The release of The Last Sucker last September was heralded as Ministry’s final studio album. Al Jourgensen’s announcement of semi-retirement coincides with the coming retirement of his current muse/nemesis. George W. Bush is also on track to retire and will hand over the keys to the White House soon, thus ending something of a quixotic working relationship; Jourgensen has been an outspoken critic since the elder Bush took office. The Last Sucker is a crowd of guitars growling like Satan’s minions stacked behind anti-Dubya lyrics that are in turns brutish, intellectual, and funny. To drive his point home, Jorgensen has peppered the music with classic Bush-isms culled from sound bites. “My engineer and I were hunched over a computer for nights on end listening to this fucking idiot until our minds were numb,” Jourgensen writes in a press release. “I mean, I’m absolutely stupider for listening to his drivel for such concentrated periods of time, but I viewed including these sound bites as a necessary evil.”
Today Al Jourgensen lives in El Paso, Texas, with his wife. “Ministry is me,” he once told MTV. Indeed, it is. The list of musicians that have come and gone over the years is a long one. Jourgensen founded Ministry in Chicago in 1981, and then it was all about sampling, beats, and melodic synth. Call it a soundtrack for clubbing.
It’s hard to find Ministry’s current sound in those vanilla roots. By the late ’80s, Jourgensen rediscovered his electric guitar, and his band’s sound took a hard turn toward doom metal and industrial metal. “Jesus Built My Hotrod” made Ministry mainstream, and by the mid-’90s Jourgensen’s brilliant and unrelenting attacks on war and Republicans (he calls Dick Cheney “the Son of Satan”) had shaped his voice and his music for the better. “I don’t make good albums,” he once said, “when Democrats are in office.”
MINISTRY, House of Blues, Monday, April 7, 7 p.m. 619-299-2583. $38 to $75.