When a movie includes a scene of a guy sticking his penis inside a roast chicken, you know there's not much held back. Fix: The Ministry Movie,
a documentary snapshot of the band's 1996 tour, is a graphic depiction
of life on the road with the industrial heroes, including frontman Al
Jourgensen's struggle with heroin addiction.
Ex-Ministry bassist Paul Barker admits that the film's candor really
got to him. "It was tough to watch, it felt like I got kicked in the
stomach," he tells Rolling Stone. "I'm not interested in
reliving that era and having it presented to me like that was
historically interesting and I'm happy to put it there and whatever, but
The movie has had its fair share of controversy over the years, with
Jourgensen suing at one point to hold up release due to financial
differences (the suit has since been resolved). In fact, financing was
why the film has taken so many years to see the light of day. Barker
admits that the long delay is another reason that makes the film so hard
to sit through. "I don't think about that stuff. I have new challenges
and I don't think about that in my day to day life," he says. "So yes,
of course, it brought back all kinds of memories."
However, the long delay did create time for filmmaker Doug Freel to
interview artists like Trent Reznor and Dave Navarro about the legacy
and influence of Ministry. It was nice for Barker to hear all those
compliments, especially since he had no idea at the time what other
artists thought of Ministry. Nor did he care. "When you're in the middle
of an endeavor you're focusing on getting the job done and so we wanted
to kick everybody's ass, take no prisoners, our s--t is heavier than
your s--t. Music is just as competitive as anything else," he explains."
So realizing that our peers were paying attention to what we were doing
and appreciating what we did at the time, it's mildly surprising. That
doesn't mean I want to make music like that anymore."
Barker has flourished in the post-Ministry years. He's started a new
musical project called Flowering Blight, produced other bands, including
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, and helped found a company that
manufactures musical gear like synthesizer modules and guitar effects.
And he's quite happy in these new roles. So, while Jourgensen has
reformed a new version of Ministry, Barker won't be part of the band.
"I've completely moved on," he says.
Photo by Paul Elledge