'Last Tangle in Paris': Swan song for Ministry?
Courtesy of UDR Records (Used with permission)

At the beginning of Last Tangle in Paris: Live 2012, the new concert film from industrial metal band Ministry, front man Al Jourgensen is seen wandering the backstage area of Chicago’s Vic Theatre, opining repeatedly, “My job sucks” to no one in particular, also wondering aloud “When can I quit my job?” What seemed like joking or mindless mumbling when the footage was shot now seems tragically prescient.

About six months after the shows where Last Tangle in Paris was shot, Ministry guitarist Mike Saccia collapsed on stage while performing with his other band, Rigor Mortis. Saccia was rushed to the hospital but he was pronounced dead, a heart attack being the cause of death. Jourgensen announced shortly thereafter that Ministry would not go on, and that the loss of Saccia, whom Jourgensen said he loved like a brother, was too big an obstacle to overcome. It was not the first time Jourgensen broke up the band.

The two main factors that have hindered Ministry over the years are Jourgensen’s drug use and the fact that musically he has a tendency to spread himself pretty thin. Jourgensen has alternately embraced and fought heroin addiction over the decades, and has been in rehab as recently as early 2014. That situation has put a limit on the number of days that Jourgensen is clear-minded enough to record or tour, and he’s previously complained that of the numerous bands he oversees (Lard, The Revolting Cocks, Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters, and many others) Ministry has always been the biggest time suck. The lengthy amount of time it takes to get everyone on the same page to record a Ministry album has previously been the reason given for a Ministry break-up.

Now, a year and a half after Saccia’s passing, Jourgensen is making noises about putting a Ministry tour together but no show dates have as yet been announced. All things considered then, Last Tangle in Paris may very well be the last remnant of Ministry live or of Ministry period. If it does turn out to be a farewell gift, at least it’s a good one. The set list, a dozen songs long in all, features well-played favorites like “Just One Fix,” “New World Order,” “Psalm 69” and the anti-George W. Bush raving “No W,” still venomous today long after the end of the Bush presidency.

With his canine teeth filed into fangs, his ominous glower and a penchant to dress like a Victorian undertaker, Jourgensen has the perfect stage presence throughout Last Tangle in Paris to go with the heavy industrial throb and lyrical vitriol that have always defined Ministry. Knowing though what happened to Saccia shortly after this film was made, the viewer can’t help but notice the eerie irony of the set beginning with the song “Ghouldigger” and its repeated refrain of “I’m not dead yet!” Whether that sentiment now applies to Ministry remains to be seen.

Go here for more on Ministry.