Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen

Al Jourgensen with Jon Wiederhorn. Da Capo Press, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-306-82219-3
True to its name, much of this book's narrative has been experimentally reconstructed from musician Jourgensen's clouded career—a career that includes drug addiction, binge drinking, stints in mental institutions, and international fame. A New Wave pop star with Ministry in the early-1980s, Jourgensen soon turned toward the harsh sounds that would become known as ‘Industrial.' Throughout the 90s, Jourgensen produced albums at a rapid rate, both with Ministry and side projects such as Revolting Cocks, and toured relentlessly. His output seems even more heroic given the volume and toxicity of the substances that he smoked, poured, and injected into his body. Despite—or because—of the extent of his self-immolation, Jourgensen is a lucid, engaging narrator. He presents his musical career as nearly accidental – something he did between sex, drugs, arrests, and brawls. Rather than music, Jourgenson focuses on settling scores, the hell he raised, and the drugs he took. What saves this account from tedium is the help from Wiederhorn and the great storytelling. Outside accounts and interviews with his friends, wife, and co-writer add texture and plausibility, but for better or worse, this is the Al Jourgensen Show. Probably no one is more surprised than Jourgensen that he lived to tell it. (July)
Reviewed on: 08/05/2013
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