Book Review: Rock & Roll Books
Reviewed by Richard Whittaker, Fri., Dec. 6, 2013
Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensenby Al Jourgensen, with Jon Wiederhorn
Da Capo Press, 336 pp., $26.99
Industrial metal's degenerate godfather, Al Jourgensen arrives in 2013 mostly clean and eager to unload – with raw, gleeful detail – decades of debauchery that made Ministry the barbarians of Nineties rock. "Revisionist history" doesn't even scratch the surface. On Planet Al, it was on-off-on guitarist Mike Scaccia who was his great writing partner, not longtime bassist/co-producer Paul Barker. Jourgensen lionizes his dead friends and lambastes clean-living ex-members as "the book club." Deliciously mean-spirited? Maybe, but little diminishes his reputation as a genius collaborator. To quote former Revolting Cock Luc Van Acker, "The best music any of these people ever made in their career, they did with him." Brutally blunt about his own career (he calls debut LP With Sympathy "a sonic abortion"), Jourgensen benefits from Wiederhorn injecting other perspectives, cross-examining his stepfather Ed Jourgensen, Jello Biafra, and Gibby Haynes. No self-pity for his self-destruction, but when it comes to money, Jourgensen's petulant victimhood wears thin. Apparently, blowing Psalm 69's $750,000 budget on speedballs is fine, but everyone else was ripping him off. Never trust a junkie.