Ministry's Al JourgensenPhil Parmet

Someone Paid Ministry’s Al Jourgensen $1,000 To Sign A Copy Of “With Sympathy”


Ministry vocalist Al Jourgensen has never particularly been proud of the band’s poppy 1983 debut album, “With Sympathy“. Such is his disdain for the record that his refusal to sign it for fans over the years has become a bit infamous. In a recent chat with Rolling Stone, he said of the album:

“Some people like it, and good on them. It took me years to like stop loathing that album or distancing myself from it. It is what it is. I’m glad I did that record because then I realized [music] is not all it’s cracked up to be. You’re 21 … you sign a record deal because they find you talented in some way, shape or form. And then as soon as you sign to them, they tell you exactly what to write in their image, who to work with, what to wear, what to do, you know. I did the best I could, living somebody else’s dream.”

A past statement saw Jourgensen joke that he would sign the album for $1,000 and it turns out someone called his bluff. He spoke of that while further discussing the outing:

“I don’t think it was Ministry! I had songs written back then, which later wound up on ‘Twitch‘ and ‘Land Of Rape And Honey‘. We were doing those songs in like, 1982. And then we signed to that label and they said, “No, none of that stuff’s going on the record.”

I really don’t have anything to do with it, except for the fact that I executed it, and at the behest of other people. But my name’s on it. So I do a meet-and-greet or something, and people will come in with these obscure bootlegs. And I’ll sign everything – but I will not sign that record.

I started this new thing, like, just as a joke I put on the Internet one time – I said, “Don’t bother bringing these records unless you’ve got a thousand bucks in your pocket – I’m not going to sign that record.” Sure enough, somebody came by with a thousand dollars in twenties and asked me to sign it immediately. I donated the money to a charity event in Chicago called Rock for Kids. So now I occasionally get a thousand dollars and donate it to charity. That’s the only way I’ll sign it.”

In the same chat, he also spoke about his current feelings on the band’s platinum selling 1992 album “Psalm 69“, with turned 25 this year:

“I didn’t like [Psalm 69] for a lot of years just because of the difficulty of making that record. It was a real pain in the ass. There’s a lot of shit going on. But I guess if you’re a mother and you have a difficult child, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be, like, “I hate that kid forever” because they caused you a lot of pain. My stance towards it has softened over the years.

It took me years to learn that because it was a nightmare to make. A lot of that was internal band drama and substance abuse. But time heals all wounds, and now I can appreciate it. Now it can vote and drink and drive. You know, Land of Rape and Honey turned 30 this year too. My babies are growing up! Fuck, I’m getting really old.”

You can find more on his excess during the album’s sessions here. Of course, with Ministry‘s fourteenth studio album “AmeriKKKant” headed for a March 09th release date, much of the discussion focused on that. You can read more about that, his love of marijuana and more over at Rolling Stone.