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Ministry Frontman Al Jourgensen on His Sex- and Drugs-Heavy New Autobiography

Memoir recounts industrial rock trailblazer's highs and lows

July 8, 2013 9:00 AM ET
Al Jourgensen
Al Jourgensen
Allan Amato

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 in his autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen, out on Da Capo Press.

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"Well, you might know Jon Wiederhorn – he's been interviewing me for 17 or 18 years," Jourgensen tells Rolling Stone. "He's always given me a fair shake. When I sit down and have a few cocktails and start talking about the road, like, you hear about these kid bands – 'Once we threw a TV out the window' or Hammer of the Gods or something. It's like, 'Dude. . . really? That's it?' So I started telling the stories to Wiederhorn."

The end result is 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, including Madonna, Courtney Love and Robert Plant. But perhaps the most colorful tale of all involves Fred Durst.

"The Limp-dickster motherfucker, whatever his name is. I got him naked and in a cowboy hat [in a recording studio]! I'm showing him, 'Look, you want my sound? This is my sound. This is what I use.' And he wouldn't believe it because just by hitting the magic button on the harmonizer that it wouldn't make him sound exactly like me. He was that naïve. I'm like, 'Well, try the cowboy hat.' So I gave him my cowboy hat. . . and it still sounded like shit. So I go, 'Why don't you try and get naked? That's how I sing.' I was just bullshitting him. So he goes out and does that, and is thoroughly embarrassed, again. And then he just left. I got paid to just humiliate him for three songs. It was awesome."

Also, according to Jourgensen, 'Til Tuesday's 1980s new wave/pop smash "Voices Carry" was inspired by a brief romantic relationship he had with Aimee Mann. "We had a very dysfunctional relationship in Boston. I love her to death – to this day. I just saw her when I did that Sgt. Peppers/Cheap Trick benefit at the Hollywood Bowl, and she was there. We get along great. As a matter of fact, I get along great with all of my exes. That's really cool. That's a good sign. That means that, 'OK, you were an asshole at times, but you weren't a complete asshole all the time.'"

Jourgensen doesn't shy away from the darker side of his story, too, which is fraught with hardcore drug use, drinking and health troubles – so much so that the heavily tattooed and pierced musician is surprised that he is alive today. "You know, I've actually been printed up in 'medical marvels' for the AMA [American Medical Association], where I lost my hepatitis C. That's a permanent condition. I just had another liver scan last year, and I have no C. Which kind of sucks, because I was working my way through the alphabet – I have A, B, and C, and I was really hoping for D. But D didn't come around yet, and C is gone. So now I'm just a hepatitis poser."

In addition to the release of Ministry, the near future will see the arrival of what Al promises will be Ministry's last-ever studio album, From Beer to Eternity, as well as a remixed version of the album, live DVDs and his first-ever novel.

"It's a book called Mind Fuck, which is about the power of persuasion and how a person goes around to dive bars and talks downtrodden people into killing themselves, by the power of persuasion. But they can't convict him, because he hasn't committed a crime, but he has an entire room completely segregated with newspaper clippings of obituaries of all the people that he's talked into killing themselves."

Lastly, readers of Ministry will also learn of Al's longtime dedication to the recently crowned 2013 Stanley Cup champions the Chicago Blackhawks. "I've seen 48 Stanley Cups in my life. I was about six or seven when I started going to games with my dad. I've seen nothing but futility until the last few years," he says of the team, who have won two Cups over the past four seasons. "Seriously, I think I'm ready to join my compatriots now, because my life has been fulfilled. I can go with Raven and Mikey [Scaccia] and have a band in heaven, because I'm completely fulfilled."

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