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Al Jourgensen

Al Jourgensen

Cuban-American singer-songwriter, musician and music producer
Al Jourgensen
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Cuban-American singer-songwriter, musician and music producer
Is Singer Business executive Music executive Musician Banjoist Composer Deejay Record producer Guitarist Saxophonist Mandolinist Businessperson Heavy metal musician
From United States of America Cuba
Type Business Music
Gender male
Birth 9 October 1958, Havana, Havana Province, Cuba
Age 62 years
Star sign Libra
Education
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Northern Colorado
Genre:
Industrial metal
Instruments:
Guitar
Voice
Peoplepill ID al-jourgensen
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The details

Biography

Alain David Jourgensen (born Alejandro Ramírez Casas; October 9, 1958) is a Cuban-American singer-songwriter, musician and music producer. Closely related with the independent record label Wax Trax! Records, Jourgensen has an active musical career that spans four decades, and is best known as the frontman and lyricist of the industrial metal band Ministry, which he founded in 1981 and of which he remains the only constant member. He was also primary musician of several Ministry-related projects, such as Revolting Cocks, Lard, Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters. He has also produced and/or recorded with numerous other artists, including The Reverend Horton Heat, Prong, Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, The Blackouts, Alan Vega, Iggy Pop, Adrian Sherwood, Jello Biafra and others. Jourgensen is regarded as being one of the most prominent figures of industrial music, influencing numerous other groups and musicians, both in alternative and industrial-associated acts.

Born in Havana shortly before the Cuban Revolution of 1959, Jourgensen moved to the United States with his family at age of three, and was raised mainly in Chicago and Breckenridge, Colorado. He developed an interest in music at a young age, and was involved in several short-lived bands, as well as briefly performing in the backing band of drag performer Divine. Jourgensen formed Ministry in 1981 in Chicago and received significant attention from music press regarding the band's 1983 debut studio album, With Sympathy. Jourgensen's subsequent releases in the 1980s, most prominently Ministry's The Land of Rape and Honey (1988) and The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste (1989), showcased his stylistic transition; in the early 1990s, he achieved mainstream success with Ministry's fifth studio album, Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs (1992). The next few years were marked by publicity surrounding Jourgensen's substance abuse which negatively affected his creative output and resulted in a period of severe depression; during this time, Jourgensen and Ministry appeared in the 2001 Steven Spielberg film A.I. Artificial Intelligence. In 2005, Jourgensen established his own record label, 13th Planet Records, through which several Ministry records, among others, were released until the early 2010s. He published his autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels ... co-authored with Jon Wiederhorn, in 2013.

Early life

Alejandro Ramírez Casas was born in Havana on October 9, 1958, the son of Margarita "Maggie" Brouwer (born c. 1942) and Gualberto Ramiro Casas (born c. 1936), and the grandson of Julio Brouwer, a biologist. Jourgensen's extended family has Dutch and Spanish heritage. In 1961, following the fall of Fulgencio Batista's regime and rise of Fidel Castro to power, his family relocated to Florida. Soon after in 1964, Margarita Brouwer married Ed Jourgensen—a stock car driver and mechanic for Formula One driver Dan Gurney—and adopted his surname for herself and her son.

Jourgensen was raised in Chicago, Illinois and Breckenridge, Colorado, and was a fan of artists such as Liberace, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, Can, Kraftwerk, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Kitty Wells, Buck Owens, George Jones, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Miles Davis.

Jourgensen eventually attended the University of Illinois - Chicago, after briefly enrolling at both the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Colorado. He worked as a radio DJ after college until he decided to pursue a career as a professional musician.

Professional life

Ministry

Jourgensen formed Ministry in 1981 after leaving Special Affect, a new wave/synthpop band (notably including Frankie Nardiello, founding member (as Groovie Mann) of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and drummer Harry Rushakoff of Concrete Blonde). Early singles by Ministry and Jourgensen's other projects were released on Wax Trax! Records. He also produced Skinny Puppy's Rabies album. During that time, Jourgensen befriended Nivek Ogre, who later toured with Ministry.

The band broke into the mainstream with 1992's Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs album. Its opening track, "N.W.O.", was nominated for a 1993 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance, losing to Nine Inch Nails' "Wish". However, its next album, Filth Pig (1996), divided their fan base, leading to a commercial decline that became evident when Warner Bros. Records dropped them from the label in 2001.

Ministry's next albums, Rio Grande Blood (2006) and The Last Sucker (2007), as well as the 2006 Revolting Cocks album Cocked and Loaded, were released on Jourgensen's new record label, 13th Planet Records, which he formed after falling out with the mainstream agendas of major industry labels.

At the specific request of director Stanley Kubrick, Jourgensen appeared with Ministry in the film A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. He related his conversation with Kubrick in an interview:

Well, first of all, I hung up on him. I thought it was a crank call. His secretary was calling and I was like, 'Yeah, right.' Click. And then he called back personally and then talked to me, and I was just freaked out. I mean, who wouldn't be freaked out? Here's this eccentric American God living in the countryside of England, and he's calling me up in Austin, Texas, and saying he wants me to do the music for his film and he wants me to be in his film and he's famous and all that. I didn't even believe it.

Ministry continued its involvement with the film project after Kubrick's death, and Jourgensen revealed that after initial tension with Steven Spielberg, partly due to Jourgensen's prank when he claimed being told that "A.I." stood for "Anal Intruder" and threatening to walk off production because it wasn't a porn film, he and Spielberg enjoyed a friendly relationship, with two compositions appearing on the soundtrack: "What About Us" and "Dead Practice".

A number of his songs also appear in other films, such as Wicked Lake (2008)—produced by Fever Dreams and ZP Studios—for which he composed the entire soundtrack that was released on his own 13th Planet record label—he also makes a small appearance in the film as an art school teacher.

In a November 2008 issue of Hustler Magazine, Jourgensen announced that Ministry was officially finished, as the band "[took] up so much time" and releasing new albums was difficult. He also explained that he was responsible for six other bands and could complete seven albums within a year when he was not working on new Ministry material. However, despite Jourgensen's insistence that Ministry would never return, a reunion was announced on August 7, 2011. A new album, entitled Relapse, was released on March 26, 2012.

At his 57th birthday listening party in Chicago he announced a new project called, SMM or Surgical Meth Machine. In an interview with In The Loop Magazine, Jourgensen stated, "I can't wait to get this record out. If you're a fan of Ministry, you're gonna freak out on this. It's got the whole range of my career as a musician in it even sound of earlier stuff from the beginning."

In 2016 March, Jourgensen noted he has a project with Arabian Prince; this collaboration was later confirmed for a new Ministry album.

Revolting Cocks

Revolting Cocks, also known as RevCo, is an American industrial rock band that began as a musical side-project for Richard 23 of Front 242, Luc van Acker, and Jourgensen. The band took their name after being involved in a fight in a Chicago bar in 1983: Jourgensen, Richard 23 and Van Acker, celebrating the formation of their new band with a few drinks, ended the evening in a brawl, with bar stools thrown through the windows. As he ejected the trio, the owner—a man who Jourgensen recalls was named Dess—shouted, "I'm calling the police! You guys are a bunch of revolting cocks!" The trio decided to use the name for their band.

The band have changed lineups several times. RevCo currently features Jourgensen (guitars, keyboards, programming, background vocals, producer), Josh Bradford (vocals, background vocals), Sin Quirin (guitars, bass, keyboards) and Clayton Worbeck (keyboards, programming, mixing, bass). Their seventh album Sex-O Olympic-O, which was produced by Jourgensen at his studio, was released on his 13th Planet label in March 2008. The follow-up album Got Cock? was released in March 2010 on the same label. A remix album of Got Cock?, titled Got Mixxx?, was released in 2011.

Other bands and projects

During the late 1980s, Jourgensen started a short-lived side project named 1000 Homo DJs, under the pseudonym Buck Satan. 1000 Homo DJs released two singles, including a cover of Black Sabbath's "Supernaut." Also in 1989, Jourgensen was involved in Acid Horse, a collaboration between the members of Ministry and Cabaret Voltaire. In 2015, Jourgensen announced that he started "a speed metal project" named Surgical Meth Machine with engineer and longtime collaborator Sam D'Ambruoso.

Production work

Jourgensen and his Ministry bandmate Paul Barker worked as a music production team under the names Hypo Luxa and Hermes Pan, producing their own work as well as other Wax Trax! Records acts. Jourgensen also produced music for Reverend Horton Heat, Skinny Puppy, Dessau, Skrew, Rigor Mortis, The Blackouts, and DethRok. Jourgensen's recording complex for the 13th Planet label was located within his former home in El Paso, Texas, U.S.

Musicianship

Jourgensen is known for playing a multitude of instruments throughout his professional career. It includes guitars, bass, violin, banjo, keyboards, piano, pedal steel guitar, trumpets and drums to name a few. However, he claims he is "not really good at any of them." He said, "I'm jack of all trades and master of none. But I can collage bits and pieces together musically."

Jourgensen's singing style has varied throughout the years. On Ministry's early releases such as With Sympathy and Twitch, he sang with a fake British accent, which he regrets. Inspired by The 13th Floor Elevators, Jourgensen started utilizing vocal effects beginning with The Land of Rape and Honey to distort his voice using Eventide. In 2006, starting with Rio Grande Blood, Jourgensen switched to a more thrash metal approach.

Personal life

Relationships and family

Al Jourgensen at the Astoria, London during 2004, promoting Houses of the Molé.

Jourgensen was married to Patty Marsh from 1984 to 1995 and the relationship produced one daughter. In 2002, he married Angelina Lukacin. In July 2014, he announced that they were divorced.

Jourgensen's autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen, was released in July 2013.

In 2015, Jourgensen moved to Los Angeles.

Legal and health issues

In 1995, police raided Ministry's Texas headquarters and Jourgensen was arrested for possession of heroin. He received a five-year probation sentence. Jourgensen was dependent upon heroin for twenty years. Jourgensen kicked his heavy drug (heroin, methadone, crack, pills) habit, and as of 2019, he limited his intake to beer, marijuana, and psilocybin mushrooms.

Jourgensen almost lost his arm and foot in two separate incidents, the first due to a spider bite, the second the result of a hypodermic needle wound.

Body art

Throughout the years, Jourgensen has amassed a large number of tattoos. In 2012, he underwent facial piercings after a bet with his daughter; she called him a "pussy" for not having any piercings while Jourgensen called her the same thing for not having any tattoos. They then decided to have their tattoos and piercings done respectively to create a "pact." He had 16 facial piercings done in one sitting.

Discography

with Ministry

with Revolting Cocks

Date of Release Title Label
1985 No Devotion (12") Wax Trax!
1986 Big Sexy Land Wax Trax!
1986 "You Often Forget" (12") Wax Trax!
1988 You Goddamned Son of a Bitch - Live Wax Trax!
1986 Stainless Steel Providers (12") Wax Trax!
1990 Beers, Steers, and Queers Wax Trax!
1993 Linger Ficken' Good Sire/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records
2006 Cocked and Loaded 13th Planet Records/Megaforce Records
2007 Cocktail Mixxx 13th Planet Records/Megaforce Records
2009 Sex-O Olympic-O 13th Planet Records/Megaforce Records
2009 Sex-O MiXXX-O 13th Planet Records/Megaforce Records
2010 Got Cock? 13th Planet Records/Megaforce Records
2011 Got Mixx? 13th Planet Records/Megaforce Records

with Lard

Date of Release Title Label
1989 The Power of Lard Alternative Tentacles
1990 The Last Temptation of Reid Alternative Tentacles
1997 Pure Chewing Satisfaction Alternative Tentacles
2000 70's Rock Must Die Alternative Tentacles

Other releases

Date of Release Band Title Label
1987 Pailhead "I Will Refuse" b/w "No Bunny" Wax Trax!
1988 Pailhead Trait (EP) Wax Trax!
1989 Acid Horse No Name, No Slogan (12") Wax Trax!
2011 Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters Bikers Welcome Ladies Drink Free 13th Planet Records/AFM Soulfood Records
2016 Surgical Meth Machine Surgical Meth Machine Nuclear Blast Records

Featured releases

Date of Release Band Title Label
1981 Special Affect Too Much Soft Living None (Special Affect Music)
1983 Alan Vega Saturn Strip Elektra
1989 Skinny Puppy Rabies Nettwerk
1992 Skrew Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame Metal Blade
1994 The Reverend Horton Heat Liquor in the Front Sub Pop / Interscope
2010 Front Line Assembly Improvised Electronic Device Metropolis
2015 Coal Chamber Rivals Napalm
2018 Beauty In Chaos Finding Beauty In Chaos None (Bandcamp)
2020 Static-X Project Regeneration Otsego Entertainment Group

Solo Releases

Date of Release Title

Label

2010 Alien Christmas/It's Always Christmas Time 13th Planet Records

Bibliography

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 02 Oct 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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References
https://www.loudersound.com/features/my-life-story-ministry-s-al-jourgensen
http://noisey.vice.com/blog/ministrys-last-stand-brings-al-jourgensen-from-beer-to-eternity
https://consequenceofsound.net/2014/08/list-em-carefully-top-11-influential-minds-of-industrial-metal/5/
http://loudwire.com/ministry-al-jourgensen-rehab-alcohol-abuse/
http://noisey.vice.com/en_au/blog/before-they-were-metal
http://daily.redbullmusicacademy.com/2014/03/wax-trax-feature
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-12-29/entertainment/8903210863_1_jourgensen-william-rieflin-martin-atkins
https://books.google.com/books?id=yGjqAHJs488C&pg=PT84#v=onepage&q&f=false
http://www.laweekly.com/music/to-get-his-weed-card-ministrys-al-jourgensen-said-he-was-invisible-and-it-worked-6806218
http://www.metalstorm.net/bands/band.php?band_id=202&bandname=Ministry
http://articles.latimes.com/1992-08-02/entertainment/ca-5555_1_al-jourgensen
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