Ministry’s leader Al Jourgensen has officially disowned this song and the 1983 album it came from (“With Sympathy”) for years. According to Jourgensen, he was “forced” by then-label Arista Records to push his music in a synth-pop direction. I’m still not quite sure why the American Jourgensen adopted what sounds like an Australian accent here. It sounds like Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett fronting Depeche Mode. But I’m embarrassed to say, it works. OK, I like it a lot in fact, even though I really dig the extremely hard-edged direction Ministry is best known for. Yes, it’s cheesy, but this is very very good cheese.
Time to wake up! This is the lead-off track from Lard’s “The Last Temptation of Reid” album from 1990 and was later featured in the prison riot scene in Oliver Stone’s 1994 “Natural Born Killers” (though, you’ll hear more of it in the director’s cut which features a longer, more violent version of the prison riot among other scenes). Lard was a collaborative side project consisting of Al Jourgensen of Ministry and Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys … as well as others, including other members of Ministry.
The single of this masterpiece collaboration between Ministry and the Butthole Surfers’ lead singer Gibby Haynes allegedly sold 1.5 million copies. Yet the song never got any higher than #19 on Billboard’s “Modern Rock Tracks” chart. Forget about the Billboard Hot 100. Absolutely no chart activity there. And this was during the era of Soundscan … which linked chart positions to actual sales. Something tells me those dang Billboard charts are rigged. Ah, who cares? This song … and video … are classics. However, what I would have given to hear Casey Kasem on American Top 40 sandwich this song between Bryan Adams and Amy Grant and come up with “fun” trivia about the completely debauched Ministry and Gibby Haynes.
El Duce was the lead singer of the debauched punk-metal band The Mentors. They became notorious in the mid-1980s during the Congressional hearings over wicked rock music and were called “the worst of the worst” of all bands recording at the time. Lyrics from their song “Golden Showers” are part of the Congressional record: “Bend up and smell my anal vapor / Your face is my toilet paper.” Sorry, but that s–t is funny!
Here are some of the highlights about Ministry’s Al Jourgensen’s brief friendship with Duce during the late 1980s/early-mid 1990s. Considering how debauched Jourgensen’s autobiography gets, the fact that Duce outdebauched Jourgensen is really saying something.
1. Al Jourgensen first met El Duce on the floor of a bathroom in San Francisco, naked from the waist down, lying in a pack of Dorito chips and vomit. Duce announced to Jourgensen that he had gone to high school with Jourgensen’s drum player. Duce then pissed all over himself, threw up, and passed out in his vomit, urine, and Doritos. Jourgensen helped Duce get himself together and take him to reunite with his drummer. When his drummer saw Duce, he almost stormed out and bailed on the show. Apparently, Duce allegedly attacked his drummer’s sister.
2. Duce tried to have sex with Jourgensen’s mom … in front of Jourgensen’s stepdad. Duce said, “Hey, that’s a pretty hot little b—h,” tackled Jourgensen’s mom, and tried to hump her. Jourgensen had to stop him by breaking a beer bottle over Duce’s head.
3. Duce used to go into Walgreens and steal Listerine and Scope because they had alcohol in them. Unfortunately, he would drink the mouthwash in the store, pass out, and then get arrested for theft.
4. Duce got so drunk one night he passed out. Jourgensen and his bandmates put lipstick on him and dressed him in women’s lingerie. They left him underneath the ice machine of the hotel. When the maids discovered him, they freaked out and started hitting him with a mop and spraying him with cleaner. Duce looked down at himself and said “What are you hitting me for? I look godd–n good today!”
5. Duce and his band the Mentors got paid $20,000 in beer to record an album. They got so messed up they never got halfway through a song before passing out. To add insult to injury, they recorded the album on a microcassette (the type of tape that used to be in answering machines) and turned in the microcassette to the record label. I don’t believe that album was ever released.
This clip is from the infamous Nick Broomfield documentary “Kurt & Courtney” where Duce claimed that Courtney Love offered him $50,000 to “whack” Cobain. While Cobain conspiracy theorists believe that Duce’s subsequent death in 1997 was due to his admission of this plot, it was likely due to the types of things that happen when you’re a degenerate drunk and proud of it. Duce got demolished by a train when he was wasted and tried to play “chicken” with an oncoming train to impress some fans. Unfortunately, his leg got stuck on the track and realizing his death was imminent, continued to “Sieg Heil” the train before it demolished him.
By the way, Jourgensen’s autobiography “Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen” is simultaneously hilarious and horrifying. It’s one of the wildest rock and roll memoirs ever written and makes Motley Crue’s “The Dirt” look like “The Bridges of Madison County.”
From the 1990 album “The Last Temptation of Reid” comes the Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra and Ministry’s Al Jourgensen project from hell, Lard. This track is called “Can God Fill Teeth?” Alternately funny … and annoying … but in a good way. I always liked this song, even though most of it sounds like a cat being stretched in two. Lard was thoughtful enough to also include a cover of “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha – Haa!” on the same album, but “Teeth” makes that one sound like the Carpenters.