“Garden of Earthly Delights” #4

"Ministry: Prescripture" Signing

On December 13th, I had the honor of being able to attend the book signing of Melodic Virtue’s new coffee table book, Ministry: Prescritpture. Aaron Tanner offers a visual history of Ministry featuring photos, artwork, and quotes from members of various bands. The event took place at Morgan’s on Fulton, where Aaron Tanner and Al Jourgensen were present to sign anyone’s copy of the new book and another item of their choice. I have yet to get myself a copy of the book, but Christmas is approaching.

While at the event, I mainly just stood around and took pictures. You may think that’s boring, but it was anything but. It was one of the best experiences I have had in my life. I first want to say that seeing Al Jourgensen in person was completely bad*ss. You may see him as intimidating, but he showed respect and great humor with every loving fan. To be there and witness it is something I will brag about until I die.

Despite just standing around, I did have some conversations with VIP guests. One guest in particular was Chris Connelly. He was very humble while I briefly conversed with him. Mr. Connelly is now a vocal instructor for the School of Rock Oak Park, which must be awesome for whomever gets to be his student. I never thought I would have had the chance to meet Chris Connelly. So, this was a very special encounter for me.

Something else I had never thought I would witness was a $1000 signing of With Sympathy. So, when I saw a fan holding the LP, I had a feeling of what would go down. Initially, Al told the fan that it would cost a $1000 donation to the Chicago Blackhawks foundation for a signature, and the fan agreed to it. D*MN!  A large group gathered around to witness the signing of the LP because this was a huge deal. A generous donation from the fan, Mark Kowal, resulted in him being an owner of a rare signed copy of With Sympathy. A congratulations to him being the owner of the signed LP and for making the generous donation.

As the last fans were getting their items signed, I decided to get in line for a chance to get a photo with Uncle Al. Just as I was about to, an unexpected reunion happened. Duane Buford, who toured as keyboards with Ministry for Psalm 69 and Filth Pig, stopped by to visit. It had been twenty years since Al had seen him, so he was very surprised and happy to be reunited with him. I wish I had captured that moment with a picture but after briefly talking with his reunited friend, Al Jourgensen took a picture with me and signed my copy of The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste. I also got a picture with the Mr. Buford, and then I left the event listening to “Never Believe” on repeat.

My overall experience of the event was amazing. But the fact that there’s a new book detailing Ministry is an important part in showing the impact that Ministry and Al Jourgensen have had in the industrial and independent music scene. The band is being shown the recognition they deserve, and I believe that Aaron Tanner truly captured their impact in Ministry: Prescripture. I had the honour of being able to have a chat with Aaron about the book, and from our conversation I could tell he worked on this book with pride and respect. So, a congratulations to Ministry for this new book representing them from the start until the present. Hopefully they continue to create more art and music that’ll last for generations to come. If you want a copy of the book, you can obtain a copy exclusively at Melodic Virtue. There’s a limited number of printed books, so hurry up and grab a copy.

Below I attached some of the many photos I took of the event. These aren’t professional photos. If that’s what you want, go ahead and follow Derick Smith on Instagram (@derickphotography). You can also follow Ministry on Instagram and Twitter (both @weareministry) for updates about the photos taken at the event. I want to thank Aaron for calling in for an interview (I sadly was unable to thank him in person), and I want to thank Selena Fragassi for allowing me to attend the event. This was a lifetime experience I will never forget.

Al & Aaron

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Al & Aaron

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Al & Aaron

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Al & Aaron

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Al & Aaron

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With Sympathy

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