Pigface was formed from Ministry's The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste tour, which produced the In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up live album and video. For the tour, Al Jourgensen brought Atkins, Nivek Ogre and Chris Connelly. Also on the tour was Rieflin, regular Ministry drummer at the time. While Atkins enjoyed the dynamic of playing with a second drummer, he felt that the lineup was capable of doing much more than being, what he has frequently called, "a Ministry cover band." Once the tour was over, Atkins and Rieflin decided to continue working together and recruited several of their tourmates. Pigface was born with the intention of keeping a revolving-door style collaboration with many experimentally-minded musicians, many of whom, especially early on, had recorded for the influential industrial music record label Wax Trax!.
Trent Reznor was also an early partner, before Nine Inch Nails became a household name. "Suck," co-written and sung by Reznor, was something of an underground hit, and Reznor later re-recorded the song for the Broken EP.
Rieflin eventually left Pigface, leaving Atkins in charge. The hundreds of musical collaborators to record and perform with Pigface have ensured that each album, tour, and song is unique. However, this practice has led to some negative criticism due to a perceived lack of continuity.
In 2009, Full Effect Records, a Detroit-based label, announced the signing of Pigface. The Pigface album, 6, followed shortly.
After a seven-year hiatus, Pigface returned for two Chicago performances in November 2016. The first was a rehearsal show held at Reggie's on November 24. On November 25, the band performed at House of Blues: Chicago. Both shows saw the band performing with first-time members as well as the return of members like Lesley Rankine, En Esch, Mary Byker, Curse Mackey, Dirk Flannigan and Fallon Bowman.
Several offshoot bands of Pigface, all smaller sized all-star groups featuring Martin Atkins as a common member, have released albums during the time Pigface was active. These bands include Murder, Inc., The Damage Manual, Ritalin, Martin Atkins And The Chicago Industrial League, Spasm, and The Love Interest.