The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen


By Al Jourgensen

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Ministry is a memoir both ugly and captivating, revealing Al Jourgensen as a man who lived a hard life his own way without making compromises. He survived prolonged drug addiction — twenty-two years of chronic heroin, cocaine, and alcohol abuse, to be more precise — before cleaning up, straightening out, and finding new reasons to live.

During his career, Jourgensen has engaged in all of the rock ‘n’ roll clich’s regarding decadence and debauchery and invented new forms of previously unachieved nihilism. Despite this and his addictions, he created seven seminal albums, including the bonafide, hugely influential classic The Land of Rape and Honey, 1989’s The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, and 1992’s blockbuster Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed.

Ministry imparts the epic life of Al Jourgensen, a survivor who tempted fate, beat the odds, persevered, and put the pieces back together after unraveling completely.




After my stomach exploded, I recovered at home for a few weeks and took the medicine the doctor prescribed. I was doing really well and starting to feel better. They told me not to drink, but drinking . . . man, that’s harder to quit than dope. I’ve been drinking for years. It’s water to a camel for me. So I made this deal with Angie—no hard liquor. So I’d sit on the couch and drink wine until I had a good buzz, watch some sports or news on the TV, and pass out for a few hours. For me, that’s healthy living. I was taking my stomach medication. I was getting better. But I started to get really bored. I still wasn’t allowed to work on music, so I read, watched sports on TV, and kept up on the news, which, if you ask me, is more stressful and frustrating than working on an album. For a change of pace I went to get some new tattoos. Thirty-three years ago I went to a locally famous tattoo artist, Guy Aitchison, and he did sleeves on both my arms in two four-hour sittings. I figured because I was just reborn, it was time to get some ink to mark the occasion. I got this local El Paso artist Marty Lopez, who’s really good, but he’s a grinder. He did my back, chest, arms, and hands. My whole upper body is done, and I’m thinking about working on my lower body, but I’m getting a little too old for the pain. A grinder is good when you’re twenty and you relish the experience and the pain, but fuck, I’m in my fifties now, and the last thing I need is complete and utter pain. So maybe I’ll wait on getting my legs and ass tattooed.

But it’s funny—while I was getting this ink done and complaining about it to everyone, my daughter, Adrienne, who’s twenty-seven, was living with us. She’s really into piercings and has holes in places where I don’t want to know she has holes. She heard me complaining about a tattoo I had gotten, and she goes, “Dad, you are a pussy. You’re whining about your tattoos, and you don’t even have any piercings.” So I looked at her and said, “No, you’re a pussy. You don’t have any tattoos.” So to settle the bet we drove to Marty’s Shoppe Dos & Tattoos, where they do both piercings and tattoos. I walked in and got a whole bunch of piercings. I didn’t care. They were just poking holes in me. It hurt for a second and then it was done—piercings are easy. I got four piercings in each eyebrow, one on the bridge of my nose, one in the middle of my nose, and two on the sides. Then I got two stud holes—one either side of my bottom lip. Then it was Adrienne’s turn. She got her arm tattooed from the elbow to the shoulder with a pattern of tarot cards. Then she looked at me and said, “Okay, you are not a pussy. This hurts way worse than any piercings.” And I didn’t even take her to see Marty, the grinder.

After a few weeks of relaxing I was going out of my skull. I needed to do something creative—I needed to make music. So I figured I’d give my fans something I’ve been promising them for thirty years—a country album by Buck Satan & The 666 Shooters. I used to DJ as Buck Satan in the eighties in Chicago, and Buck Satan is also one of my many aliases. Up until that point in time the recorded incarnation of the band was an acoustic set of country covers at a Neil Young Bridge School Benefit in the nineties. Before he died I got Buck Owen’s blessings to use the name for a band, which meant a lot to me because that guy was a hero of mine—him and Johnny Cash, George Jones, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson . . . all the original country guys. They’re great storytellers and you really feel the emotion in their music.

So when I got well enough to go into the studio, I called up Mikey, Rick Nielsen, and Static-X bassist Tony Campos and got them to do this crazy country album with me. It was funny because Mikey and I were the only ones who listened to country, and we had never actually written country songs before. So it was like the blind leading the blind. Rick is a great guitarist, but he’s more of a blues guy—though he’s a quick learner—and Tony didn’t know how to play country bass, so he gave the music a real punk vibe. But it was great. I was cut off from everything but wine and beer, so I’d have a couple bottles with me in the studio and write these parts that seemed like they could work in country songs.

Mikey, Tony, and I laughed and drank a lot, and I wore my cowboy hat, which made the process seem more authentic. I wrote lyrics about shit I knew: being fucked over by record labels, the dangers of heroin and cocaine, being in my own little world. And we covered Gram Parson’s “Drug Store Truck Driving Man,” Heartsfield’s “The Only Time I’m Sober,” and the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil.” Dave Barnett and Barry Kooda showed up for a bit, and we called in some country fiddle players, but they were awful; they couldn’t get with what we were doing at all, so we told them to get lost and managed to get hold of this twenty-three-year-old fiddle player from Houston who had never played country either. But she came down and picked it up right away. She was sawing away at her violin and breathing heavy, and Rick and Mikey were playing these crazy psychedelic cowboy core riffs, and I was watching the fiddle player. She was leaning against the wall of the studio, spreading her legs wider and wider, and her skirt was inching up her thigh. I was like, “Damn, she’s really getting’ into this. Well, alright!” And then I noticed she’s not wearing any panties, and her pussy was shaved as smooth as a baby’s behind—no landing strip or nothing. She saw me and smiled, and I swear she winked at me. All I knew was that I didn’t need that kind of trouble, so I smiled back at her and left to spend some quality time with Lemmy. I wasn’t supposed to be healthy enough to fuck yet, and I sure as hell wasn’t gonna jeopardize my marriage for a kinky fiddle player.

While we were recording Buck Satan & The 666 Shooters, Mikey and I started fooling around and coming up with these really loud metal riffs. It was fun to mess around with some of that in between these cowboy rock sessions. The problem was that the shit we were coming up with was really good. Mikey’s going, “C’mon, man, this is totally Ministry. We gotta do another album.” And I was like, “No fuckin’ way!” But goddammit, he was right. So without any forethought or preconceptions, we dragged Ministry out of retirement kicking and screaming and did Relapse. And you know what? It was the most fun I’ve ever had working on a Ministry album.

It certainly wasn’t trouble free—don’t get me wrong. I did it in two different sections with two teams. My go-to guys were Mikey and Rigor Mortis/ex-GWAR bassist Casey Orr. After we finished the Buck Satan record and worked on the new Ministry songs for about six weeks, I sent them home and we called up team “B,” which consisted of Prong guitarist Tommy Victor and Soulfly bassist Tony Campos. We had to do it in separate shifts because Tommy and Mikey couldn’t be in the same room together. It was kind of like two pit bulls marking their territory. If they got too close, you’d have piss dripping all over and you’d be holding back these two angry animals that want to rip each other’s throats out. Tommy’s like that with a lot of people. I love the guy. He’s the only one in the world who can insult me and be a total dick and I’ll just laugh. But no, we had to keep them apart. Besides that, though, the sessions went really well. They had lots of cheap vodka and I had red wine. Tommy and Tony added more riffs and solos and pitched in on a cover of “United Forces” by S.O.D., a crossover band from the ’80s that included Anthrax members Scott Ian and Charlie Benante, along with Billy Milano. They played a major role in making hardcore palatable for heavy metal kids. So I included that out of respect for those guys—plus, it’s a fucking great song, and it’s a blast to scream out the title over and over for the chorus.

The last order of business was having Sammy do the vocals for “Weekend Warrior.” He wrote out something and recorded it himself just to get a guide vocal one night while I was drunk and passed out. He expected me to go back and redo it later. But when I heard it, I was like, “Nope, sounds good the way it is. I’m gonna have to give you a vocal credit on that one, dude.” Additionally, Angie ended up writing the lyrics for “Git Up Get Out ‘N Vote,” because she could see I was on empty.

I produced and mixed Relapse in a couple weeks of all-night sessions, and then I decided, before we start putting together a live show, I was gonna have to get sober. I had done it before, so I knew I could do it again. Here’s the trick: I’m a total shut-in. I keep to myself and mind my own business. I sit in front of the television, read the paper on my back porch, smoke, and listen to music. So as long as Angie’s there to make sure I don’t leave the house, nothing bad is gonna happen. And I know that I can’t open the front door, because there’s nothing out there for me but trouble. If I leave, something bad’s gonna happen because it always does. So Angie stays in the house working on business for 13th Planet and Ministry, planning tours and promotional shit, and scheduling interviews. It’s simple and it’s the best way to keep me safe. Sometimes we go out for dinner at this great steak house down the road, but mostly I surround myself with the shit I like and stay away from anything that’s gonna make me agitated—especially doctors and people in general.

After the Buck Satan and Ministry albums were done, I started focusing on getting sober. I took it a day at a time. In the past Angie tried to get me to go to AA meetings, but that program is just not for me. Too many people. Too many strangers. At first it seemed like no problem to not drink, then I’d get cranky as fuck. Then I’d kind of give in, like a kid who throws a temper tantrum and no one pays him any attention so he goes to his room and sulks. I didn’t break out my old Joy Division records or anything, but I kind of gave in to authority for the greater good. I got on the exercise bike and lifted weights, trying to get in some kind of shape. My dedication and perseverance impressed Angie. I was sober for about six weeks. And then Revolver magazine called and invited Ministry to come out to LA to play onstage with Korn at the Golden Gods awards. They wanted us to do the Black Sabbath song “Supernaught” from Black Sabbath IV, which I did with 1000 Homo DJs and put on the 1994 Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity in Black. Angie thought it was a great idea because we were up for the Comeback of the Year award anyway. I knew we wouldn’t win since we were up against Slipknot, who were back on tour after their bassist Paul Gray overdosed and died.

But Angie thought we had a chance, and she loves these award ceremonies. I fuckin’ hate them. I’ve been nominated a bunch of times for various things, and the only time I went was when Ministry got nominated in 2006 for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance for “Lieslieslies.” It was the 49th Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Angie thought it would be fun to go to Hollyweird, and she wanted to buy a new dress and walk the red carpet. We were nominated in 2005 for the same category, but I refused to go. But this time I gave in. I wore this big, black Salvation Army coat, and we went with our old bassist, the late Paul Vincent Raven—God rest his soul—and Tommy Victor. We were up against Slayer and Lamb of God, so right there I knew we didn’t have a chance. I figured I’d just have fun but I fucked everything up, as usual. Angie says I have social anxiety disorder. Whenever I get around a lot of people, I’m really an asshole. I don’t know if it’s a self-preservation instinct or a defensive mechanism; I’m just not good with big crowds.

We walked the red carpet and I said all this obnoxious shit to whoever put a microphone in front of my face. I was already cranky, and then we got inside and I found out there was no smoking and no drinking allowed! They weren’t even serving drinks! So I was incensed and started heckling people and spitting chewing tobacco at everyone in front of me. There were men in suits and tuxes and women in these tight, expensive outfits, and—PING—this ball of spit and tobacco hits them in the neck or on the back of the head. They figured out who was doing it too, but everyone was too scared to approach me. I was heckling everyone and saying shit like, “Who the fuck are you looking at?!” Even Tommy, the biggest asshole on the face of the earth, was embarrassed and he, Raven, and Angie parted from me like the Red Sea. Finally someone reported me or something, and these six security guards with walkie-talkies descend and throw me out. I had to watch the fucking Grammys from the hotel bar! Slayer won the metal award for “Eyes of the Insane.” Any time you’re up against Slayer, you can kiss your chances of winning goodbye—not because they’re so good or anything, but because they’re the only metal band the Recording Academy voters have heard of because they’ve won before. It alternates every year—them and Slipknot or Metallica.

So anyway, Revolver wanted me to go to the Golden Gods in 2011, and I said, “Angie, I don’t think that’s such a good idea. If I go, I’m gonna be around all these other people in bands and I’m gonna drink.” I was working on two months of sobriety at that point, so she agreed that I’d stay at home and she’d go without me and Ministry wouldn’t play Black Sabbath songs with Korn.

I had been a good little rock star and was being sober and well behaved...I timed it. I knew it would take twenty-five seconds before Angie and her assistant, Jesse, turned the corner away from the house on the way to the airport. Before they were gone thirty seconds, I got in my car and opened the gate to drive to a liquor store. Then I just went crazy and went on a seventy-two-hour Hunter S. Thompson–style drinking binge. While she was away Angie had Jesse come in and check in on me daily. She’d call and he’d say, “I poked him and he’s breathing.” Poor kid! What a job! I was lying in my own puke for three days, crawling around on all fours, trying to get out of the living room. The dogs were even worried about me. Angie would call me every so often to give me an update on her LA transactions, and I’d be in midpuke. Wasted. “That’s nice, honey. I have to go die. Can you call back?”

I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself, so she couldn’t get too pissed. She knew I didn’t have an agenda; I wasn’t about go out and fuck some chick. She knew I’d just get drunk, vomit, and fall asleep. Then do it again. It’s not glorious, it’s not glamorous—it’s what old rock stars do before they die. They puke on themselves. And that’s why Ministry’s 2012 album was called Relapse.



Back in 1958, babies who were born three months premature didn’t live. It isn’t like now, when they have all this advanced technology and fancy breathing apparatuses so infants can develop in an artificial womb until they’re strong enough to come out into the real world. No, three months premature, you’re dead. But somehow I wasn’t. And I wasn’t in some fancy American hospital. I was born in Havana, Cuba, a third-world country that’s just as likely to use dying fetuses as kindling for the poor as they were to fight to keep them alive. I was jaundiced with a failing liver. I was completely yellow—even my eyes. I had 60 percent hearing loss. In other words, I was a mess long before I entered the music industry.

My birth name was Alejandro Ramirez Casas. My mother was sixteen when she had me, and I have no idea who my father is but I know he didn’t stick around. My grandfather Julio Brouwer didn’t like the guy, that’s for sure, and what he said went. He was the patriarch of the family, and he was very similar to that guy in the Dos Equis ad, who they call “the most interesting man in the world.” He even looked like him. He was a fascinating man, a scientist who invented an efficient method of artificially inseminating cattle. He made a butt-load of money from that, and he had a huge mansion in Havana with a gorgeous view. There were about thirty rooms, and we had maids and cooks. And then Fidel Castro said, “You have to move out and get a state-sponsored house because I want my ministry to move in and it is now state appropriated.” This was at a time when Castro was taking away people’s property to use for his own purposes. But my grandfather said, “Fuck you, I’m not living in a state-sponsored house.” So Castro’s army took his mansion by force, and in 1960 my grandfather left the country and went to Miami, where all good Cubans who were fleeing Castro went.

My mom was a totally spoiled little Cuban princess who got knocked up at sixteen yet still had a Sweet Sixteen party with all her other little rich friends. Things changed for her too—pretty fast. My first actual memory was of me and my grandmother, Carmen, leaving Cuba when I was two years old. The rest of the family were already in Miami, and we were the last ones out. We were on this small, overcrowded plane, and a kid was screaming his head off and freaking out right next to me. Getting off the ground was a hassle. The plane almost didn’t take off because it was so overcrowded; there were people standing in the aisles. I held my grandmother’s hand, and suddenly we were tilting upward and I thought we were falling out of the sky. Then the plane leveled out and the rest of the flight was uneventful. Next thing I knew we were in Miami. I think that experience traumatized me for life in terms of flying—I hate it to this day. Angie says I’m a nervous flyer. That’s putting it lightly.

Even though my grandfather was famous in Cuba, he was just another immigrant in America, and at first he took a job at a restaurant to support his family, which is crazy. But he did what he had to do and held the family together—me, my mom, aunts, and uncles. There is obviously a big Cuban community in Miami. And my grandfather was the patriarch of the family—the suavest character in history. He was a chess champion, and I remember him sitting planning out his next move with a glass of Jack Daniels in one hand and a cigar in the other. He taught me chess and he’d let me win; I never knew he was throwing the games on purpose. That gave me a lot of confidence growing up and made me feel smart—little did I know. But he was my hero. Even though we went from being rich to being poor, as a three-year-old it felt like we were still rich. My uncles had backyard cookouts with Cuban food—whole pigs roasting on the spit, music. One of my other first memories is of being outside with the sun beaming down. It was really hot. There were all these amazing smells from the food mingling together, and my uncles would play tribal Cuban music on congas and everyone would sing. That’s where I got my first taste of contrapuntal beats and triplets, and it stuck with me. If you listen to Ministry, even the really old stuff like “(Every Day Is) Halloween,” “Deity,” “Burning Inside,” and up through “Double Tap” from Relapse, you can hear that contrapuntal style blended with metal and whatever keyboard stuff I was doing.

Music actually runs in my family—along with cattle sperm. My great uncle Leo Brouwer was a famous classical guitar player, probably the best, after Segovia. My great, great aunt Ernestina Lecuona Casado was married to the national conductor of a famous orchestra in Spain who is credited for writing the famous folk song “La Malagueña.” But folklore has it that it was my great, great aunt who wrote it. He just got credit for it because they didn’t give women recognition for writing songs in those days.

What’s pretty incredible is that my grandfather had too much pride to tell anyone he was famous in Cuba. Then one day someone who was in the cattle industry recognized him in this restaurant and freaked out. He went, “Holy shit! This guy’s an award-winning scientist. He’s a genius!” So the guy pulled some strings and got my grandfather relocated to Wisconsin so he could do research for them. And then they moved him to Chicago, which is where I grew up with my uncles, aunts, and grandmother. But something was going on between my grandparents. I think being together so long and moving from Cuba to Miami took its toll on their relationship. When I was three years old my grandfather started seeing other women, and then he left my grandmother for the madame of a whore house and all hell broke loose. My grandmother threw shoes and dishes at him. Then she flung a framed picture of the two of them, and that missed his head by inches. It shattered against the wall behind him and glass flew everywhere. That seemed really significant, somehow, like the complete shattering of their bond and the end of the relationship between the two people smiling in the photo. That’s why I don’t trust photos to this day—they just capture a moment; they can’t tell the future. And everyone always tries to look their best for pictures regardless of how angry they are at the person they’re standing next to.

Life changed a lot after my grandfather left because my grandmother wouldn’t take money from him. He was rich at that point because of a patent that he had on the process he had invented. But she didn’t care. She would rather starve than take his tainted money. So we lived in squalor up in Rogers Park north side, about three blocks from Loyola College. But God bless my grandmother. She was a saint, and she raised me until I was six. They say that zero through six are your formative years, and that during that time you learn the values you’ll have for the rest of your life. She taught me to respect other people and take pride in my accomplishments. She never fucked anyone over no matter what she was suffering through. I’ve been raped, strangled, and cut open by record labels, managers, promoters, studio executives. But as soon as I was in a position to do the same thing to people who were coming up in the business, I said, “No, fuck that. I’m going to be decent and give people opportunities, because that’s how I was raised.” I could never rip anyone off. Yeah, I’ll steal sunglasses from a Chevron for kicks, but that’s about it, and I owe all that to Grandma Carmen.

The whole time I was living with my grandmother my mom was husband shopping, so she was never home. Somehow we always had enough money to get by, but I don’t know how; I think my uncles and extended family were always helping us out. Grandma Carmen used to take me with her wherever she went. She was in her fifties, and she would wear tight leather miniskirts and revealing tops. My mother and uncles were always embarrassed, but I thought it was cool, like, “Go, Grandma!” And she was hot, man. She was a shapely redhead with green eyes, and as soon as my grandfather left, she started tarting up and having boyfriends. She would bring me to her boyfriends’ houses, and they’d fuck while I sat outside and watched basketball or football on TV. I had some sort of idea what they were doing, but it didn’t bother me. I thought it was great—she was doing her own thing, dressing how she wanted and saying, “Fuck you if you don’t like it.” She made me feel like it was never too late to be cool, and that’s a value I hold onto to this day. I have no problems being my age and looking like a freak because I grew up around that. Carmen was a saint—kind of a kinky saint, but a saint nonetheless.

When I was living with Carmen I had my first of several run-ins with the “Grays.” If you’re into UFOs and extraterrestrials, you know the Grays are these little fuckers from another planet who come down to Earth every once in a while and check it out. They’ve been keeping an eye on me from an early age. I didn’t get the name Alien Jourgensen for nothing. When I was five, three of these guys paid me a visit. I grew up steeped in Catholicism, and it was the day before Christmas, so I thought they were the Three Wise Men. I was sleeping in the living room, and I woke up to this sound, and there they were. I was watching them and they were watching me, and before they went away they left this green triangle on my neck. They didn’t draw it or anything; it just appeared. My grandmother saw it and asked me what it was. I told her it was given to me by the Three Wise Men. She took me to a doctor and he couldn’t figure out what it was, but it went away in two weeks, so we never discussed it again.

Although we started out in America pretty poor, we gradually got more money—thanks to my uncles Jorge and Julio. My Uncle Jorge was a crazy motherfucker, actually—they both were. For a while Uncle Jorge concentrated on music and jammed with the ’70s psychedelic band Spirit, but he ended up doing really well in sales for a major corporation. He was always there. But my other uncle, Julio, was my favorite. He’s a good guy. Like me, Uncle Julio likes to drink and hates George Bush, but he’s funny as hell. He used to come into my dressing room in Ft. Lauderdale whenever Ministry played there and go, “I am Julio! I am from Cuba! Fuck George Bush!” And then he’d drink all the beer.

I loved growing up with my grandmother, uncles, and an aunt, who was also named Carmen, and was kinda frumpy and cognitively deficient. They never forced me to learn English and I didn’t have to lift a finger for anything. I never saw my mother because she was busy husband shopping, but I didn’t care. Then my mom married Ed Jourgensen when I was six, and literally the day after my birthday the entire fabric of my life was taken away and I had to learn how to adapt to these new, hostile conditions. Ed was an aspiring NASCAR driver, and my mom made it clear that he could have her, but I was part of the package and he’d have to get a stable job to support us. Basically he traded in his life’s dream in exchange for some hot Latin pussy, which was exotic, especially back in the ’60s. My mom was a Cuban Charo Latina Chiquita with nice tits and a hot ass. And my dad was kind of a nerd, so he said, “Alright, I’ll give up cars and take the pussy!” Deal!


  • Ministry is charming and offputting all at once…Proof, if more was needed, that being a rock star, like playing professional contact sports, takes a permanent toll on its most dedicated practitioners.”, 7/19/13

    “The book is both riveting and horrifying at the same time…No gory detail is left out as Al recounts the debauchery and extreme drug use that fueled his life. What sets Al's autobiography apart from others is he admits to every last bit of the shocking tragedy almost as if it were his final confession to a priest and he was trying to sneak into Heaven. Nobody said rock n' roll wasn't ugly.”

    Dallas Observer, 7/16/13

    “[A] harrowing tale of drugs, sex and, of course, rock 'n' roll, inspired by the artist who influenced a generation of musical pioneers like Nine Inch Nails to take metal to the next level.”

    “Rock Star Radio Show,” KCLB Radio (Palm Springs, CA), 7/18/13

    “One of the best music based pieces of literature, or any literature, that I have set my eyes on. Read the book. You're going to love it.”

    Intravenous Magazine (UK), 7/3/13
  • “A compelling read…Al is amusing and wry throughout and this is a real warts and all tale that has a jaw dropping fact or story on virtually every page…Even if you are not a fan of the music this is still a compulsive read…This really is not far off from the sort of biographical great American novels told by the likes of them, Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski…An absolute gem and a real treat of a book.”

    Caught in the Carousel, 7/10/13

    “What Ministry brings to light is Al's sense of humor and his rollicking way of spinning a yarn. In other words, the guy's hilarious—and Ministry provides a brilliant, dark comedic take on the very stuff that inspired Ministry's greatest albums…Al's book reads like a more accessible version of Burroughs' Junkie, Naked Lunch, and the ‘Nova Trilogy'…His deadpan humor and smart philosophical and political insights (he's one of the most politically aware and truly progressive musicians on the planet) save the book from being a downer…Al's Ministry is so good that you'll just have to read it for yourself to have your side split and your thoughts provoked. Just go out and grab a copy!”

    The National (United Arab Emirates), 7/6/13
  • “A warts and all picture of life as one of the godfathers of the industrial rock scene…Where memoirs like Marilyn Manson's Long Hard Road Out Of Hell and Mötley Crüe's The Dirt pull their punches and gloss over the more graphic scenes, Jourgensen goes into heavy and often uncomfortable detail…Compulsive reading. Jourgensen is a great storyteller and the sheer insanity of his stories will no doubt keep people turning the pages. It is definitely up there with the likes of Iggy Pop's I Need More, Mötley Crüe's The Dirt and even William Burroughs' Junkie.”

    The Weeklings, 7/20/13

    “The most over-the-top, full-on decadent, absolute gonzo rock & roll biography ever.”

    GenerationGBooks, 7/14/13

    “I've said for many years now that I would find it difficult to find a music biography that would top Motley Crue's  The Dirt. Consider it done.”, 8/6/13

    “[A] frank and revealing tome.”, 8/16/13
  • “Al gives you all of the sleaze you could hope for and more in this harshly real book…they should pass this book out to kids instead of a ‘D.A.R.E.' pamphlet or ‘Just Say No' crap…The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen is ANOTHER homerun from the publishers Da Capo Press. They are becoming by far my favorite publishers of all books music! Too many of these autobiographies are nothing more than cash grabs filled with major errors, flawed editing and worse, it's great to see a publisher care as much about the reader as it does about their own wallets.”

    Side-Line, 9/16/13

    “An absolutely must-have for the fans of Ministry.”

    Phoenix New Times, 9/23/13

    “Any page you open up to ensures entertainment.”, 9/20/13

    “Quite simply one of the best rock autobiographies ever written.”

    Washington Times, 9/5/13

    “In the book, Jourgensen is brutally honest regarding his drug-fueled lifestyle, one that would make even Keith Richards cringe. His tale is as much shocking as it is cautionary.”, 10/5/13

    “Al Jourgensen's story is a testament to the strangeness and beauty of the universe as well as an example of the human condition.”

  • “Few musicians have indulged in the sex, drugs and rock & roll lifestyle with such death-defying fervor—and over such a long period of time—as longtime Ministry leader Al Jourgensen. Now, his tale is on display for the whole world to read…A roller-coaster read. In addition to going behind the scenes for the creation of such industrial-metal classics as The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste and Psalm 69, Jourgensen dishes dirt on many renowned names whom he's crossed paths with throughout his career.”

    MTV Hive, 7/10/13

    “Just open the book and throw your finger on any given page, and you're liable to hit a sentence that makes you thank god you lived long enough on this planet to read something this batshit crazy…The most entertaining rock memoir I've ever read.”, 7/11/13

    “The ‘back-asswards' life of Ministry mastermind Al Jourgensen has finally been documented with incredible detail.”

    USA Today (website), 7/8/13

    “When it comes to sex, drugs and rock and roll, you just can't have too much of them, at least if you're reading about it. To live that lifestyle, a long one, is quite a feat, one that begs for a memoir, Ministry, in stores now.”, 7/6/13
  • “It is a stark retelling of the musician's life, and no rock is left unturned…You will be appalled, shocked and disturbed, but you won't put this down until the last page.”

    New Noise, 8/29/2013

    “Horrific and nauseatingly awesome.”, 8/25/13

    “Al takes us on an exciting journey through his career in the music industry as he truly tells it all; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Jourgensen's tale is funny, frightening, and oftentimes disturbing as he offers frank accounts of the business side of the industry, his wild life on the road, and his personal battles with drug and alcohol abuse…You don't have to be a Ministry fan to enjoy this book…A very interesting read.”

    Classic Rock (UK), October 2013

    “[A] roaringly entertaining read.”, 9/13/13
  • “The man who refers to himself as ‘Alien Jourgensen' is a really funny guy and this comes out in his recently released autobiography…He's a danger-level genius and whatever his demons may be, or may have been, he remains wonderfully entertaining as ever…His book has the makings of a great biopic.”

    Record Collector, September 2013

    “An intelligent take on the filthy rock underbelly…[It] pulls no punches…A brilliant read.”, 8/19/13

    “Take[s] you on a roller coaster ride of sex, drugs, drugs and even more drugs mixed with a sprinkling of rock and roll…This is not your typical tell all memoir as Al Jourgensen gives you that and then some…The book consisted of stories that were so far out there that they had to be true due to the fact that it would be hard for someone to make up some of these experiences and, be able tell them with the in-depth conviction Jourgensen does. The book keeps you on the edge of your seat and makes you want more.”

    South China Morning Post, 8/18/13

    “You'll care if you're at all interested in first-hand encounters with a who's who of pop culture.”

    Curled Up with a Good Book, 8/29/2013
  • “[An] unflinching account of his life and career…For someone who has lived his life as an open book, free of pretense and with complete apathy as to others' opinions of him, Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen still manages to surprise…Ministry's lone constant member tells it like he sees it with all the gory details dripping throughout…No stone unturned and no vein left untapped, Jourgensen recites events of a life lived (and ended a few times) to its unconscionable excesses in a funny, wildly entertaining, and gleefully repulsive memoir.”, 7/9/13

    “A rock and roll tale that is dirtier than that of Motley Crue's The Dirt…Open and honest…Fans of Ministry will undoubtedly snap this right up.”

    The Front Row Report, 7/9/13

    “[He] doesn't hold back one bit…Jourgensen digs down into the deepest, darkest crevices of his memory and presents us with a very blunt, honest and revealing trip through his life and career…The epitomic picture of the life of a rocker and artist and Jourgensen at his best. Any Ministry or metal fan will be captivated for hours and hours…and anyone who isn't familiar with Ministry or Jourgensen will find everything they need to know in this book.”

    Ave Noctum, 7/8/13
  • John Shelton Ivany Top 21, Issue 432

    “A memoir both ugly and captivating, revealing Al Jourgensen as a man who lived a hard life his own way without making compromises.”, 10/26/13

    “Not for the faint of heart…The producer/songwriter/ vocalist and guitarist tells his story unflinchingly; this may be difficult for more sensitive readers to stomach, but it is pure Al Jourgensen.”

    Chicago Sun-Times, 12/26/2013

    “It's almost impossible to believe this is a work of non-fiction. As Jourgensen's first official biography, the Ministry singer's torrid life is recapped in colorful and uncensored anecdotes of Timothy Leary experiments, near-death experiences, FBI raids and alien encounters, many of which are set against the background of Chicago in the glory days of the Wax Trax! industrial machine.”, December 2013

    “A unique memoir…Uncompromising gritty, sometimes brutal—this is an unflinching self-portrait of a ‘cranky and rough' individual, full of anecdotes of drug abuse and touring life and meetings with iconic individuals like William S. Burroughs and Timothy Leary…Jourgensen's health battles, political involvement, personal rants, it's all here.”
  • Under the Radar, Spring 2013

    “In the colorful and often highly amusing anecdotes recounting his years as a musician, Jourgensen covers his time with Ministry and Revolting Cocks in high-flying detail.”

    Revolver, June/July 2013

    “A tale of outlandish debauchery and mayhem…Like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas crossed with The Dirt, it's both insanely compelling and compellingly insane.”

    Texas Monthly, July 2013

    “Jourgensen [is] poised to forever raise the bar on tales of rock star excess with a new memoir, Ministry…The book offers a laundry list of degenerate behavior and near-death experiences. But where most rock and roll biographies and memoirs end in the subject's demise or redemption, the arc of this one is a lot murkier.”, 7/1/13

    “One needn't be intimately familiar with Ministry's musical mayhem to enjoy Ministry…Entertaining, enlightening—even inspirational…A riotously revealing retrospective that cements Jourgensen's place in the modern rock lexicon while chronicling the decades-long descent into drug addiction that nearly cost the Ministry maverick his life.”, 7/8/13

On Sale
Sep 8, 2015
Page Count
336 pages
Da Capo Press

Al Jourgensen

About the Author

Al Jourgensen is a six-time Grammy-nominated producer, composer, and musician. A multi-platinum-selling artist, Jourgensen’s discography spans over thirty years. After getting clean in 2002, he produced another five Ministry discs and launched his own label, 13th Planet. He lives in El Paso, Texas. Jon Wiederhorn is coauthor of the book Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, a senior writer at Revolver, and a regular contributor to Guitar World,,, and He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his family.

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