Two years after Ministry released their debut album, the major label synthpop LP With Sympathy, they attempted to return to their roots with 1985’s “(Every Day Is) Halloween” a single that celebrated all things goth. It’s a fairly straightforward New Wave number on which frontman Al Jourgensen ruminates on how people would stop and ask him why he’s dressed like it’s Halloween, “You look so absurd, you look so obscene.” It became something of an underground anthem, but Jourgensen abandoned it shortly after pushing the band in an industrial direction on the next year’s Twitch.
After decades of leaving it out of his set lists, Ministry played it again for the first time in more than three decades as an acoustic number, with Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro as a special guest, last year on the promotional tour for the film Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records. A recording of it will appear as a bonus seven-inch to the upcoming new book, Ministry — Prescripture: The Visual History, and Jourgensen says revisiting the song was surprisingly pleasant for him.
“Dave brought everything, and I would have never thought of doing it if I had not been prompted by him (and Dan Cleary) on their podcast,” Jourgensen tells Rolling Stone. “It’s a period of my career I never thought I would revisit, but in the end it was cathartic. After playing it a few times both in North America and in Europe on Ministry’s latest tours, I’ve come to realize what a call to arms it is for teens everywhere.”
He also enjoyed the general nostalgia of looking through Prescripture, by author Aaron Tanner. The book, due out December 6th and available for pre-order, pairs quotes from Jourgensen’s peers and admirers with photos from his personal archives. Former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra wrote the intro, and members of ZZ Top, Smashing Pumpkins, Butthole Surfers, Devo, Slayer, Megadath, and Rammstein, among many others, offer their musings on Ministry’s legacy.
“All of the passages were very flattering and at the same time somewhat embarrassing,” Jourgensen says. “But growing up seeing ZZ Top at an early age, I never thought that Billy Gibbons would be writing an eloquent quote about my band for a visual history book all these years later.”
The photos, he added, transported him back. “It was really fun seeing the photos of me and Bill Burroughs again from the ‘Just One Fix’ video shoot,” he says.
Overall, he says the book is “a snapshot of a historical time in music, which Ministry was a part of, that no longer exists as we know it today” and adds, “it’s a great book to spill your coffee on.”
But does reliving the past give him pause and make him want a do-over? “I have no regrets really,” he says. “It is what it is.”