The mere fact that Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen can even remember his past given the decades of substance abuse (alcohol, pot, speed, acid, heroin and everything in between) is a testament to the resiliency of the brain. He was even acid king Timothy Leary’s genuine pig for a while (and that’s not hyperbole. He was literally fed acid by Leary who would study the effects). Given all that, it’s not surprising then that Jourgensen’s memoir is so damn entertaining.
Regardless of whether or not you were a fan of Ministry or Jourgensen’s other group, Revolting Cocks, it’s hard not to pull up a chair and listen to Uncle Al detailing the almost always ugly, but still fascinating life he’s lead. It kind of makes the average rock star bios read like Dr. Seuss in comparison.
Though certainly dark, there are plenty of amusing details throughout the book, like the hazing of a young Trent Reznor or Arista President Clive Davis having the Thompson Twins call a young Jourgensen to tell him to quit fighting the label boss and start churning out synthy pop music for fame and fortune.
As expected from someone who has ingested as many substances as Jourgensen there are certainly some discrepancies to his stories (the divergent accounts and missed details are apparent when Wiederhorn interviews those close to the musician), but that does little to make the book less engaging. Everyone from Dead Kennedy’s founder Jello Biafri to Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers weigh in on life with Jourgensen.
Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen with Jon Wiederhorn/Hardcover/336 pages/Da Capo Press/2013