Artist Spotlight: Jourgensen / Barker / Connelly / Rieflin (or; The Ministry Industrial Complex) [Part 9 of 10]

Part 1 here. Part 2 here. Part 3 here. Part 4 here. Part 5 here. Part 6 here. Part 7 here. Part 8 here.

33 & 1/3 Wax Trax! Retrospectacle

On January 10, 2011, there was an announcement for an anniversary celebration of Wax Trax! Records, a concert for charity with proceeds going to Center For Halsted, which is an LBGT community outreach center. The concert spanned April 15-17, and featured performances from My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Front 242, former KMFDM members Raymond Watts (Pig), En Esch, and Gunter Shultz, and Paul Barker, Chris Connelly, Duane Buford, and Luc Van Acker.  The trio was going to perform as The Cocks, but someone had lawyers get involved, and they had to nix the name. Al Jourgensen and Sascha Konietzko were not invited to participate, and when Konietzko offered to perform, the event organizers declined. The pair released a statement together stating they were not invited to participate, but approve of the charity (Connelly said that Konietzko was back in Berlin having “DAS TANTRUM”).

Fix: The Ministry Movie (2011) / Paul Barker – Fix This!!! (2012)

Released the day before the Retrospectacle, Fix: The Ministry Movie was released. The film is a document of the Filth Pig tour, interspliced with interviews of other musicians discussing the band’s influence. “When you’re in the middle of an endeavor you’re focusing on getting the job done,” Barker said, “So realizing that our peers were paying attention to what we were doing and appreciating what we did at the time, it’s mildly surprising.”

Jourgensen, on the other hand, was not psyched about the film. Jourgensen sued to keep the film from being released, something about a dispute concerning finances. Eventually this dispute was resolved, but the hold up only allowed for more musician interviews.

“It was tough to watch, it felt like I got kicked in the stomach,” Barker told Rolling Stone. “I’m not interested in reliving that era and having it presented to me, that was historically interesting and I’m happy to put it there and whatever, but it’s tough.”

I’ve never been able to see the movie, just a clip here and there, but what it led to was much more interesting. Paul Barker released Fix This!!! in 2012. It’s a kind of unofficial soundtrack to the movie, but you know, none of these songs are actually in the movie. It’s like when it says “Music inspired by the Mortal Kombat”. Anyway, the album is primarily Paul Barker tracks, or songs he remixed. Barker has collaborations with Connelly (two or them), Ogre, Taylor Momsen (The Pretty Reckless), and Alexis SF Marshall (Daughters). But my favorite, is the USSA track “Rows Upon Rows”, which is better than anything that was on USSA’s The Spoils.

Ministry – Relapse (2012)

So, of course, Jourgensen wasn’t going to leave his cash cow for long. After a three-year hiatus, Jourgensen announced Ministry was going to play Wacken Open Air 2012, which was released as a live album later.

Jourgensen has even admitted that he wasn’t really feeling this album at the time of its making, so what is to make us be invested in it? He did have Gwar’s Casey Orr play bass on one track, but Tony Campos (Static-X) handles the rest. Guitars are played by the usual suspects, Mike Scaccia, Sin Quirin, and Tommy Victor (Prong). There are also vocals by Angie Jourgensen, which no one asked for. Honestly, it’s more of the industrial thrash he’s been trading in since Barker’s unceremonious departure, but the drum machine is really holding it back. It sounds pretty flat (you would think someone who has worked with drum machines and electronic music for 30 years would get a better sound out of the technology), and the songs are speedy simply for speed’s sake. I like thrash, I like industrial, I like speed, but somehow, it’s all less than the sum of its parts. There is a cover of S.O.D.’s “United Forces”, but all the fun is sucked out of it.

Also, the cover art is tasteless and gross. I know Jourgensen thinks it’s clever, but, no.

On December 23, 2012, guitarist Mike Scaccia was on stage playing a reunion show with Rigor Mortis, when he died of a heart attack.

Ministry – From Beer to Eternity (2013)

I mean, c’mon. This cover is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen, it’s so cheap and ugly, and it’s not even humorous. This time, Ministry was Jourgensen, Campos, Quirin, and a drum machine, but Prong drummer Aaron Rossi does live drums on 3 tracks. R. Lee Emery rip off Sgt. Major is on three tracks, which is three tracks too many, and Angie Jourgensen does “Executive Producing”. The album also has the last guitar work from Scaccia.

It’s… not very good. Here, listen for yourself:

Cocksure – KKEP (2014) / Cocksure – TVMALSV (2014) / Cocksure – TKO Mindfuck 12” (2014) / Chris Connelly – Decibels From Heart (2015) / Cocksure – Corporate_Sting (2015)

After the pseudo-Revolting Cocks reunion at Retrospectacle, Connelly teamed up with Acumen Nation member Jason Novak, with an idea to continue on the debauchery of RevCo. Connelly said, “It’s all about the humor and the characters, the debauchery and the context of the debauchery, the misdeeds, the incredible and impossible situations the characters create and find themselves in – they are usually all very stupid with terrible ideas and godawful decision-making skills. But this is a world, my world, that I created over the years. So, when I write, I get into character and this belligerent asshole comes out… or maybe I am a belligerent asshole with a low I.Q.”

Cocksure has been crazy prolific. First, they released the EP KKEP, the non-album songs “Klusterfuck Kulture”, “Assault On Cocksure 13”, and an alternate mix of “Guilt, Speed, and Carbon” which would be on the full album release.

The full album, TVMALSV, was released by Metropolis Records the same year. It’s lot less “rock” than RevCo, but it is a lot more industrial, electronic, and dub. When Julia Nash resurrected Wax Trax! Records, the first release was a twelve-inch single for “TKO Mindfuck”, which also features Front 242 / former RevCo member Richard 23.

Cocksure quickly released their second album, Corporate_Sting, in 2015. The album is more of the same, picking up where the last album left off, but a little bit noisier. It also features a cover of Australian band Severed Heads’ “Harold and Cindy Hospital”.

Also, in 2015, Connelly released another solo album, Decibels From Heart. The album features several duets, including with Leslie Rankine (Ruby, Pigface) and Me’Shell NdegéOcello. Truthfully, though, it’s kinds of a bore.

Lead Into Gold – Low and Slow EP (2015)

Paul Barker had recorded Low and Slow in 1991 for Wax Trax! Records, but for an unknown reason, it was shelved until 2015. This was the first Lead Into Gold release in twenty-five years.

Next week: The thrilling conclusion!