Background and recording
In March 1991, following the conclusion of the year-long tour in support of Revolting Cocks album Beers, Steers, and Queers, Al Jourgensen returned with his bandmates at Chicago Trax! studios, to work on Ministry's next major release. Jourgensen claimed that the record company Warner Bros. Records (to which Ministry were signed via their subsidiary, Sire Records) initially gave the band an enormous budget[a] expecting The Mind...' follow-up to become a big hit compared with Michael Jackson's album Thriller; actually, Jourgensen, as he claimed in 2013, with his then-wife Patty (née Marsh) and guitarist Mike Scaccia spent most of budget on drugs, paying $1,000 per day. Meanwhile, the first Lollapalooza tour had arrived in Chicago in early August 1991. Jourgensen went backstage attending a show by the band Butthole Surfers. After the gig, he had invited Butthole Surfers' singer Gibby Haynes at Chicago Trax! to record what became the vocals and spoken word parts for the song “Jesus Built My Hotrod”.:55 While finishing “Jesus Built My Hotrod”, Jourgensen was contacted by Sire/Warner Bros. executives, who asked if he had any completed material. Jourgensen sent them “Jesus Built My Hotrod” since it was the only song recorded by this time. While the label was not happy with just having “Jesus Built My Hotrod”, Jourgensen told them either to give another advance for further work or sign the band off. The label was doubtful if the band would record anything else, but decided to release “Jesus Built My Hotrod”; following its success, they gave the band necessary budget, with the condition that the band would eventually finish the record.
Besides drug problems, there was also growing animosity between the band's members, divided into two groups: while one group included Jourgensen and Scaccia, another—dubbed “the Book Club” by Jourgensen—included bassist Paul Barker, drummer Bill Rieflin and guest/live singer Chris Connelly. Jourgensen claimed that he and Scaccia added their parts separately from Barker, Rieflin and Connelly; once Jourgensen and Scaccia would come in, they erased about 80 percent of what the Book Club associates did.
The last songs included for the album, the instrumental tracks “Corrosion” and “Grace”, were written mainly by Barker and recorded in February–March 1992; the album’s last session was held on May 7, 1992. Over fifteen months were spent on the recording, however, only nine of about thirty songs made its way onto the final cut, with the rest being distributed to side projects.:53