To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Ministry's game-changing LP The Land of Rape and Honey, the band's main man Al Jourgensen sat down to discuss the record's creation, inspirations and unlikely success as part of the industrial pioneers' continuing video series around the milestone. Using a "cut-up" method adapted from the literary device popularized by William S. Burroughs and Allen Toussaint, Jourgensen literally snipped and pasted together (manually, not digitally) hours of material that would not only form the album but also spawn side acts like Lard (with Jello Biafra), Pailhead (with Ian MacKaye) and the Revolting Cocks. "We borrowed from each other because I had this vault of gold," says the Ministry bandleader.
The Land of Rape and Honey marked a striking departure from the early synthpop Ministry sound, which Jourgensen credits to his time "under the iron grip of Arista Records and Clive Davis." To bring his abrasive and experimental vision to life, he hired a band called the Blackouts, including bassist Paul Barker, following the departure of the group's singer, who left to purse a career in the art world. "None of it was planned, and those are always the best," Jourgensen recalls. "The more you plan, the more you fail."
Jourgensen also expounds upon specific tracks, including "Golden Dawn," noting the technical glitches and inexplicable power outages that occurred while he played back Aleister Crowley recordings for the song's vocal parts. He felt perhaps the founder of Thelema was haunting the track and that "this song is jinxed, don't do this ... It was pretty creepy."
The Ministry frontman then details the story of how the album's closer "Abortive" came to be thanks to a quick song and drug trade. "Abortive," he reveals, was written by U.K. producer Adrian Sherwood. "I heard it and I really liked it, but he really liked some of my outtakes," Jourgensen recalls. "So basically, I traded him three songs that were yet unnamed for 'Abortive' and an ounce of whizz," which he describes as "the cocaine of London."
The musician closes in a celebratory manner. "The entire record industry made money in spite of themselves," he says, pointing to Rape and Honey as an example of art triumphing over the destructive influences of commerce. "They did everything they could to kill creativity and art and culture and people buying things in a consumer way of artists ... We survived in spite of them."
Below, watch a stunning rehearsal-room performance of Ministry's "Thieves, off The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste, the band's follow-up to The Land of Rape and Honey: