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Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen Hardcover – July 9, 2013
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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.”
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
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.”
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
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.”
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.”
Few musicians have indulged in the sex, drugs and rock & roll lifestyle with such death-defying fervorand over such a long period of timeas 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.”
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.”
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.”
An absolutely must-have for the fans of Ministry.”
Phoenix New Times, 9/23/13
Any page you open up to ensures entertainment.”
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.”
Al Jourgensen's story is a testament to the strangeness and beauty of the universe as well as an example of the human condition.”
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.”
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.”
[A] frank and revealing tome.”
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 hilariousand 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
[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.”
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
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.”
One needn't be intimately familiar with Ministry's musical mayhem to enjoy Ministry Entertaining, enlighteningeven 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.”
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.”
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.”
But it's the unstated qualities of Jourgensen's personality that elevate Ministry above the pulpy level of your garden variety of sleazy sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll tell-all book. First and foremost is that Jourgensen has a genuine knack for yarn-spinning, enabling him and his co-writer Jon Wiederhorn to inject the ribald tales with an ample supply of pathos, humor, engaging wit, and the occasional insight In Ministry you have a great mix of interesting anecdotes, humor, and heart. Whether or not you're a fan of Ministry's music, there's a good chance you'll get sucked into Ministry's narrative.”
High Times, February 2014
While his fury at the world is on full display, Jourgensen's black heart beats true throughout Gospels. Ministry fans will want his miserable company.”
About the Author
Jon Wiederhorn is a senior writer at Revolver and contributes to SPIN and Guitar World. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Top customer reviews
But, for true Ministry fans, this is a let down. There is absolutely no information about the creation of any of their albums. Nothing about Al's songwriting/production partner Paul Barker. Nothing about classic albums like, "Rape and Honey," "The Mind," or "Psalm 69." In fact, Al admits he hates all of his albums, and what's-more - his fans.
Ironically, Al and his co-author readily admit that Al couldn't remember studio sessions and touring cycles because of his decades long drug addiction. Really? That's kinda weird, considering he remembers all the details of the drug and alcohol induced debauchery. But, nope, he can't remember anything about the inspiration behind the many classic albums he created.
Don't tell me about you and Gibby Haynes smoking crack and running from the cops in Austin, TX and then have the nerve to tell me, "I don't remember much about the making of Psalm 69, but I hate that record." C'mon, dude.
Al bashes almost every single past collaborator/band member, short of his BFF, the late/great Mike Scaccia. Yep, Uncle Al officially enters Billy Corgan territory. Go ahead and tell me that those guys contributions were blown out of proportion. But, the fact remains, the best music you ever made was with those guys.
I haven't read Chris Connelly's book, but after reading this, I'm more interested. That said, what every Ministry fan deserves is the real Ministry story - which may or may not ever be told as I'm sure Paul Barker doesn't want anything to do with it. I don't give a dang about drugs and groupies, but I would love to know about the creative process behind one of the most important bands of any genre in the last 20 years.
A final note about Paul Barker - after reading this book I was left with one distinct impression, "Holy Crap! Barker really held Ministry together all these years." Unless you're an Al sycophant, that's the only logical conclusion anyone could come to.
Also, as many other reviewers pointed out, Al's sense of time and place has been obliterated by drugs/alcohol. You can do a cursory internet search and find interviews from Al in the 90's that directly contradict what he puts out here.
If you love Ministry, you should read this book. You'll likely be disappointed, but if you've purchased any of their post-Barker albums, you should be used to that.
It didn't disappoint.
Folks, this is riveting s***. I won't lie; the depravity in this thing is off the charts. I've currently burned through about 2/3 of it (I'm at the Gibby Haynes "Intervention"), and I feel like I need a shower and there isn't enough soap in the world. It's outrageous, depraved, and at times absolutely horrifying, but it's also laugh-out-loud funny. Assuming all of this is true (as far as Al experienced it anyway), and that none of it is embellished for entertainment value, the Dos Equis guy has nothing on Al - stolen cars, IV drug use, stints in an orphanage and mental institution, electro shock therapy, group sex with mental patients, car crashes, alien abductions (with Al, at one point, going so far as to claim extraterrestrials stole his pregnant wife's unborn fetus) - and that's just his childhood. We haven't even gotten to the music industry yet. Once it gets to his music career, things get insane: rampant drug use, stabbings, overdoses, more car crashes, arrests, bestiality, women with blood pouring out of their genitals, severed animal heads, transvestites, bags of bodily fluids, Branch Davidians - if you think you get the idea, you really, really don't...
So far, it's covered everything that I hoped it would: the Arista debacle, the Wax Trax era, the '88-'92 lineup, Al's involvement with Puppy's Rabies album, the first RevCo show, Burroughs, Leary, etc. I should probably be mortified by some of this s***, but I'm laughing uncontrollably at a lot of it, and I'm not sure what that says about me. Al's chance encounter with Madonna at a new wave club in the early 80s is priceless (she reappears later in the book in an anecdote involving Mike Scaccia that had me laughing just as hard). The origin of Lard and Al's first sessions with Jello Biafra are worth the price of the book alone. There are also two tour bus incidents so far, one involving some sort of pipe bomb firework, and another involving Anthrax, a groupie, and a pizza that I won't spoil here, but it's good stuff. However, some of it's no laughing matter, like Al and his first wife having to hide their track marks from their daughter's teacher, Jeff Ward's suicide, William Tucker slitting his own throat, Al getting drunk and shooting at Jello Biafra's feet, and so on. A lot of other celebrities and/or musicians get dragged into the madness - Biafra, Ian MacKaye (who gets drunk!), GWAR, Trent Reznor, Layne Staley, Gibby Haynes, El Duce, Ice Cube, Anthrax, Johnny Depp, Tool, etc. Again, I'm only 2/3 of the way through it, but few people emerge from encounters with Al unscathed, and even he's died three times already.
As far as Al the person goes, I'm not sure what to think. He seems like an a**hole, but the older Jourgensen in poor health telling the story is at least a strangely likeable a**hole, while the younger variant is so extreme I wouldn't want to have known him, even if his antics are often fun to witness (at least from the safety of my living room armchair). There is a human side to him, in which he touches on his grandmother, wife and daughter, dog Lemmy -- even Tim Leary (whose picture he claims he still carries around in his wallet), but you only get fleeting glimpses of it before he delves back into all the debauchery. His timeline of certain events is questionable despite the ghost writer supposedly having fact-checked them. He also blames the music industry for his drug addiction, despite his own admission that he was using IV drugs in his early teens. In fact, the only musicians he seems to speak fondly of (other than Paul Raven) are the musicians he ran with who were also drunks and/or junkies (e.g., Scaccia, Gibby, Phildo, Ogre, Duce, etc.). He has nothing whatsoever good to say about Chris Connelly, repeatedly calling him a "charlatan" but without explanation. And he absolutely loathes Paul Barker, who the book attempts to portray as some kind of villain (his wife, Angie, in her "intervention" segment, makes some rather serious allegations against Barker but provides no evidence - and refers to winning a lawsuit filed by Jourgensen that was, in actuality, tossed out of court).
Even more bizarre, Jourgensen despises his signature music and seems to resent his fan base as much as he does label execs for trying to steer his sound one way or another. He expects his fan base (i.e., consumers) to buy his signature records and has no problem taking credit for the influence they've had on countless other musicians. But then he wants to be released from any obligation to play material from these records live (and still expects fans to pay to see him in concert despite also admitting that he hates performing and would rather be anywhere other than on a stage). They always say, "You should never meet your idols..." - something Al even states in the book. This is probably why the amorphous `They' say it in the first place.
Again, I have no idea how much truth there is in any of this, but I'm rating it for sheer entertainment value alone.
The story about the Ramones show in Boulder in 79 and the 40 people there that ended up starting bands and becoming a huge part of the counter culture. Al, Jello Biafra and the guys who started Wax Trax records. It reminds my of the infamous Sex Pistols show in Manchester and the 40 people there that would go on to start bands such as Joy Division, New Order, the Smiths, Buzzcocks, etc. If you like Ministry, get this book. Even if you hate Al and Ministry it is highly recommended read.