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Ministry

Ministry

Rock band

For the Record

Developed Signature Techno-Punk Sound

Jourgensen Compared to Phil Spector

Psalm 69 and Lollapalooza

Selected discography

Sources

We have people who think Ministry is a skinhead Nazi band, guitarist-singer-writer-producer Al Jourgensen told Seconds magazine. We have people who think Ministry is a disco homosexual band; we have people that think ... I dont even know what they think! Given Ministrys development from an Anglophile synth-pop group in the early 1980s to a titan of so-called industrial discoa furious amalgam of noise, metallic guitar, screaming, samples, and dance beatssome confusion among listeners is understandable. Yet, ironically, as the groups sound has become more uncompromising, its following has ballooned. By 1992 Ministry would be featured on the successful Lollapalooza II tour and would see its release of that year debut in the Billboard Top 30. Los Angeles Times critic Robert Hilburn noted that young fans in the early 1990s appeared drawn to bands that expressed their anger and alienation, attesting, No band dips into the well of discontent more powerfully than this Chicago-based group.

Alain Jourgensen was born in the late 1950s in Cuba; his family moved to the U.S. when he was a child, settling for a while in Denver before moving to Chicago. Electrified by the sounds of punk rock in the late 1970s, Jourgensen formed his own group, Special Effect. He created Ministry with bassist Paul Barker a short time thereafter, and the group released its first single, Cold Life, on Chicagos Wax Trax label in 1981. Jourgensen, Barker, and assorted cronies would continue to work with Wax Trax despite various involvements with major labels.

The morbid synth-funk sound of early Ministry, evocative of such gloomy English post-punk bands as Joy Division and A Certain Ratio, attracted the attention of Arista Records, which signed the group and exercised considerable influence on the recording of the 1983 album With Sympathy. Universally pannednever more so than by Jourgensen himselfthe album set an early negative example for the group. Jourgensen called the record an abortion, a piece of complete corporate shit in an interview with Pulse! and told Seconds that it looms over our head like some kind of vulture or some kind of bird of prey reminding us that we have to really institute quality control in what we do. Jourgensen provided some background on the fiasco, explaining, We were immediately swamped with record company pressures and we were broke and starving at the time, we wouldve done anything. In retrospect, its really good that that happened because it wont happen again. Weve already seen the grass is not greener on the other side.

For the Record

Members include Paul Barker, bass; Al (Alain) Jourgensen (born in Cuba, late 1950s; married; one child), guitar, vocals; William Rieflin, drums; Mike Scaccia, guitar; and various session and touring musicians.

Group has recorded as the Revolting Cocks and 1000 Homo DJs; formed in Chicago, c. 1981; released single Cold Life, Wax Trax, 1981; signed with Arista records c. 1982 and released single Work for Love, 1982; released album With Sympathy, 1983; signed with Sire Records c. 1985; released single Over the Shoulder, 1985, and album Twitch, 1986.

Addresses: Record company Sire Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10019-6989.

Developed Signature Techno-Punk Sound

After releasing a few singles on Wax Trax and Arista, Ministry went back to the drawing board. Moving to Sire Records, they released the single Over the Shoulder in 1985 and, the following year, the album Twitch. That record was the beginning of the new, hard-edged Ministry sound, which was even more powerfully delivered on 1988s The Land of Rape and Honey. MTV regularly aired the disturbing video for the grinding, relentless single Stigmata, reminding alternative rock fans that Ministrys weepy dance-pop era was long past. The new power was derived in part from the groups refusal to compromise; as Jourgensen noted in Seconds, We were never allowed to be ourselves until we finally put our foot down with Rape and Honey and had no external producers and no external influences. Id say Ministry has been Ministry since Rape and Honey, and Ive been allowed to be Al Jourgensen since then.

Ministrys next record was a real breakthroughcritically and commercially. Released in 1989, The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste met enthusiastic reviews and sold impressively, especially in light of Ministrys harsh, anti-commercial sound. The Chicago Tribune, quoted in a Sire press profile of the group, called the album a techno-punk masterpiece. David Fricke of Rolling Stone described the song So What as a serial killers soliloquy set to a throbbing funk beat and migraine riff ing. Ministry followed up with a live album and video in 1990, both entitled In Case You Didnt Feel Like Showing Up; Fricke called the record an aural depth charge.

Jourgensens output was prolific during this period simply by virtue of his work with Ministry. But along with these efforts, he was masterminding a plethora of other projects, both as performer and producer. Ministrys alter-ego, the Revolting Cocks, for example, was a fun-loving punk band described by Jourgensen in Seconds as the lampshade and limbo-line party.

Jourgensen Compared to Phil Spector

The Cocks released two studio albums, a live offering, and several singles on Wax Trax between 1986 and 1990. Among other Ministry/Wax Trax offshoots were 1000 Homo DJs, Pailhead (featuring Fugazi vocalist Ian MacKaye), Lead into Gold, PTP, and Acid Horse. Jourgensen also worked with Lard, fronted by former Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra, on two records for Biafras Alternative Tentacles label. Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times ventured that Jourgensen exhibits an independence and vision reminiscent of Phil Spector, arguably the most imaginative producer of the modern pop era. Despite his obvious influence on the industrial scene, however, Jourgensen disclaims both glory and responsibility and shuns the genre label. I dont think Ive created anything, he told Seconds. I had nothing to do with this. People sought me out, I did what I know how to do in my own little corner of the world.

Amid his creative outpourings, Jourgensen gained a measure of notoriety as an unapologetic user of LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs as well as a hard drinker; stories about his excessive behavior onstage and in the studiomany of them untruecirculated in the American and British press. Although he acknowledged his propensity for drug use, he remained a private person, with a wife and child, unwilling to fuel the tempestuous legend that had formed around him. In any case, he weaned himself off of hard drugs. I finally found out [that drug use] isnt where the [creative] power comes from, Jourgensen told Hilburn in a 1992 interview. The power comes from within, and it just took me a long time... maybe longer than others to tap into this.... Ive learned how to ... mix a record sober now and go on stage sober, which Ive never been able to do.

Psalm 69 and Lollapalooza

1992 was a watershed year for Ministry; the band released the album Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs and appeared on the bill of the traveling alternative rock fair Lollapalooza II. Of the album, Spin noted that the band has stripped its speedcore instincts to the barest steel and chrome chassis, adding, Ministry manages its genre-bending with all the assurance of a covert CIA strike. The Detroit Metro Times declared, Ministrys sound has evolved into sinister, chaotic, steroid-pumped industrial thrash that makes them the only group around that makes [heavy metal superstars] Metallica sound like wimps. The album features the single Jesus Built My Hotrod, released the previous year. That songs psychotic hillbilly-style vocals were provided by Gibby Haynes, lead wildman of the infamous Butthole Surfers.

The first new song released from Psalm 69 was the eerie N.W.O., featuring soundbites of President George Bush talking about a new world order sampled over a furious sonic backdrop. Initially Ministry resisted appearing at Lollapalooza, largely due to Jourgensens misgivings; I didnt want to be part of this whole picniccircus, he told the Los Angeles Times, but he was outvoted by the band, which by now included guitarist Mike Scaccia and drummer Bill Rieslin as well as assorted musicians recruited for live shows. The band convinced its leader that the proceeds from the tour would allow Ministry to furnish its own studio, further freeing Jourgensen and company from label interference. During the tour, Jello Biafra told a crowdaccording to the Metro Times that Ministry is the perfect music to lock [wife of Vice President Al Gore and record-labeling advocate] Tipper Gore in a padded cell with. Naked Lunch author and noted heroin enthusiast William S. Burroughs asked to do a spoken-word piece on a remix of the song Just One Fix, which Jourgensen had been dedicating to him at concerts. Later in the year Ministry went on tour with alternative metal bands Helmet and Sepultura.

Jourgensen has been reluctant in interviews to acknowledge Ministrys success in the music business. But he and his accomplices in aural mayhem have attracted fans and adoring critics by not courting them. Sales of albums and concert tickets testify to the groups heavy-hitter status in the industry. Their stylistic influence has also been profound; as Hilburn commented on his inclusion of N.W.O. in his year-end Los Angeles Times round-up of important pop songs, The sonic assault of [this] industrial rock band may help shape the rock of the 90s.

Selected discography

On Wax Trax

Cold Life/Im Falling (single), 1981.

Nature of Sympathy (single), 1985.

Ministry 12 Singles 1981-1984, 1985.

On Arista

Work for Love (single), 1982.

With Sympathy, 1983.

On Sire

Over the Shoulder (single), 1985.

Twitch, 1986.

The Land of Rape and Honey (includes Stigmata), 1988.

A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste (includes So What), 1989.

In Case You Didnt Feel Like Showing Up, 1990.

Jesus Built My Hotrod (single), 1991.

Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs (includes Jesus Built My Hotrod, N.W.O., and Just One Fix), 1992.

Just One Fix (single; remix with William S. Burroughs), 1992.

Sources

Detroit Free Press, November 25, 1992.

Entertainment Weekly, August 21, 1992.

Guitar Player, November 1992.

Los Angeles Times, August 2, 1992; December 28, 1992; December 31, 1992.

L.A. Weekly, December 25, 1992.

Metro Times (Detroit), November 25, 1992.

Pulse!, October 1992.

Rolling Stone, April 18, 1991; September 17, 1992; January 21, 1993.

Seconds, November 1992.

Spin, March 1992; September 1992; December 1992.

Additional information for this profile was obtained from Sire Records promotional material, 1992.

Simon Glickman

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Ministry

Ministry

Sources

Old World Connections. Almost all of the denominations in America looked to their Old World mother churches for ministers and models for ecclesiastical structure. Puritan Congregationalists were the exception because each congregation was autonomous and felt no obligation to imitate anyones ecclesiastical practices. Colonial Anglicans were placed under the supervision of the bishop of London, who ignored them until the eighteenth century when he appointed a commissary to personally represent his authority, and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel was founded and sent missionaries. The Lutheran and Reformed Churches, whose adherents flooded into the colonies in the eighteenth century, were governed by ecclesiastical bodies in their country of origin that retained the exclusive right to ordain clergy. Presbyterians were not formally tied to a European church, but they attempted to replicate the structure and practices they had experienced in their homelands. Their problem arose from the variations that existed in Scotland, Ireland, and England which had to be blended together. Even the Quakers looked to England for acceptable practices, which they tried to implement in the middle colonies. By the mid eighteenth century most denominations had developed some level of institutional and psychological autonomy from their mother churches, forming governing bodies to oversee the laity and clergy and developing practices that suited New World conditions.

Shortage of Clergy. The combination of control by Old World churches, small and scattered congregations, and primitive, frontier conditions all but insured that most religions that demanded an educated and ordained clergy would suffer from a chronic shortage of ministers. This problem reached crisis proportions in the eighteenth century among those denominations associated with the German and Irish immigrants who flooded into

the backcountry of the middle and southern colonies. Congregationalists did not face this problem, for they could ordain their own ministers and founded colleges to educate their sons. Quakers, some Baptists, and the pietistic sects (Mennonites, Amish, Dunkers, and Moravians) also encountered no difficulty because they did not require a specially trained ministry and demanded no formal ordination. The Anglican Church required a university degree and ordination by an English bishop, and few of their clergy wished to travel to the colonial wilderness. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel did offer some relief after 1702 by supplementing the salaries of settled ministers and fully funding itinerant missionaries who could officiate in several parishes on a regular basis. As the Anglican Church grew in prestige, it attracted educated ministers from other denominations. Anglicans supported the establishment of nondenominational colleges, which educated those native sons who were willing to accept the dangerous and expensive undertaking of traveling to England for ordination. In the more sparsely settled backcountry, however, most Anglicans remained unchurched and ignored. Presbyterians ordained any educated Calvinist and managed to keep their pulpits supplied until the 1730s when the scattered frontier congregations of Irish depleted the supply of qualified ministers. Settled clergymen organized small academies to educate potential ministers, while the synod allowed those candidates without a university degree to pass an examination on their learning. The synod then adopted one academy as its official seminary and finally supported three nondenominational colleges with a curriculum that would meet its stringent requirements. Lutheran and German Reformed churches suffered the most, for they required both an educated ministry and one that had been ordained by the official bodies in Europe. This situation offered fertile ground for immoral, unqualified, and/or fraudulent men who foisted themselves upon congregations who were unwilling to dismiss them even if they were exposed. Most denominations responded to shortages by encouraging ministers to divide their time among several churches, designating settled ministers to officiate in vacant pulpits every few months, and calling some clergy to be itinerants who traveled from congregation to congregation and settled nowhere. Such sporadic attention, however, left believers open to the attraction of pietistic sects that emphasized an ecumenical spirituality that transcended denominational affiliation and the need for a specialized ministry.

Power of the Laity. The lack of clergy also reinforced the increased power of the laity, which distinguished American religions from their European counterparts. Most ministers depended on the voluntary support of their congregations, supplemented by a sideline occupation. Thus they followed the wishes of laymen, who could simply withhold their contribution or move to another church or sect if they became displeased. Even where churches were established in New England, the South, and parts of New York, the congregation exercised considerable control over its minister. In the middle colonies Pietists taunted congregations for their hireling priests, engendering an anticlerical feeling that further undercut the authority of a clergy already denied the supportive mechanism of an ecclesiastical organization capable of enforcing deference. Congregations became accustomed to running their own affairs and even conducting services in the absence of ministers. They were reluctant to relinquish their power to a new minister or to an ecclesiastical body external to their community. Some historians have attributed the clergys support of the Great Awakening to their desire to revitalize their authority by creating a personal allegiance among the laity for their charismatic preachers.

Sources

Jon Butler, Power, Authority, and the Origins of American Denominational Order: The English Churches in the Delaware Valley, 16801730 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1978);

Elwyn Allen Smith, The Presbyterian Ministry in American Culture: A Study in Changing Concepts, 17001900 (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1962);

Marilyn J. Westerkamp, Triumph of the Laity: Scots-Irish Piety and the Great Awakening, 16251760 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988);

J. William T. Youngs Jr., Gods Messengers: Religious Leadership in Colonial New England, 17001750 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1970).

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ministry

ministry, in religion, term used to designate the clergy of Protestant churches, particularly those who repudiate the claims of apostolic succession. The ceremony by which the candidate receives the office of a minister is called ordination. Protestant ordination, unlike holy orders in the Roman Catholic Church, is not a sacrament. The Reformation doctrine of the "priesthood of all believers" underlies the inclination of many Protestant bodies to reduce the distinction between ministry and laity. In certain Protestant groups, e.g., the Plymouth Brethren, the ordination of ministers is dispensed with altogether. The Society of Friends (Quakers) ordains but makes little practical distinction between ministers and laity. Lutheranism and Presbyterianism invest the office with great dignity. Methodism (in the United States but not in Great Britain) has an episcopal form of church organization but one quite unlike the episcopacy of the Church of England. Fundamental to most Protestant groups is the belief that the soul can go to God without the need of priestly mediation. Hence the function of the ministry is interpreted strictly as one of assistance to the religious life through preaching, the administration of sacraments, and counseling.

See H. R. Niebuhr and D. D. Williams, ed., The Ministry in Historical Perspective (1956); R. S. Paul, Ministry (1965); D. D. Hall, The Faithful Shepherd (1972).

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ministry

min·is·try / ˈminəstrē/ • n. (pl. -tries) 1. [usu. in sing.] the work or vocation of a minister of religion: he is training for the ministry. ∎  the period of tenure of a minister of religion. ∎  the spiritual work or service of any Christian or a group of Christians, esp. evangelism: a ministry of Christian healing. 2. (in certain countries) a government department headed by a minister of state: the Ministry of Agriculture. 3. (in certain countries) a period of government under one prime minister: Gladstone's first ministry was outstanding. 4. rare the action of ministering to someone: the soldiers were no less in need of his ministry.

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Ministry

Ministry

a group of ministers of state, 1710; the clergy, 1566.

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ministry

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