Moral Hygiene

Moral Hygiene

“I was originally going to call it Truth Decay,” Ministry mastermind Al Jourgensen tells Apple Music about the title of his band’s 15th album. “But then Obama used the phrase in his book to describe what we’re experiencing in this country today—which is the same reason I chose it—and it started getting a lot of traction. Even though I had the title before the book came out, I know to wave the white flag when I’m dealing with an ex-president.” Never at a loss for inspiration, Jourgensen pivoted to the equally dental-themed Moral Hygiene. With a propulsive industrial sound reminiscent of Ministry’s 1992 classic, Psalm 69, the album sees Jourgensen railing against climate-change deniers, anti-vaxxers, and general disinformation—complete with guest appearances from Jello Biafra and Billy Idol guitarist Billy Morrison. Below, he discusses each track. “Alert Level” “We’re all living on alert right now. From climate change to vaccine conspiracies, it’s getting ridiculous. Especially here in California with the fires. Last summer, it came within a mile and a half of my house—this year we might get hit. I know there’s no quick fix, but we have to at least acknowledge that climate change is a fact. But at least 25 percent of this country won’t do that. So, we have a problem here, as they say in Houston.” “Good Trouble” “Congressman John Lewis’ legacy and career is just unbelievable. The fact that he was prescient enough to write his famous letter and make sure that it didn’t get released until after he died—if he wasn’t a hero to me already, then he certainly was at that point. I’m just fingers-crossed that his Voting Rights Act gets through. But it might not, because we’re living under tyranny by the minority—which, maybe, should’ve been the title of this record.” “Sabotage Is Sex” “I’m really persnickety about the lyrical content and the message I want to send, but also vocal technique, effects on the vocals, and such. I wasn’t really happy with the vocal I did on this, so I thought, ‘Let’s give Uncle Jello a call.’ I’ve known Jello Biafra for decades, and I know his perspective is very similar to mine on almost everything. Within two days, he sent back ‘Sabotage Is Sex.’ He sounds amazing—in rare, true form, actually—but if you want to know what it’s about, you’ll have to ask him.” “Disinformation” “This is all about conspiracy theories. Here’s the deal: It starts with education. In many of the Nordic countries right now, they’re already teaching kids how to spot bullshit on the internet—starting in first grade. We don’t have anything near that here. It’s like playing whack-a-mole right now, because social media is not regulated in any way. I think this entire problem could go away if people had to use their real names on the internet. And if you make a statement, you’re on the hook for it. But I doubt that would fly.” “Search and Destroy” “When we did this Stooges cover, Iggy was the first person I sent it to. I would not have put it on the record if he didn’t give it a thumbs up. But the whole backstory is that I did the song at a benefit concert for teen suicide run by Dave Navarro and Billy Morrison. I got really stoned before we played and ended up singing the song in half-time. The entire band had to accommodate me, and I was really embarrassed about it. I called Billy the next day to apologize, and he said it was the most awesome version he’d ever heard and that we should record it. So, we did.” “Believe Me” “This is just about mistrust—not only in our political figures, but in personal relationships as well. It almost ties in with ‘Disinformation,’ where you really need to listen and process everything that’s being told to you by an individual, even within relationships. Obviously, there’s a Trump element to it because he’s a grifter and his followers believe everything he says—even though he doesn’t give a shit about his followers. He just cares about money and his bottom line. So, it’s basically about being wary of people that you suspect of being grifters.” “Broken System” “This is number seven on the track list, and it pretty much sums up all the preceding songs on the album. It talks about everything from climate change to corruption to the kleptocracy we live in now. How do we get out of it? I don't have the answers entirely, but I do think there’s still some people who aren’t aware that this is a broken system, and those people need to maybe pay attention. So, it kind of ties everything up with a bow.” “We Shall Resist” “This was actually written for a documentary coming up called Haunted Painting. It’s about a painting that was found in a garbage can in Los Angeles, but it’s also basically about how eBay got started. The person who found the painting said it was haunted and sold it. Then it exchanged hands a few times over the years, and the price kept going up. It wound up in some big shot’s collection for $30 million or something. It’s a ridiculous story, but it’s really about the predatorial nature of internet auctions on uneducated people.” “Death Toll” “It’s the human toll of the pandemic. We still have all these deniers out there who keep getting proven wrong. It goes back to the tyranny of the minority—these people are stopping mask mandates and vaccine mandates even though we had no problem with vaccines for polio, smallpox, measles, or whooping cough. All the kids had to be vaccinated against this stuff before they went to school, and hardly anyone complained. But now, this is a problem suddenly, so we have all these needless deaths piling up for no good reason.” “TV Song #6” (Right Around the Corner Mix) “This song is basically saying that what’s happening in ‘Death Toll’ is not over, even though the media is telling us the pandemic is over. So, I’ve actually set it up for a sequel with our next record, clever little boy that I am.”

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