Ex-Ministry Bassist Says 'Ministry Movie' Tough to Watch

Documentary captures the industrial metal band on their 1996 tour

October 26, 2011 5:05 PM ET
paul barker
Paul Barker in 'FIX' the new documentary on the band Ministry.
Paul Elledge

When a movie includes a scene of a guy sticking his penis inside a roast chicken, you know there's not much held back. Fix: The Ministry Movie, a documentary snapshot of the band's 1996 tour, is a graphic depiction of life on the road with the industrial heroes, including frontman Al Jourgensen's struggle with heroin addiction.

Ex-Ministry bassist Paul Barker admits that the film's candor really got to him. "It was tough to watch, it felt like I got kicked in the stomach," he tells Rolling Stone. "I’m not interested in reliving that era and having it presented to me like that was historically interesting and I’m happy to put it there and whatever, but it’s tough."

The movie has had its fair share of controversy over the years, with Jourgensen suing at one point to hold up release due to financial differences (the suit has since been resolved). In fact, financing was why the film has taken so many years to see the light of day. Barker admits that the long delay is another reason that makes the film so hard to sit through. "I don't think about that stuff. I have new challenges and I don't think about that in my day to day life," he says. "So yes, of course, it brought back all kinds of memories."

However, the long delay did create time for filmmaker Doug Freel to interview artists like Trent Reznor and Dave Navarro about the legacy and influence of Ministry. It was nice for Barker to hear all those compliments, especially since he had no idea at the time what other artists thought of Ministry. Nor did he care. "When you're in the middle of an endeavor you're focusing on getting the job done and so we wanted to kick everybody's ass, take no prisoners, our shit is heavier than your shit. Music is just as competitive as anything else," he explains." So realizing that our peers were paying attention to what we were doing and appreciating what we did at the time, it's mildly surprising. That doesn't mean I want to make music like that anymore."

Barker has flourished in the post-Ministry years. He's started a new musical project called Flowering Blight, produced other bands, including I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, and helped found a company that manufactures musical gear like synthesizer modules and guitar effects. And he's quite happy in these new roles. So, while Jourgensen has reformed a new version of Ministry, Barker won't be part of the band. "I've completely moved on," he says.

what happens when you’re in the middle of an endeavor, whatever that endeavor might be, you’re focusing on getting the job done and so at the time we wanted to kick everybody’s ass, take no prisoners, our shit is heavier than your shit. I suppose it’s just the nature of whatever living, it’s competitive. Music is just as competitive as anything else. So realizing that our peers were paying attention to what we were doing and appreciating what we did at the time, that’s really nice to hear. There’s no doubt about it. It’s mildly surprising. That doesn’t mean I want to make music like that anymore.

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