When George Bush the elder was in the Oval Office in 1992, industrial metal band Ministry released Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed & the Way to Suck Eggs, an unrelenting, scathing album rife with hardcore beats, crunching guitar riffs, distorted vocals and political sound bites. Now that Bush’s son is in the White House, Ministry have birthed Houses of the Molé, a disc that parallels the fury and intensity of Psalm 69.
“This is kind of like Psalm 70,” singer Al Jourgensen quipped from his ranch in New Mexico. “It has twice the protein of Psalm 69, but half the carbs. We have a saying: ’When Democrats are in office, Ministry albums suck.’ So, we’re waiting for Jeb Bush to run next time, and then we’ll get all pissed off all over again.”
He’s clearly joking, but there’s some truth hiding within Jourgensen’s wit. Last year’s Animositisomina was pretty harsh and cantankerous for sure, however Ministry’s
two prior albums, 1999’s The Dark Side of the Spoon and 1995’s Filth Pig, were lumbering and somewhat monotonous, shattering the momentum the band achieved with Psalm 69.
“I don’t know if it has a lot to do with Clinton being in office and the economy being good,” Jourgensen said. “I had a really bad addiction problem, and there was more and more computer stuff on the records because I was basically in a walking coma, and [bassist and programmer] Paul [Barker] was doing his bit.”
There are a few reasons Houses of the Molé (out June 22) is redolent of vintage Ministry, but the real catalyst was Barker’s departure from the band in January (see “Founding Bassist Paul Barker Leaves Ministry” ). After he left, Jourgensen abandoned the computer as a songwriting tool, choosing instead to create by jamming in the studio with guitarist Mike Scaccia (who played on Psalm 69), bassist John Monte and drummer Mark Baker. Also, the naysayers who predicted that Barker’s absence would spell the end of the band irked Jourgensen.
“F— that,” Jourgensen barked. “I hired him into the band. He was just like an employee. Ministry is me. He played bass and programmed the computers, I did everything else. So it was a new challenge, and it was really invigorating [to do everything without him for the first time in 18 years].”
To emphasize Ministry’s anti-Bush stance, almost every song on the record starts with a ’W': “No ’W,’ ” “Wrong,” Waiting,” “Worm,” “Walrus,” etc. “With the Bushes, the more things change, the more they stay the same,” Jourgensen said. “This is a very critical election, and these are our protest songs. We ain’t no Dixie Chicks, man. We’re not gonna say, ’Well, I kinda don’t like Bush’ and then apologize for saying it. We hate this f—er.”
For the first time, with Houses of the Molé Ministry will put their politics on the road. The band recently joined forces with Punkvoter.com, and when it tours the U.S. in August it’ll travel with anti-Bush literature and set up a booth with the hope of signing up 100,000 fans to vote.
“I’m doing this because I see the guy still hanging strong in the polls when it’s the most corrupt oligarchy ever to run this country,” Jourgensen said. “Bush is really taking the world and throwing it into the toilet, and he’s got his hand on the flusher right now. There comes a time when you just gotta do your part, and if everyone just did a little, there’s no way he would have won the last election. This is a mission, and when I’m done, hopefully I’ll be able to put a banner above us saying, ’Mission accomplished.’ ”