AL JOURGENSEN Says MINISTRY's Next Album Will Be Band's Last: 'I Think It's A Good Time To Stop'

February 21, 2024

In a new interview with Chuck Armstrong of Loudwire Nights, Al Jourgensen once again confirmed that he is planning to put MINISTRY to bed, more than 40 years after he launched the band in his former hometown of Chicago.

"Film scores are really where I wanna be right now," he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "After we take care of like the last couple albums, last couple tours coming up here, then, yeah, I'm pretty much into film scoring and activism. At that point, I honestly think that β€” because our lyrics are pretty sarcastic and politically charged, yet I really think I'd make more of a difference in the long run by being just strictly an activist without pay, very similar to what Tom Morello is doing. So more along those lines. Between that and film scores. I'm quite happy. It's not like I'm just gonna curl up into a ball and get a grandma blanket and watch TV all day or something and play golf.

"The creative process doesn't stop," he explained. "It's just that you refocus it as opposed to like just one band all the time and trying to top yourself and make sure that you don't suck less than the last one. That's not interesting to me at this point. Just keep moving forward."

Elaborating on his comment that he will pursue activism and film scoring as a career once MINISTRY is done, Al said: "Well, unless the world suddenly changes, which I doubt. MINISTRY seems to get better the shittier the world gets. So, maybe there's a case to be made that if it keeps getting shittier, maybe we should do more albums. But you know what? I really think the time the time is done. I have friends like Alice [Cooper] and Billy Gibbons of ZZ TOP and Rick Nielsen of CHEAP TRICK and they love playing live, they love getting back in front of an audience and getting that rush, that adulation. But when I'm on stage, I've never in my entire career gotten that rush from playing live. I'm too busy thinking about, like, 'Is the monitor frequency correct?' and this and that, and who's doing what and all that. I don't even hear the crowd. And especially since we keep playing bigger and bigger places, it's not like you can pick out individual faces or anything. It's just literally a blur of kind of a pastel color with like some annoying noise at the end of each song while I'm already thinking about the next song. So I won't miss that at all. I won't miss touring and I won't miss recording MINISTRY because of the pressure of kind of being constrained, either a) to make it better, or b) to make it worse instead of just letting it flow like you do on a film score. And not only that β€” I love collaboration, so working with the director is perfect for me. I love collaborating. That's why I had so many bands in the '80s and '90s. I love collaboration, but only now I'll be collaborating with directors as opposed to other musicians. So, I find that an interesting twist in my road and I'm looking forward to it."

Jourgensen went on to clarify that MINISTRY's 16th album, "Hopiumforthemasses", which is slated for release March 1 via Nuclear Blast Records, will not be the band's final record. "We have one more," he said. "When, when I [previously said we had one more album left to do], I just finished 'Hopium'. So we have one more new record coming out, which I'm re-recruiting an old mate from the early days. Paul Barker is gonna rejoin the band and we're gonna record that together and that will be our last one."

Al continued: "There comes a point in time where β€” there's only so many notes in a musical scale, there's only so many things you can do, I think we've kind of perfected our genre, whatever genre that is. People like to call it industrial or whatever; I just call it music. But it is certainly our genre. And there comes a point in time where you don't wanna start on the decline. And we're all at the right ages. We're peaking at the right time. And the next album and the final album should be fresh because bringing Paul Barker back into the fold for the last album, I think, is… We've all grown up in the last 40 years. And I do know I work well with him in the studio. as is obvious with the '90s albums that we did. So, yeah, I'm looking forward to the next one. But after that, what am I gonna do to top that? And the world's not gonna suddenly magically change by then. But there comes a point in time musically where anything from here is gonna be downhill. I see so many bands do that. And I don't need the money, I don't need the whatever. So I think it's a good time to stop. I just turned 65, which means that I'm getting like my mailbox stuffed with AARP shit. I took my piercings out. I took my dreads out. I decided at 65, I'm gonna become an adult. [Laughs] Good luck with that."

Al also revealed that one of MINISTRY's final recordings is remake of the band's first album, "With Sympathy", which he claims he had little control over, with the record company at the time dictating its direction.

"I'm not including that as the final album, because that one's actually done," he explained. "That's what I'm working on now. And we're gonna be done with that re-record as soon as we're done back with the Gary Numan tour that we're doing in March. Then I spend a month finishing this re-record with all new updated versions of that first record with this new band. So it's obviously different, new arrangements.

"I hated that record for 40 years, but with this band, the way that we're approaching it, it makes these songs almost relevant 40 years later, whereas I used to hate them," he continued. "The whole thing was I went and saw a MINISTRY cover band about two years ago here in L.A. And in in a sense, for the first time ever, I kind of got what some of the fans of that early stuff, what they got out of it. I started to understand. And then one night, when we were on tour with Numan last year, the band sneaks up on me. I mean, we play stuff after a show and listen to it while we're driving. And all of a sudden, they started playing this early stuff that they had done behind my back. They'd been working on it for four months. 'Cause they knew how to hate it. So they waited until I was completely 'shroomed out of my mind and wasted, and they started playing this stuff. And after seeing this cover band, I'm going, 'Okay. All right. Why not? Let's try it.' And so, yeah, I'm really happy with these new versions. So that that's actually gonna come out before the last album I do with Barker. So we'll have two albums out next year and a bunch of tours."

This is not the first time Jourgensen has vowed to make a "final" MINISTRY album. 2007's "The Last Sucker" was supposed to be the band's last-ever LP. Then, while working on other projects, inspiring riffs were born that would eventually become 2012's "Relapse". Later that year, Jourgensen began work on yet another MINISTRY album with longtime guitarist and collaborator Mike Scaccia. Three days after leaving the MINISTRY sessions in El Paso, in the early hours of December 23, 2012, Scaccia suffered heart failure onstage while performing with his other band, RIGOR MORTIS, and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Scaccia's death both devastated and motivated Jourgensen to return the studio to put the final touches on what they had started in memory of his best friend. The result was 2013's "From Beer To Eternity". Two more albums followed, 2018's "AmeriKKKant" and 2021's "Moral Hygiene".

Photo credit: Derick Smith / Nuclear Blast

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