Al Jourgensen Wraps Up Ministry, Gets Ready For Life as a Superhero
"I hate spiders and flies!” exclaimed misanthropic industrial music pioneer, producer, and storyteller extraordinaire from the confines of his home in El Paso, Texas, just blocks from the borders of New Mexico and Mexico. The main house and studio at Camp Jourgensen are sturdy, tidy and devoid of spiders and most other insects. But recently the place has been swarming with more flies than a Louisiana slaughterhouse in mid-summer.
"You'd think we had dead bodies buried under the floorboard or something," Jourgensen joked. "Jesse, my assistant who works at my label 13th Planet Records, just built me a fly swatter that looks like a tennis racket. I killed 32 f***ing flies today. It made for a really weird interview with a guy in Finland. First of all, I can't understand what he's saying most of the time because his accent was so heavy. And second of all, every few minutes: THWACK! THWACK! THWACK! The guy must have thought I was completely insane. And if he read my book, he knows I’m completely insane!"
The book, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen, tells the wild, outrageous story of Jourgensen’s nearly 33-year rollercoaster ride through the music industry, during which he survived over a decade of habitual drug abuse that included heroin, cocaine, crack, methadone, speed, acid, MDA, and copious quantities of alcohol. His misadventures included three near-death experiences. Two involved heroin overdoses, then about two years ago he nearly died from ruptured ulcers.
"I'm kinda like a cat. I have nine lives," Jourgensen said. "The thing is, I don’t want to tempt fate. I'm not gonna get reckless and waste more of my lives just in case someone’s playing a trick on my ass and I only have four lives, not nine. I've already died three times. I’m not ready to go quite yet."
Clean for over a decade, Jourgensen is now working on reversing the damage he has caused himself over time. He's on an organic diet and he has been seeing a homeopathic doctor to ease the discomfort of his ulcers and remedy some of the aches and pains of his former self-abusive lifestyle. "I hate doctors, but I kinda like this one," he said. "She sticks a bunch of pins in me and I look like the guy in Hellraiser by the time I’m done with a session. And then she takes out this jackhammer and starts hammering away at this scar tissue. It's literally like a piledriver you'd use on the street. But it works, and I'm feeling really good. Since I've been seeing her, I can feel my feet again."
It's a good thing the artist known by fans as "Uncle Al" is on his feet, because he has got a lot on his plate. For the past couple months, he has mostly been plugging his book. Now, he's shifted gears and is promoting a batch of other projects, not the least of which is the thirteenth and final Ministry studio album From Beer to Eternity, which comes out September 10.
In addition, Jourgensen recently produced the debut album by Nashville-based heavy blues rock band the Dusters, which will be the last record featuring guitars by late Ministry guitarist and Jourgensen's best friend Mike Scaccia, who suffered a massive heart attack and died onstage December 23, 2012. Scaccia was playing a show with his other band Rigor Mortis to celebrate the 50th birthday of vocalist Bruce Corbitt when he died.