the sound was harsher and more aggressive than what Ministry had recorded before. According to Jourgensen, " Twitch was stuff that I was doing before With Sympathy came out. Some of that stuff was already four or five years old, but the record company didn't want to use it, so...." The record was quintessential in asserting industrial music's importance in new-wave dance clubs. This album would also prove to be a pivotal move in the course of Ministry. Much of the new sound was created with the use of digital sampling and the input of producer Adrian Sherwood. Al's opinion of Twitch seems to be much higher than With Sympathy, as Ministry has played an updated version of the song "We Believe" as recently as 2003.

The Land of Rape and Honey
After Twitch, Jourgensen made the most significant change in Ministry's history when he became re-enchanted with the instrument he had taken up years earlier: the electric guitar. This new sound in Ministry's music was almost certainly influenced by Killing Joke and Chicago's Big Black, both of whom were perhaps the first rock groups to exploit the potent combination of live electronic drums and loud, slashing guitars. Jourgensen also brought bass guitarist Paul Barker of the Seattle band the Blackouts into the Ministry camp; Barker would remain Jourgensen's bandmate through what are generally considered Ministry's golden years, and for many years was the only person credited as a member of the band other than Jourgensen. With the addition of The Blackouts drummer William Rieflin, Ministry recorded The Land of Rape and Honey (1988). The LP continued their success in the underground music scene and is now considered a classic and one of the most important albums in the subgenre of industrial metal. The Land of Rape and Honey is arguably the best example of Ministry's sound, making use of synthesizers, keyboards, EBM sequences, tapes, jackhammering drum machines, obscure samples, dialogue excerpted from movies, unconventional electronic processing, and, in parts, heavy distorted electric guitar and bass. The album was supported by a tour in 1988 and the singles and music videos for Stigmata, Flashback, and The Land of Rape and Honey. Stigmata was also used in a key scene in Richard Stanley's 1990 film Hardware, although the band shown apparently performing the song was actually Gwar.

The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste
The follow-up, The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste was just as acclaimed, if not more, than The Land of Rape and Honey. Both albums included similar tight, thick soundscapes, but The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste was slightly harder with Jourgensen's heavy metal-influenced guitar more emphasized. The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste was supported by a tour through 1990. Due to the complex nature of the album's drumming, a second drummer, Martin Atkins, was used. This tour was documented on In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up. Three singles were released from the album, Burning Inside (for which a video was made), Thieves and So What (a composition inspired by the movie The Violent Years).

Side projects
Throughout the late 1980s Jourgensen and Barker expanded their ideas beyond Ministry into a seemingly endless parade of side projects and collaborations. Many of these bore Ministry's signature sound and the duo's "Hypo Luxa/Hermes Pan" production imprint. (These side-projects were also responsible for the delayed release of Ministry's next album.) Foremost of these was Ministry's alter ego, the Revolting Cocks. "RevCo", as it was fondly referred to, was essentially the same band plus Belgian vocalist Luc Van Acker & Richard 23 of Front 242. Jourgensen and Barker also formed Lard with Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra, Acid Horse with Cabaret Voltaire, 1000 Homo DJs with Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, PTP with Chris Connelly and Pailhead with Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat and Fugazi. Barker released his own material as Lead Into Gold and Jourgensen produced and played electric guitar on Skinny Puppy's Rabies LP. Atkins and Rieflin also formed the band Pigface, which featured Barker on several tracks, as well. The smaller of these projects were later collected on the CD Side Trax (Rykodisc Records, 2004), while the discographies of Lard and RevCo were remastered and reissued.

Psalm 69
Ministry broke into the mainstream in 1991 with "Jesus Built My Hotrod" (co-authored by Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers and Michael Balch). The music video was a hit on MTV, and the band scored second billing on the Lollapalooza tour. As the single would have indicated, the sound of the following LP, Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs (1992), was the most metal-oriented Ministry had put to record at that point, the focal point of the sound shifting almost entirely from synths to Jourgensen's and new members Mike Scaccia's and Louis Svitek's electric guitars. ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ, which is printed on the record, is Greek for "head" or "leader". The title was borrowed from Aleister Crowley's work: The Book of Lies (Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs). Psalm 69 became Ministry's biggest hit, including in addition to "Jesus Built My Hotrod" the singles "N.W.O." (a protest of the Persian Gulf War and attack directed at then-President George H.W. Bush) and "Just One Fix" (a collaboration with poet/novelist William S. Burroughs).

Filth Pig
In spite of their growing success, Ministry was nearly derailed by a series of arrests and drug problems. The band didn't issue their next album, Filth Pig, until 1996. For Filth Pig, Ministry stripped all synthesizers and most samples from their style and made the music almost entirely with ultra-noisy guitars, heavy bass, and real drums. The songs were played mostly at slower tempos than the very fast ones that were used for the compositions on their previous three LPs, giving it an almost doom metal feel. Filth Pig was supported with the singles/videos Reload, The Fall, Lay Lady Lay (an unusual and unexpected cover of Bob Dylan's old country-tinged hit) and Brick Windows and with a tour in 1996 (the live performances were later anthologized on the Sphinctour album and DVD in 2002), but was unenthusiastically received. Jourgensen would later consider Filth Pig one of Ministry's best records, even though the sessions were remembered as a time marred by his habitual use of heroin (including one event resulting in an arrest for possession of heroin). He commented in RIP Magazine saying that record companies are "enablers", because they won't pay him in crack, they make him go buy it on the street. The album has been considered by Jourgensen to be his response to fan expectations of where Ministry's sound was heading, and it's also been speculated that it was an attempt to move away from the "industrial" label of the band's music.

Dark Side of the Spoon
The members of Ministry experienced greater devastation when former guitarist William Tucker committed suicide in 1999 by cutting his own throat. Ministry then recorded their final studio album for Warner Bros. Records, entitled Dark Side of the Spoon (1999), which they dedicated to Tucker. For Dark Side of the Spoon, Ministry tried to diversify their sound by adding some melodic and synthetic touches, similar to the Jourgensen/George sound, to their usual electro-metal sound, but the album wasn't well received. To this day, it is the one album Jourgensen barely remembers recording due to his overwhelming drug addictions. "It felt like I was operating on Dealer Standard Time", he later confided. However, the single "Bad Blood" appeared on the soundtrack album of The Matrix and was nominated for a 2000 Grammy award. The band would record another song, What About Us? for the Steven Spielberg film AI: Artificial Intelligence and make a cameo appearance in the film. Jourgensen later stated that the band's appearance in the movie saved the band from breaking up.

Since 2000
Parting with their longtime record imprint, Warner Bros. Records issued the collection Greatest Fits in 2001. During 2000-2002, record-company (Warner Bros. Records) disputes resulted in the planned albums Live Psalm 69, Sphinctour and ClittourUS on Ipecac Recordings from being cancelled (although its contents had been compiled), resulting instead in Sphinctour appearing on Sanctuary Records.
Around 2001, Jourgensen almost lost an arm when he was bitten by a venomous spider. According to Jourgensen, the realization that he could've lost his livelihood caused him to kick his heroin addiction and focus on music once again. Jourgensen and Barker focused on developing songs for a new record during 2001 and 2002, with the band issuing Animositisomina on Sanctuary Records in 2003. The sound was strongly heavy metal laden with voice effects, and matched the ferocity (if not upped the ante, with the song "Animosity") of Psalm 69 (though it featured an almost-pop cover of Magazine's "The Light Pours out of Me"). Animositisomina did poorly in terms of sales and singles for Animosity and Piss were cancelled before they could be released.
Barker left the Ministry camp in 2003 due to dissatisfaction with the direction of his life. He stated that the trigger was his father dying while the band was wrapping up a summer tour in Europe, and also stated in early 2004 that his family life was his main focus at that particular time. Jourgensen then freely continued Ministry with Scaccia and a roundtable of fellow musicians.
For Ministry's next album, Jourgensen released a song entitled "No 'W'", an attack on US President George W. Bush; an alternate version of the track was placed on the multi-performer compilation Rock Against Bush, Vol. 1. The follow-up LP, Houses of the Mol (2004), contained the most explicitly political lyrics Jourgensen had yet to author, with songs in Ministry's classic punky electro-metallic sound played messier, more crudely and more freely than ever before, giving the album the most metal-oriented sound of their career. In 2006 the band released their long awaited Rio Grande Blood LP on Jourgensen's own 13th Planet Records. The album featured an even heavier thrash metal sound drawing comparison to Slayer and was met with Ministry's biggest success in years. The single "Lieslieslies" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance at the 49th annual Grammy Awards.

Future
Jourgensen has expressed on multiple occasions an intent to disassemble the project after concluding the current "MasturbaTour", and at least one final "SeeYouLaTour". Ministry's "final" album, 'The Last Sucker', will be released sometime during the second half of 2007. In Spring 2007, the band will release Rio Grande Dub, an album featuring remixes from the band's 2006 Rio Grande Blood album.

Members:
-Al Jourgensen.
-Tommy Victor.
-Mike Scaccia.
-Paul Raven.
-Joey Jordison.
-John Bechdel.
-Sin.
Ministry - Filth pig album cover
Ministry - Filth pig album cover
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Ministry - With Sympathy album cover
Ministry - With Sympathy album cover
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Ministry - Rio Grande Blood album cover
Ministry - Rio Grande Blood album cover
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Ministry - Twitch album cover
Ministry - Twitch album cover
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Ministry - Dark Side Of The Spoon album cover
Ministry - Dark Side Of The Spoon album cover
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Ministry - Houses of the Mole album cover
Ministry - Houses of the Mole album cover
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Ministry - Psalm 69 album cover
Ministry - Psalm 69 album cover
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Ministry - Rio grande dub album cover
Ministry - Rio grande dub album cover
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Ministry - AnimositisominA album cover
Ministry - AnimositisominA album cover
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Ministry - The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste album cover
Ministry - The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste album cover
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