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That Time MINISTRY's Al Jourgensen Wrote A Jingle for Shasta Soda in 1983

photo by Derick Smith

When Al Jourgensen of Ministry got the gig to sing a jingle for a television commercial extolling the "pizzazz" of Shasta Soda, he was still using the fake English accent you hear on Ministry's debut record, With Sympathy. The record, which Jourgensen has never missed an opportunity to bash, was meant to be Ministry's synthpop hot rod in the hopes they would somehow become "the next Joy Division."

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While on tour in support of the synthpop With Sympathy, Ministry opened shows for Depeche Mode, Culture Club, and Flock of Seagulls and, again, in the words of Uncle Al, he "hated every fucking minute." After being forced to make the record and tour, Jourgensen wasn't making any money according to his bed-spin inducing bio, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen. So let's just dig right into Jourgensen's thoughts on his Shasta shilling days from The Lost Gospels:

"Before Sire picked up Ministry I was writing TV and radio jingles to help support our drug habits, pay the rent, and feed the baby. I did a commercial for Shasta and some stuff for Huffy, and every time I left the studio, I wanted to kill myself. It really put into perspective what my dad had to go through, cutting off his lifelong dream to support a family. That's what I was doing, and it was horrific, but it toughened me up. If you cut me up right now and put me on a plate, I'd be some tough meat. You couldn't eat it; it would be toxic, tough, and chewy. No, there's no cannibalism with me. The deal with Huffy came to an end when I gave them this song for a bike called the Panther, and at the end of this cheesy tune, they wanted me to purr loudly into the mike. I said, 'Fuck you. Get someone else to purr. I quit.'"

If you've read Jourgensen's book, or know much about Al, you must be aware he has a tendency for exaggeration. Despite that, I'm pretty sure this is precisely how Al Jourgensen would quit a gig he did not like to pursue his dreams of industrial metal world domination. Anyway, here's Al's jingle for Shasta starring an adorable fake penguin.

Al Jourgensen singing for his Shasta in 1983. 
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