Ministry & Co-Conspirators
13th Planet Records
Release date: April Fools Day 2008
“Always judge a band by its covers” – Al Jourgensen
There were two blatant concerns when I first came across this release: it’s all ‘just’ cover songs and an April Fools’ Day Release Date.
Cover songs, and especially an album full of covers are usually and easily described with clichéd generalizations, such as “hit or miss”, “completely butchered” or even “a great rendition of ____”. And releasing something on April Fools’ Day gives room for humorous antidotes or cheesy descriptions like “this album is no joke” or “ there’s no foolin’ around with this release” etc. Coming across Cover Up was such a treat, since I have always been a fan of cover songs; trying to play at least an hour of cover songs every Friday during my two-year run as “15min of Shame” at the defunct Monkey Bar in Dallas.
Alain Jourgenson, leader of the iconic industrial metal-band, Ministry, has always been known to perform cover songs live and play pranks, so everything is appropriate about Cover Up. Whether it was the industrial glam pop redo of Rod Stewart's “Do Ya think I’m Sexy?” (as Revolting Cocks; which is actually missing off this compilation) to the somber ode to Bob Dylan with “Lay Lady Lay” or the headbanging of Black Sabbath’s “Supernaut” (as 1000 Homo DJs), Ministry (in one band form or another) has consistently done great covers.
On this release, Ministry tackles classic rock songs from the late 60’s and early 70’s; the only oddity being Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”, which is a nice change from the over-played version by The Flaming Lips. Other noteworthy tracks on Cover Up include The Rolling Stones “Under My Thumb”, T.Rex’s “Bang a Gong”, Deep Purple’s “Space Truckin’” and even ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid”. Only three previously released tracks appear on the album, “Supernaut” (from 1991’s 1000 Homo DJs S/T), “Lay Lady Lay” (from 1996’s Filth Pig) and The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues” (from 2007’s The Last Sucker).
Ministry & Co-Conspirators should have included something off of Jourgenson’s Pailhead project (with Ian MacKaye of Fugazi) and definitely Skinny Puppy’s “Smothered Hope” which was performed live numerous times during The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste era. Fans of Ministry will not be disappointed with Cover Up, but should know what to expect after 25 years releasing music. On the other hand, classic rock fans will do a ‘double-take’ upon hearing these ‘renditions’. Cover Up is definitely one of those albums that you play for your friends at a party, “Hey, you got to hear this cover of_____” to prompt a winded music snob discussion and its even nice background music for a rowdy road trip to Hell.
Ministry is currently on their ‘C U La Tour” (final tour) and will be making a Dallas stop at the Palladium Ballroom on April 17th.
video of Ministry at Deep Ellum live: