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Ministry To Resurrect Post-Relapse

Frontman Al Jourgensen survives heroin, the loss of a bandmate, and his own brush with death to record the band's final album.

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Al Jourgensen and Tom Scaccia (RIP)
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By William Georgiades

03/29/13

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After four decades of thrash metal, the death of a band member, and a few brushes with death by frontman Al Jourgensen, veteran metalists Ministry will resurrect for a third time with their final album, From Beer to Eternity, scheduled for release in September. It will be their first release since the death of guitarist, Mike Scaccia, who collapsed on stage and died of heart failure last December at age 47. Jourgensen has had his own close calls after suffering a string of health issues on tour. "For the last four tours, I've been puking up blood," he told Rolling Stone last year. "When I'm at home, I don't drink or anything like that. But when you're on tour, everything's crazy. I never said anything about it because I just thought that was part of getting old and going on a rock tour—you puke up blood!" While touring last year for their last album, Relapse, Jourgensen suffered seizures and an exploded artery, and lost 65% of his blood, "so it was a good call to suspend Ministry for a while," he said. "I'm leading a healthier lifestyle now."

Jourgensen kicked his heroin habit over a decade ago, after doctors amputated a toe and nearly an arm, and he'd spent all his money to feed his 20-year addiction. "A lightbulb went on...and it all made sense," he later said. "Trust me there were a lot of reasons to quit heroin." Nowadays, he practices modified sobriety. He has made "one album sober, and a couple albums drunk," he said last year, "I just haven't done drugs." The 2003 album Animositisomina was "the the first album I did clean and sober," and at the time he enthused, "You actually get to do the music...it shoots the theory that you get soft when you get clean." But before recording Relapse, Jourgensen picked up marijuana for medical purposes. "Now I'm just stoned all the time," he said, "I'm on pot, and it's legal. And it's great. It's a different way of doing records." From Beer to Eternity will be the band's last and final album, out of respect for Scaccia. "I can’t do a whole tour without him," says Jourgensen, "Ministry was his life almost as much as mine, and I’m afraid it has to die with him. But damn if we didn’t go out with a bang!” His authorized biography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen, will be published in August.

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