Clean life restores fun for rockers Ministry
By Rod Harmon
Knight Ridder News Service
When Steven Spielberg needed music for the cyborg-rendering Flesh Fair scene in "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence," he contacted Ministry.
"He told us it was the first time he hadn't used John Williams for every shred of music in his movies," bass player Paul Barker said.
"We ended up supplying 18 minutes of music and mim-ÊÊing it on stage for the entire scene."
Spielberg's decision acknowledged Ministry's bloody-ear industrial noise as the blueprint for modern rock.
Lead vocalist/guitarist Allen Jourgensen brought Barker into the fold in 1986. Jourgensen's avant-garde experimentalism meshed with Barker's rock background for a sound that was part heavy metal, part punk and part synth-rock, eventually gaining the tag "industrial."
"The Land of Rape and ÊHoney" (1988), the first full-length effort by the revamped band, paved the way for the alternative explosion of the early '90s.
Today, its influence can be heard in everything from Nine Inch Nails to Godsmack.
"I'm very fond of that record," Barker said. "This was using the studio as an instrument to come up with unique sounding music. That was an eye-opener in many ways."
Ministry's first studio album in four years, "Animositisomina," returns to the in-your-face aggression of "Land" without sounding retro.
One reason for the renewed vigor of "Animositisomina" is that it's the first in a long time to feature a clean and sober Jourgensen.
"It was fantastic," Barker said. "All the time could be devoted to the task at hand, which was working on music. ...
"We had a lot of fun making it, and it rekindled the spirit of our mutual enthusiasm for playing rock."
Ministry is back with both barrels blaring. So don't ex-pect them to score some kid-friendly sci-fi flick just because they're now friends with Spielberg.
"They had doubles for us during the shoot, in case we were so (messed) up, we couldn't do it," Barker said. "But you know, we were totally professional."