There were plenty of strange visitors dropping in on Ministry while the band was working on its new album, Houses of the Mole, in a studio in El Paso, Texas. Some got a little drunk and crazy and acted like they weren't from this planet. And, if you believe frontman Al Jourgensen, some really weren't from this planet.
"We had a couple of visitations that were pretty interesting," he said. "There were huge delta formations of spacecrafts making unfeasible, unbelievable maneuvers up in the sky. One of the little gray guys even paid us a visit one night."
Considering Jourgensen's drug-addled past, you might write his sightings off as acid-fueled hallucinations, and assume that he's returned to past haunts after the sober creation of 2003's bludgeoning Animositisomina. But Al insists that he's still clean, and that guitarist Mike Scaccia can vouch for the nosey alien.
"Mikey woke up startled and sat up, and the alien got even more freaked out than Mikey and went hauling ass out the door," Jourgensen said. "The dogs started barking, then the thing jumped up on the roof, scampered around and jumped off like something out of the movie 'Signs.' "
Stranger still, this encounter was Jourgensen's third run-in with beings from another world. The first took place when he was 5 and living in Havana, Cuba. "It was right before Christmas, and I thought, being of Spanish heritage, that I was being visited by the three wise men," he said. "I was in bed, and I saw these three really skinny, white-bearded guys. The next morning, my grandmother noticed I had this green triangle on my neck. It was like a tattoo, and it went away in a week, but it just freaked her out.
"The other encounter was when I was 17, but that would take about an hour to describe."
Houses of the Mole, Ministry's fastest, most acerbic record in more than a decade, comes out June 22 (see "In President Bush, Ministry Find Both A Monster And A Muse"). The album can be heard in its entirety in streaming audio on www.VH1.com. Jourgensen worked on Houses with Scaccia, guitarist Brian Kehoe, bassist John Monte (replacing longtime member Paul Barker, who quit in January), keyboardist Darryl James and ex-Fear drummer Mark Baker. The musicians are currently in the studio — with ex-Skatenigs singer Phil Owen and Frankie Nardiello from My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult — working on a new album by Ministry side project the Revolting Cocks.
"It's pretty f---ing juvenile," Jourgensen laughed. "There's a cover of [Jimi Hendrix's] 'Purple Haze' on there called 'Purple Head.' Other songs are 'Prunetang,' 'Too Small to Taste' and 'Beat It Till You're Tired.' It's so childish because we're having a gas. We're 45-year-old juvenile delinquents. It's good work if you can get it."