Ministry put out its first album, titled With Sympathy, in 1983 and frontman Al Jourgensen was never a huge fan of it. Jourgensen says record label Arista put him up to the record, which is extremely new wavey and plenty poppy, and generally not a drug-fueled trip through a mechanized hell like the rest of Ministry's material became. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Jourgensen says "I did the best I could, living somebody else's dream" regarding the album, and says it is what it is at this point.
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.
Jourgensen says he refused to sign the album for fans for quite some time, but once made a comment that he'd sign it for $1,000 and it backfired on him. During one signing, a fan actually showed up with $1,000 and Jourgensen owned up to the statement and actually signed it! He didn't keep the money though and instead donated it to Rock For Kids, which he says he'll do anytime someone actually pays for the signature.
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.
Ministry will release its new album AmeriKKKant on March 9.