Movie Review-Fix: The Ministry Movie

Coming to dvd April 10th with bonus Paul Barker cd

Plot-Directed by Doug Freel who is responsible for Metallica’s Cliff em all and videos from Tesla, Faith No More and Poison. ( yes that Poison). Fix is basically an inside view of the groundbreaking, outrageous, creative juggernaut that is the band Ministry. You get candid interviews with people ranging from Trent Reznor to Jon Davis of Korn. I think this was supposed to be the film of the last tour before half of his band quit, because Al told everyone Ministry was ending. ( for the record, Ministry is back together with a new cd called Relapse. The new band includes Al Jourgensen on vocals, Mike Scaccia and Tommy Victor both on guitar, Aaron Rossi on drums, John Bechdel on keyboards and Tony Campos on bass)

Review-I am a die hard Ministry fan. Ministry, well most imprortantly Al, is another one of those survivors out of the Chicago’s Wax Trax scene. To me, Al Jourgensen is to industrial music what Lemmy is to heavy metal. This documentary focuses more on present day ( well for that time 2004-2007) Ministry. You know when long time collaborator Paul Barker quits the band, that this ship was sinking and that it got too be too much. Paul has always stuck with Al, through Lard, Revolting Cocks and other projects. After watching this documentary you can see why so many people have been in and out of the revolving door that is Ministry. Also part of the documentary is Louis Svitek who was another long time member. Who had little to no speaking time which was a shame. ( you may remember Louis as the guitarist for M.O.D in the 80’s, and Mind Funk at one time. Which in 92 thru 96, he did double duty with Mind and Ministry. Speaking of which, even though he was not featured on this, Louis’s long time friend in those bands, John Monte was also a part of Ministry for a while on bass in 04)

Ministry is Al Jourgensen, plain and simple. And watching this documentary you see what Al wants you to believe he truly is. In certain scenes we get to watch him shoot up dope, act paranoid, have sex with fried chicken, and strive to get as much attention for his antics as he can. When I think of the industrial music pioneers, there are truly only 3 names that clearly deserve top billing. ( shock- all of them are Chicago Wax Trax veterans) 1.Al Jourgensen. 2.Ogre. 3.Martin Atkins. Ministry like Ogre’s band Skinny Puppy, started off as almost a pop band. Each cd, became more heavier than the last and also more darker. When Ministry released Psalm 69, the whole industrial scene changed almost overnight. Which gave way to bands dropping the pop music vibe and going heavy.. Case in point..check out Skinny Puppy later work the Process. Which in almost every music fan’s mind are the two heaviest and best industrial cds ever released. Knowing all this, going into this film is sort of a letdown that there was really no history lesson or back footage. You watch Al think everyone is out to get him. Watch him become more wasted each show and more out of touch with reality. And Al just try his hardest to piss the fans and band off. While at a gig, Jesus Lizard’s own David Yow comes onstage nude during a song and stands right in front of the stage. I am a huge Jesus Lizard fan, and to see these antics in front of a audience with kids and people there to see Ministry, and pay to see fucking disrespectful. It is not funny, or even anti anything. It is just immature and borderline, get someone on stage just to beat the fuck out of him. I never seen any artist like Al, who takes so much pride in pissing off his fan base. When you get to hear the interviews from former Warner Brothers and Sire reps. They paint such a ugly picture of what Ministry is. Ministry was signed to Warner in the mid to late 80’s when David Geffen was throwing billions into his Warner’s side label…Geffen records and signing roughly 900 bands at one time. ( which included Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Warrior Soul and etc) Ministry were part of the ” future music” boom that Warner was trying to promote when the future of David Lee Roth solo after leaving Van Halen at first made them hit the panic button. They were losing thier musical gold, and were scared a new Van Halen or David solo would not catch on. Well, they were half right. But, Warner were in search of what could be their next cash cow and signed Ministry to a 5 record deal. During this doc, the guys paint this picture that they were supportive of them and wanted them to go their heavier route. In reality, Warner rejected Psalm 69 initially and when the threats of taking the cd to another label were being mentioned, Warner caved in. Even though that is not discussed, it just makes the execs on this doc, painted to be not telling the whole truth.

Casey Chaos of Amen, has a few speaking parts in this. He came across worst than Al did. He cares more for playing with his hair then he did making sentences. The shocker is how Maynard from Tool came across. You talk about someone who could be an ambassador for music, the guy comes across very intelligent and well spoken. Almost like a politician. ( Sorry Jello) You also learn that Al thinks of William S Burroughs and Timothy Leary as father figures, and you see him with both in some really sentimental moments. That made me think that maybe Al puts on a show sometime in this video to make himself look like he is out of control.

If you are a Ministry fan, which I know a lot of people ( including me) are, this is a fun time. The interviews from people like Jon Davis of Korn, Trent of NIN, Ogre, and etc were fun. Shocked as all hell, he has Jello Biafra on here, but no Paul Leary or Gibby Haynes. And also, Martin Atkins is not on here. Talk about some missed opportunities. I want a definitive Ministry documentary that goes back thru the history and the side bands. I would love to hear about his time helping out Pigface to the Lard debut cd and etc. This is instead a 96 minute Ministry on their supposed last tour and end doc. On those merits, this was pretty fun and a fan will dig it. A non fan will not convert, and may be glad, after watching this they do not support them. No offense Psalm 69 fans, as groundbreaking as that cd is..Filth Pig is to me, the better cd. ( even though Rob Zombie may not agree. Looking at his image he did love the N.W.O video a lot)

8.5 out of 10