It just doesn't seem ... possible ... that Ministry is nominated for a Grammy (Best Metal Performance on "The Great Satan" from 2005's compilation disc Rantology). Surely if Alain Jourgensen were already in the grave he has spent so many years spooning the dirt for, he'd be spinning in it, for Ministry is, if nothing else, a holdout in the Industrial Nation's war against The Man.
An oddity amid oddities industrial music is disproportionately populated with Northern European types drawn from the seed of Belgium's Luc Van Acker and Front 242 Jourgensen was born in Cuba, arriving in Miami in the early Sixties and bouncing around the States until deciding the Midwest was the proper vector for his percolating, displaced rage.
Ministry's first few releases a batch of hastily mastered club remixes, With Sympathy, and Twitch limned the early Eighties with a typical yet distinctive form of synthesized, syncopated New Wave. But Al wasn't interested in playing "Doctor, Doctor" with the Thompson Twins. In "Over the Shoulder," he folds an omelet over shards of glass and nails for a faithless lover.
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When I met Alain a decade ago, I was too petrified with awe to really say much; he was visiting with my brother-in-law, Jeff Carey, one of the founding DJs of Atlanta's Masquerade, and they were getting ready to set sail on a deep-sea fishing expedition departing from Fort Lauderdale. I asked him what an industrial dude was thinking, going out in the sun all day in search of marlin and tarpon.
"We all long to return to the sea," he jokingly told me (perplexingly handing out a pamphlet about hepatitis C awareness). "I don't remember much about Cuba or Florida. It's funny, though. Whenever I'm in Florida, I have to be on the water. And whenever I'm in the ocean, I look at the horizon to see if Cuba appears."