Uncle AL wants you!

By: Kalle Malmstedt
Photos by: Paul Elledge

Al Jourgensen isn't just the godfather of industrial rock. He also has a reputation as a real bad ass and is generally considered a hard guy to interview.
But not anymore. In fact, it's a rather soft spoken individual who calls Release up to speak about the new album, working without Paul Barker, being free from heroin, Bush and the end of Ministry.
Yes, a few years down the line, Jourgensen is going to pursue a new career. As a teacher!



The Dixie Dudes calling
– Hi, this is Al Jourgensen, I'm calling for the interview.
The voice on the other end of the line is friendly, almost timid and the reception is perfectly clear. Al Jourgensen is in Europe for a two-week promotional tour and is calling from Berlin.
– Actually, it feels rather odd speaking about the Ministry album. It has been ready for so long. Now, I am working on the new Revolting Cocks album and have taken two weeks off from that, he says.
– But I love Europe and it's nice to get out of the States right now. It's crazy over there, bordering on civil war. If George Bush wins again, I will move to Canada!
What Al Jourgensen speaks about is, obviously, the controversy surrounding the current President Bush and the war in Iraq, something Al Jourgensen is very conscious about.
– We're not The Dixie Chicks who say we hate Bush and then apologise. We're the Dixie Dudes, man, and we say "Hate Bush! Hate Bush! Hate Bush! Register! Vote!"
The Dixie Dudes, yes indeed. Ministry actually recorded their new 2004 album - "Houses of the Molé" - right in the middle of Bush Country - Texas. Not exactly Dixieland, but right in the heartland of conservative republicans.
– Yeah, that's kind of typical Ministry, very sarcastic and funny, isn't it? Al Jourgensen gleefully comments the location of the recording.

It's a cold world.

Loads of samples
And the Ministry crew sure must have had a good time recording "Houses of the Molé". Apart from being the punkiest Ministry has released since "The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste", "Houses of the Molé" also has loads of samples - snipped, I bet, from late night news broadcasts about the state of the country and from Bush's speeches on the White House web page. Hours of fun, guaranteed, and Al Jourgensen agrees:
– Paul have to excuse me for saying this, but this was more fun recording than I have had in a long time. It was nice to be in a band again. We did a lot more jamming on this record than on the ones before. Paul is more into computers and programming than I am, and I wanted to make a punkier record. And yeah, I think this one has the most samples that we have used since "The Mind...".

On the roads.

But there are no hard feelings between the long time partners. No, siree. Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker parted company as friends late last year, and the split was for the best.
– Paul wanted to be at home and spend more time with his kids - they are nine and ten years old. My daughter is 19 now, so I don't have to think about that. This is actually the first time in her life that she thinks I am cool! says Al Jourgensen.
- As for Paul and me, it is the same thing as to when you are in a marriage for twenty years and come to a point when you have run out of new sexual positions. It was no fun any more.

Ready for civil war
Al Jourgensen laughs. He really is back - with a vengeance. Not only are Ministry due to release their hardest album in years. They are also planning to overthrow the government - for real.
– We are doing shows in the US all the way up to the election where we're gonna try to register as many young voters as possible. Bush must be kicked out of office! says Al Jourgensen.
– You're young, this is your future, man! Me, I'm old - 45 years - and have lived through the Vietnam War. But things have never been as ugly as they are now. The country is so divided and the Americans are ready for civil war! Of course it is dangerous to release an angry record as "Houses of the Molé" now, but it has to be done. Of course the Bush administration will try to stop us - that's how they work; through fear, lies and deception.

Professor Jourgensen ready to teach you a lesson?

From drug addict to professor
However, Al Jourgensen can't be stopped. Especially not since he quit using heroin a couple of years ago. Now he is more active than he has been in two decades - and he has a plan.
– I was a heroin addict for 20 years and was asleep for like nine. Now I know exactly what I want to do: Two more Ministry albums, one more Lard album and one more Revolting Cocks album. Then I'm going to pick up my career as a teacher again. I have a master's degree in history, so I am going to teach at a university, maybe the University of Texas as a professor.
But before that, Ministry are of course going to tour. After the presidential election this autumn, the new and revised group is coming over to Europe to kick some ass. When asked how many guitars they are planning to use on stage this time around, Al Jourgensen says "seventy-two!" and laughs a lot.
– But no, seriously, if you are a fan and want to play with us - bring your guitar and look us up before the show. We did something like this in the States and it was great! Al Jourgensen tells the readers of Release.
So, why don't you? Uncle Al wants you! And yes, Uncle Al wants you to listen to Revolting Cocks too. Guess when the new album - with new member Groovy Man from My Life with the Thrill Kill Cult - is coming out? The fourth of July - of course.

  Read more
Read our review of Ministry's "Houses of the Molé" here.
More Ministry reviews in the On Record archives.
Another Ministry Spotlight from 1999 here.