Ministry is an American rock band founded in 1981 by Al Jourgensen in Chicago, Illinois. Originally a synth-pop outfit, Ministry's sound changed as they became one of the pioneers of industrial metal in the late 1980s. The band's lineup has frequently changed throughout its history, with the exception of Jourgensen who is the band's main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. Notable musicians who have contributed to the band's studio or live activities include vocalists Nivek Ogre, Chris Connelly and Burton C. Bell, guitarists Mike Scaccia and Tommy Victor, bassists Paul Barker, Paul Raven, Jason Christopher, Tony Campos and Paul D'Amour, drummers Bill Rieflin, Martin Atkins, Rey Washam and Roy Mayorga, keyboardist John Bechdel, and rappers/producers DJ Swamp and Arabian Prince.
Ministry attained commercial success in the late 1980s and early 1990s with three of their studio albums: The Land of Rape and Honey , The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste and Psalm 69 , with the former of the two certified gold and the latter certified platinum by the RIAA. The 1996 follow-up album, Filth Pig, was also critically acclaimed but did not repeat the success of its predecessors; the album did, however, earn Ministry its highest chart position on the Billboard 200, peaking at number nineteen. The band has been nominated for six Grammy Awards and has performed at several notable music festivals, including participating in the second annual Lollapalooza tour in 1992, co-headlining Big Day Out in 1995 and performing at Wacken Open Air thrice .
Jourgensen dissolved Ministry in 2008 after 27 years of recording and performing, stating that they would never reunite. However, the band announced a reunion in August 2011, and has released three more studio albums since then: Relapse , From Beer to Eternity and AmeriKKKant .
Ministry's origins date to 1978, when Jourgensen moved from Denver to Chicago to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was introduced to the local underground scene by his then-girlfriend Shannon Rose Riley, and in 1979 he replaced Tom Hoffmann on guitars in Special Affect, a post-punk group which featured vocalist Frank Nardiello , drummer Harry Rushakoff and bassist Marty Sorenson. Following Special Affect's split in 1980, Jourgensen formed a short-lived band called The Silly Carmichaels, which featured members of The Imports and played two shows.
In 1981, Jourgensen met Jim Nash and Danny Flesher, co-founders and co-owners of the indie record label and shop Wax Trax! Records who recommended him as a touring guitarist for Divine. After playing a few concerts with the latter, Jourgensen began to write and record songs in his apartment, using a newly-bought ARP Omni synthesizer, a drum machine, and a reel-to-reel tape recorder. He presented a demo to Jim Nash, who suggested Jourgensen record a single and form a touring band, which Jourgensen decided to call Ministry.
The first line-up of Ministry consisted of keyboardists Robert Roberts and John Davis, bassist Sorenson, and drummer Stephen George; Jourgensen claimed he didn't want to perform vocals, but decided to do so after he auditioned several singers "who all sucked." Nash purchased recording sessions at Hedden West studios which resulted in a twelve-inch single featuring "I'm Falling" and instrumental track "Primental" on the A-side, with the song "Cold Life" on the B-side. The record was co-produced by Jay O'Roarke and Iain Burgess and released in late 1981 on Wax Trax! in the US. In March 1982, the single was licensed by British label Situation Two, with "Cold Life" as the A-side.
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