Al Jourgensen of Ministry

With Ministry now over and a bunch of ringers currently out on the road as the Revolting Cocks, industrial godfather Al Jourgensen is threatening to go back to his much-derided roots and do the near-unthinkable: record a pop album.

In an interview last week with VampiresFreaks.com to promote the RevCo tour, Jourgensen claims he is working on a solo album with Mission UK and Peter Murphy guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite that gives off a mid-’80s synthpop vibe and is reminiscent of The The and Fad Gadget. As Jourgensen puts its: “It’s complete fucking pop stuff. There’s no metal, there’s no politics, it’s complete pop stuff!” Sounds an awful lot like Ministry’s 1983 debut, With Sympathy, which Jourgensen — who, it must be noted, adopted a fake British accent for that effort — famously called “an abortion of an album.” In fact, Jourgensen references that record in the Q&A, although he won’t mention it by name.

“I hate (With Sympathy) because I was told what to do, what to write, what to wear, what to look like, etc. Now, I’m going to finally do a pop album. It’s really good pop — I’m working with Mark Thwaite. We’ve crafted this unbelievable pop album which is going to leave people scratching their heads and saying, ‘He’s a sellout! He’s an asshole!’ Well, I’m not a sellout because I don’t need to do this anymore, I’ve just always wanted to do an album of pop that I wanted to do, not that other people wanted to do. And so we’re doing it. I don’t give a fuck if it sells 10 copies. I don’t give a fuck if it sells a million copies; it doesn’t matter to me. That’s not important.”

Jourgensen goes on to liken the project to The The and Fad Gadget, although he’s under the mistaken impression that The The’s Matt Johnson is no longer among the living — it’s Fad Gadget’s Frank Tovey he probably meant to reference, since Tovey died in 2002.

“I was a big fan of Matt Johnson’s, right up until he died, and it’s kind of a tribute to that period. That mid-’80s period where there was some really good synthpop shit that wasn’t written by the labels or like Milli Vanilli or whatever — Ministry for that matter. This is the stuff that was meant to be.”

For his part, Thwaite reports both on his own site and in an interview with Fabryka Industrial Rock Magazine that he spent some time in Texas recording with Jourgensen this summer — although Thwaite refers to their collaboration as being part of a RevCo project.

Thwaite tells Fabryka:

“Al invited me to record some guitars on some of the new RevCo material they were working on. The new songs sound really good, very impressive — the way I see it, now that Al has put Ministry to bed, maybe’s he’s now channeling more of his creative energy into RevCo and this has been reflected in the new album (Sex-O Olympic-O, which was released in March) and the new unreleased material I just played on, which I think will get released early next year. It sounds fantastic.”

So is Jourgensen serious about recording a pop album or is he pulling the interviewer’s leg? Given how vociferous he has been about denouncing Ministry’s synthpop roots, it’s certainly an odd about-face. Only time — and the finished product, presumably — will tell.

Read VampireFreaks.com’s full interview with Jourgensen here.

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