Flashback Friday: Ministry

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Here at HIP Video Promo, we’ve been working hard to promote music videos since the year 2000. It’s important to us to help younger and independent artists get the recognition they deserve, and it’s exciting to be on the ground floor with artists that become household names (and with over 4500 videos under our belts in 23 years, there are quite a few). Every Friday, we’ll be sharing a “Flashback Friday” video, where we get to reflect on one of our favorite videos from many years ago.

One thing that can be said about people is that they never stay the same. Everyone is susceptible to change and will undoubtedly change at some point in their journey. Some of us start off believing in one set of values and then go on to believe in another. Others will present themselves to the world as one type of person and then start to act like a completely different person with completely different characteristics. No one remains the same way forever, and if anyone can tell you that, it’s industrial rock icons Ministry.

Ministry’s total overhaul as a band starts with its founder Al Jourgensen and his defiance from the commercial world. At the beginning of his career, Jourgensen found himself caught up in the new wave/synthpop scene that defined the 80’s. Bands with a slick stage presence and poppy electronic instrumentals were all the rage, and such commercial success in those bands provoked Jourgensen’s label Arista Records to create their own new wave heavy-hitter through Ministry. With increased supervision from Arista, Ministry’s first album With Sympathy was a typical synthpop attempt that satisfied the new wave gatekeepers but failed to achieve any resonance with Jourgensen himself. From that point on, the young bandleader started to play around with darker themes in his music and electronics that were more jarring and industrial than the stuff you’d find in most musical acts of the time. Over a few years, Jourgensen put Ministry through a complete transformation from a clean-cut pop act to a disturbing metal spectacle that shocks fans and critics alike. He found a way to subvert the influence of music tastemakers and heavily contribute to the culture of industrial music at the same time.

 “Lies Lies Lies” is a music video that totally epitomizes the shock rock persona that Jourgensen has given Ministry and also works to showcase the band’s political edge. The song is centered around the controversies of the Iraq War and the disbelief that many Americans had over its mission statement. Jourgensen goes off on a tirade bashing the war effort and accusing President George Bush of deceiving the American public into thinking their enemies are in the Middle East rather than their own capital. The video showcases an American family glued to their TV set watching the President bolster his war in an almost hypnotic trance, only looking away to evade a stereotypical terrorist figure that is outside their window. Jourgensen holds back no punches when it comes to criticizing those in power and does so in the shocking and disturbing fashion that he has become accustomed to.

Today, Ministry has gained iconic status in the industrial scene, being compared to the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson in terms of influence and reach. The band’s career has spanned almost 40 years and has released fourteen albums with 2018’s 
AmeriKKant being the latest and one of the most hard-hitting. Jourgensen has undoubtedly given himself a place in music history with his efforts in Ministry and has also proven to the world that musicians don’t need to abide by what the musical gatekeepers say to succeed. Ministry is proof that all a musician needs to succeed is to believe in what they create.

Written by HIP Administrative Assistant Bryan Oliviera.