The career path of Ministry has taken many twists and turns over the years.
Long before Al Jourgensen screamed for “Just One Fix” over an impenetrable wall of guitars and mechanized percussion, the musician had a fairly lucrative (albeit creatively unfulfilling) career in synthpop. Ministry’s debut album With Sympathy is considered a stone-cold classic among ‘80s culture connoisseurs. Littered with upbeat hooks and affecting a fake British accent, it’s not surprising that Jourgensen notoriously hates it.
During this era, Ministry toured rigorously as an opening act for bands like Depeche Mode and Culture Club.
According to Jourgensen, there wasn’t much in the way of money to show for all of the work he’d been doing. Going broke, Uncle Al tried his hand at jingle writing. As full of piss and vinegar as ever, he talked about the experience in the bio, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen:
“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 know anything about Al Jourgensen, you know to take his words with a grain of salt. That being said, I choose to take him at his word on this one. Although we might not have audio of him purring for Huffy, at least Uncle Al and a weird penguin got to “taste pizazz” in a Shasta commercial.