Al Jourgensen

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Al Jourgensen
Jourgensen performing with Ministry at 2017's Hellfest
Jourgensen performing with Ministry at 2017's Hellfest
Background information
Birth nameAlejandro Ramírez Casas
Also known asThe Alien, Alien Jourgensen, Alain Jourgensen, Hypo Luxa, Dog, Alien Dog Star, Buck Satan, Buck Santa, Uncle Al, Enchanted Al, Al F***-ing Jourgensen
Born (1958-10-09) October 9, 1958 (age 64)
Havana, Cuba
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Instrument(s)
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboards
  • synthesizer
  • bass
  • drums
Years active1978–present
Labels
Websiteministryband.com

Alain David Jourgensen[6][a] (born Alejandro Ramírez Casas;[11] October 9, 1958) is a Cuban-American singer, musician and music producer. Closely related with the independent record label Wax Trax! Records, his musical career spans four decades. He is best known as the frontman and lyricist of the industrial metal band Ministry, which he founded in 1981 and of which he remains the only constant member. He was the primary musician of several Ministry-related projects, such as Revolting Cocks, Lard, and Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters. He (Jourgensen) is regarded as one of the most prominent figures of industrial music,[sources 1] influencing numerous other groups and musicians, both in alternative and industrial-associated acts.

Born in Havana shortly before the Cuban Revolution of 1959, Jourgensen moved to the United States with his family at age of three, and was raised mainly in Chicago and Breckenridge, Colorado. He developed an interest in music at a young age, and was involved in several short-lived bands, as well as briefly performing in the backing band of drag performer Divine.

Jourgensen formed Ministry in 1981 in Chicago and received significant attention from music press regarding the band's 1983 debut studio album, With Sympathy. His subsequent releases in the 1980s, most prominently Ministry's The Land of Rape and Honey (1988) and The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste (1989), showcased his stylistic transition; in the early 1990s, he achieved mainstream success with Ministry's fifth studio album, Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs (1992). The next few years were marked by publicity surrounding Jourgensen's substance abuse which negatively affected his creative output and resulted in a period of severe depression; during this time, Jourgensen and Ministry appeared in the 2001 Steven Spielberg film A.I. Artificial Intelligence.

In 2005, Jourgensen established his own record label, 13th Planet Records, through which several Ministry records, among others, were released until the early 2010s. Currently Jourgensen and Ministry are signed to Nuclear Blast Records

Early life[edit]

Alejandro Ramírez Casas was born in Havana, Cuba,[17] on October 9, 1958,[17] the son of Margarita "Maggie" Brouwer (born c. 1942) and Gualberto Ramírez Casas (born c. 1936), and the grandson of Julio Brouwer, a biologist.[18] Jourgensen's extended family has Dutch and Spanish heritage.[12] In 1961, following the fall of Fulgencio Batista's regime and rise of Fidel Castro to power, his family relocated to Florida. In 1964, Margarita Brouwer married Ed Jourgensen, a stock car driver and mechanic for Formula One driver Dan Gurney. She adopted his surname for herself and her son.[12]

Jourgensen was raised in Chicago, Illinois and in Breckenridge, Colorado where he graduated from Summit County High School in Frisco, Colorado in 1976. He was a fan of artists such as Liberace, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, Charles Mingus, and Miles Davis.[12]: 2 

Jourgensen eventually attended the University of Illinois Chicago, after briefly enrolling at both the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Colorado. He worked as a radio DJ after college until he decided to pursue a career as a professional musician.

Professional life[edit]

Ministry[edit]

Jourgensen formed Ministry in 1981 after leaving Special Affect, a new wave/synth-pop band (notably including Frankie Nardiello, founding member (as Groovie Mann) of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and drummer Harry Rushakoff of Concrete Blonde). Early singles by Ministry and Jourgensen's other projects were released on Wax Trax! Records. He also produced Skinny Puppy's Rabies album. During that time, Jourgensen befriended Nivek Ogre, who later toured with Ministry.[19]

The band broke into the mainstream with 1992's Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs album. Its opening track, "N.W.O.", was nominated for a 1993 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance, losing to Nine Inch Nails' "Wish". However, its next album, Filth Pig (1996), divided their fan base, leading to a commercial decline that became evident when Warner Bros. Records dropped them from the label in 2001.

Ministry's next albums, Rio Grande Blood (2006) and The Last Sucker (2007), as well as the 2006 Revolting Cocks album Cocked and Loaded, were released on Jourgensen's new record label, 13th Planet Records, which he formed after falling out with the mainstream agendas of major industry labels.[20]

At the specific request of director Stanley Kubrick, Jourgensen appeared with Ministry in the film A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. He related his conversation with Kubrick in an interview:

Well, first of all, I hung up on him. I thought it was a crank call. His secretary was calling and I was like, 'Yeah, right.' Click. And then he called back personally and then talked to me, and I was just freaked out. I mean, who wouldn't be freaked out? Here's this eccentric American God living in the countryside of England, and he's calling me up in Austin, Texas, and saying he wants me to do the music for his film and he wants me to be in his film and he's famous and all that. I didn't even believe it.[21]

Ministry continued its involvement with the film project after Kubrick's death, and Jourgensen revealed that after initial tension with Steven Spielberg, partly due to Jourgensen's prank when he claimed being told that "A.I." stood for "Anal Intruder" and threatening to walk off production because it wasn't a porn film,[22] he and Spielberg enjoyed a friendly relationship,[23] with two compositions appearing on the soundtrack: "What About Us" and "Dead Practice".[24]

A number of his songs also appear in other films, such as Wicked Lake (2008)—produced by Fever Dreams and ZP Studios—for which he composed the entire soundtrack that was released on his own 13th Planet record label—he also makes a small appearance in the film as an art school teacher.[25][26]

In a November 2008 issue of Hustler Magazine, Jourgensen announced that Ministry was officially finished, as the band "[took] up so much time" and releasing new albums was difficult. He also explained that he was responsible for six other bands and could complete seven albums within a year when he was not working on new Ministry material.[27] However, despite Jourgensen's insistence that Ministry would never return, a reunion was announced on August 7, 2011. A new album, entitled Relapse, was released on March 26, 2012.[28]

At his 57th birthday listening party in Chicago he announced a new project called, SMM or Surgical Meth Machine. In an interview with In The Loop Magazine, Jourgensen stated, "I can't wait to get this record out. If you're a fan of Ministry, you're gonna freak out on this. It's got the whole range of my career as a musician in it even sound of earlier stuff from the beginning."[29]

In 2016 March, Jourgensen noted he had a project with Arabian Prince;[30] this collaboration was later confirmed for a new Ministry album.[31][32]

Revolting Cocks[edit]

Revolting Cocks, also known as RevCo, is an American industrial rock band that began as a musical side project for Richard 23 of Front 242, Luc van Acker, and Jourgensen. The band took their name after being involved in a fight in a Chicago bar in 1983: Jourgensen, Richard 23 and Van Acker, celebrating the formation of their new band with a few drinks, ended the evening in a brawl, with bar stools thrown through the windows. As he ejected the trio, the owner—a man who Jourgensen recalls was named Dess[33]—shouted, "I'm calling the police! You guys are a bunch of revolting cocks!"[33] The trio decided to use the name for their band.

The band have changed lineups several times. RevCo currently features Jourgensen (guitars, keyboards, programming, background vocals, producer), Josh Bradford (vocals, background vocals), Sin Quirin (guitars, bass, keyboards) and Clayton Worbeck (keyboards, programming, mixing, bass). Their seventh album, Sex-O Olympic-O, which was produced by Jourgensen at his studio, was released on his 13th Planet label in March 2008. The follow-up album, Got Cock?, was released in March 2010 on the same label. A remix album of Got Cock?, titled Got Mixxx?, was released in 2011.[34]

Other bands and projects[edit]

During the late 1980s, Jourgensen started a short-lived side project named 1000 Homo DJs, under the pseudonym Buck Satan. 1000 Homo DJs released two singles, including a cover of Black Sabbath's "Supernaut."[35] Also in 1989, Jourgensen was involved in Acid Horse, a collaboration between the members of Ministry and Cabaret Voltaire.[36] In 2015, Jourgensen announced that he started "a speed metal project" named Surgical Meth Machine with engineer and longtime collaborator Sam D'Ambruoso.[37] The project's self-titled album was released on April 15, 2016.

More side projects

Production work[edit]

Jourgensen and his Ministry bandmate Paul Barker worked as a music production team under the names Hypo Luxa and Hermes Pan, producing their own work as well as other Wax Trax! Records acts. Jourgensen also produced music for Reverend Horton Heat, Skinny Puppy, Dessau, Skrew, Rigor Mortis,[38] The Blackouts, and DethRok.[39] Jourgensen's recording complex for the 13th Planet label was located at his former home in El Paso, Texas.[40]

Musicianship[edit]

Jourgensen is known for playing a multitude of instruments throughout his professional career, including guitars, bass, violin, banjo, keyboards, piano, pedal steel guitar, trumpets and drums to name a few. However, he claims he is "not really good at any of them." He said, "I'm jack of all trades and master of none. But I can collage bits and pieces together musically."[41]

Jourgensen's singing style has varied throughout the years. On Ministry's early releases such as With Sympathy and Twitch, he sang with a fake British accent, which he regrets.[42][43] Inspired by The 13th Floor Elevators, Jourgensen started utilizing vocal effects beginning with The Land of Rape and Honey to distort his voice using Eventide.[44] In 2006, starting with Rio Grande Blood, Jourgensen switched to a more thrash metal approach.

Personal life[edit]

Relationships and family[edit]

Jourgensen at the Astoria, London during 2004, promoting Houses of the Molé

Jourgensen was married to Patty Marsh from 1984 to 1995 and the relationship produced one daughter.[45]: 15 [46] In 2002, he married Angelina Lukacin.[47] In July 2014, he announced that they were divorced.[48]

Jourgensen's autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen, was released in July 2013.[49]

As a result of the divorce from wife and business partner, 13th Planet Records officially shut down[citation needed]. In 2015, Jourgensen closed his residence and recording studio in El Paso, Texas and moved to Los Angeles to pursue new music endeavors.

Legal and health issues[edit]

In 1995, police raided Ministry's Texas headquarters and Jourgensen was arrested for possession of heroin.[50] He received a five-year probation sentence. Jourgensen was dependent upon heroin for twenty years. Jourgensen kicked his heavy drug (heroin, methadone, crack, pills) habit, and as of 2019, he has limited his intake to beer, marijuana, and psilocybin mushrooms.[51]

Jourgensen almost lost his arm and foot in two separate incidents, the first due to a spider bite,[52] the second the result of a hypodermic needle wound.[53][54]

Body art[edit]

Throughout the years, Jourgensen has amassed a large number of tattoos. In 2012, he underwent facial piercings after a bet with his daughter; she called him a "pussy" for not having any piercings while Jourgensen called her the same thing for not having any tattoos. They then decided to have their tattoos and piercings done respectively to create a "pact." He had 16 facial piercings done in one sitting.[55][56]

Discography[edit]

with Ministry[edit]

Date of release Title Label
1983 With Sympathy Arista Records
1986 Twitch Sire/Warner Bros.
1988 The Land of Rape and Honey Sire/Warner Bros.
1989 The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste Sire/Warner Bros.
1992 Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs Sire/Warner Bros.
1996 Filth Pig Warner Bros.
1999 Dark Side of the Spoon Warner Bros.
2003 Animositisomina Sanctuary
2004 Houses of the Molé Sanctuary
2006 Rio Grande Blood 13th Planet/Megaforce
2007 The Last Sucker 13th Planet/Megaforce
2012 Relapse 13th Planet
2013 From Beer to Eternity 13th Planet
2018 AmeriKKKant Nuclear Blast
2021 Moral Hygiene Nuclear Blast

with Revolting Cocks[edit]

Date of release Title Label
1985 No Devotion (12") Wax Trax!
1986 Big Sexy Land Wax Trax!
1986 "You Often Forget" (12") Wax Trax!
1988 You Goddamned Son of a Bitch – Live Wax Trax!
1986 Stainless Steel Providers (12") Wax Trax!
1990 Beers, Steers, and Queers Wax Trax!
1993 Linger Ficken' Good Sire/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records
2006 Cocked and Loaded 13th Planet Records/Megaforce Records
2007 Cocktail Mixxx 13th Planet Records/Megaforce Records
2009 Sex-O Olympic-O 13th Planet Records/Megaforce Records
2009 Sex-O MiXXX-O 13th Planet Records/Megaforce Records
2010 Got Cock? 13th Planet Records/Megaforce Records
2011 Got Mixx? 13th Planet Records/Megaforce Records

with Lard[edit]

Date of release Title Label
1989 The Power of Lard Alternative Tentacles
1990 The Last Temptation of Reid Alternative Tentacles
1997 Pure Chewing Satisfaction Alternative Tentacles
2000 70's Rock Must Die Alternative Tentacles

Other releases[edit]

Date of release Band Title Label
1987 Pailhead "I Will Refuse" b/w "No Bunny" Wax Trax!
1988 Pailhead Trait (EP) Wax Trax!
1989 Acid Horse No Name, No Slogan (12") Wax Trax!
2011 Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters Bikers Welcome Ladies Drink Free 13th Planet Records/AFM Soulfood Records
2016 Surgical Meth Machine Surgical Meth Machine Nuclear Blast Records

Featured releases[edit]

Date of release Band Title Label Notes
1981 Special Affect Too Much Soft Living None (Special Affect Music) Full member (1979-1980).
1983 Alan Vega Saturn Strip Elektra Keyboards on Saturn Drive (track 1).
1989 Skinny Puppy Rabies Nettwerk Production, engineering, mixing, guitar and additional vocals.
1992 Skrew Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame Metal Blade Engineering and guitar.
1994 The Reverend Horton Heat Liquor in the Front Sub Pop / Interscope Production, pedal steel guitar, piano and vocals.
2008 False Icons[57] God Complex 13th Planet Records Mixing and production.
2010 Front Line Assembly Improvised Electronic Device Metropolis Production, vocals, lyrics, string arrangements, additional programming and mixing

on Stupidity (track 9).

2015 Coal Chamber Rivals Napalm Additional vocals on Suffer in Silence (track 4).
2018 Beauty In Chaos Finding Beauty In Chaos None (Bandcamp) Vocals on 20th Century Boy, originally composed by T. rex (track 4)
2020 Static-X Project Regeneration Otsego Entertainment Group Additional vocals on Dead Souls (track 12).

[58]

Solo releases[edit]

Date of release Title

Label

2010 Alien Christmas/It's Always Christmas Time 13th Planet Records

Notes[edit]

Commentaries[edit]

  1. ^ He is sometimes credited and referred to as Alain Jourgensen,[7][8] Alien Jourgensen,[7] Uncle Al,[9] Hypo Luxa (his alias as a producer), Dog, Alien Dog Star,[10] and Buck Satan.

Reference notes[edit]

References[edit]

Cited sources[edit]

  1. ^ Wiederhorn, Jon (March 27, 2013). "Ministry's Last Stand Brings Al Jourgensen 'From Beer to Eternity'". Noisey Vice. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  2. ^ CoS staff (August 28, 2014). "Top 11 Influential Minds of Industrial Metal". Consequence of Sound. 7. Al Jourgensen (Ministry). Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  3. ^ Kaufman, Spencer (January 19, 2014). "Ministry Mastermind Al Jourgensen to Enter Rehab for Alcohol Abuse". Loudwire. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  4. ^ Dean, John (October 14, 2013). "Before They Were Metal". Noisey Vice. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  5. ^ Rod Smith (March 27, 2014). "Wax Trax: An Introduction". Red Bull Music Academy Daily. Red Bull Music Academy. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  6. ^ Cadrey, Richard (March 1996). "Avalanche in 4/4". Pulse! – via Prongs.org archive.
  7. ^ a b Heim, Chris (December 29, 1989). "Ministry's Musical Vision Goes Beyond The City Limits". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Blush, Steven (October 1991). "Cult of Personality". Spin Magazine. Vol. 7, no. 7. pp. 77–78. Retrieved December 17, 2017 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Ohanesian, Liz (April 12, 2016). "To Get His Weed Card, Ministry's Al Jourgensen Said He Was Invisible — and It Worked". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  10. ^ "Ministry". Metal Storm. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  11. ^ Jourgensen, Al (September 8, 2015). Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen. Hachette Books. ISBN 978-0-306-82464-7.
  12. ^ a b c d Hilburn, Robert (August 2, 1992). "The Face of Fame, The Face of Anger". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  13. ^ "Ministry: Houses of the Mole (Sanctuary)". Reviews. CMJ New Music Report. No. 870. June 28, 2004. p. 6. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  14. ^ Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, p. XIII.
  15. ^ Graham Hartmann (November 4, 2016). "10 Greatest Industrial Rock + Metal Bands [Watch]". Loudwire. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  16. ^ Sean Edgar (November 15, 2017). "Photos: Death Grips & Ministry Combined for a Post-Industrial Maelstrom". Paste. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  17. ^ a b James Gill (August 16, 2016). "My Life Story | Ministry's Al Jourgensen". Metal Hammer. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  18. ^ Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, pp. 7–8. Jourgensen writes that his mother was 16 years old when she bore him.
  19. ^ Murphy, Tom (June 12, 2012). "Ministry's Al Jourgensen on his ties to Colorado: living in Breckenridge, attending Greeley High School and his ill-fated attempt at a rodeo career". Westword. Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  20. ^ [1] Archived May 21, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ MacIntosh, Dan (February 18, 2012). "Al Jourgensen of Ministry". Songfacts. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  22. ^ "Ministry's Al Jourgensen On The New "AmeriKKKant" Album, Steven Spielberg, Zero Day & More".
  23. ^ "Remember When: Ministry protested against robots in 'A.I. Artificial Intelligence'?Metal Insider". July 5, 2016.
  24. ^ Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, pp. 192–193.
  25. ^ "The Wicked Soundtrack By Al Jourgensen (Based on the Film "Wicked Lake") Various Artists". iTunes Preview. Apple, Inc. November 25, 2008. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  26. ^ "Wicked Lake (2008)". IMDb. 1990–2013. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  27. ^ "none". Hustler. November 2008.
  28. ^ Greg Prato (March 25, 2012). "Ministry 'Relapse' Once Again". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  29. ^ Currie, James (October 15, 2015). "Interview : Al Jourgensen Of Ministry And New Project Surgical Meth Machine". In The Loop Magazine. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  30. ^ "Interview with Al Jourgensen – Surgical Meth Machine – March 4th, 2016". Lithium Magazine. March 11, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  31. ^ "Ministry". www.facebook.com.
  32. ^ Ministry [@WeAreMinistry] (February 28, 2017). "Another night in the studio with @OGArabianPrince and Kelly Keys ... thanks for stopping by!pic.twitter.com/fE67xP9Wej" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  33. ^ a b "Al Jourgensen: Sex-O Olympic-O". SuicideGirls.com. March 12, 2009. Archived from the original on March 16, 2009. Retrieved March 12, 2009.
  34. ^ CYRUS_CRASHTEST (March 12, 2010). "CD Review: Revolting Cocks – 'Got Cock?'". soundsphere. soundsphere magazine. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  35. ^ Raggett, Ned. "1000 Homo DJs – Supernaut". AllMusic. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
  36. ^ True, Chris. "Acid Horse". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  37. ^ Hartmann, Graham (February 26, 2015). "Ministry's Al Jourgensen Announces Speed Metal Project Surgical Meth Machine Read More: Al Jourgensen Announces New Project Surgical Meth Machine". Loudwire. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  38. ^ Dimitris Kontogeorgakos (February 14, 2012). "RIGOR MORTIS Tap Al Jourgensen As Producer". Metal Kaoz. Metal Kaoz. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  39. ^ "Ministry – The Lost Gospels According To Al Jourgensen With Jon Wiederhorn (Da Capo Press)". Ave Noctum. July 8, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  40. ^ jason (September 15, 2008). "AL JOURGENSEN'S 13TH PLANET TO RELEASE "WICKED LAKE" SOUNDTRACK". The Gauntlet. The Gauntlet. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  41. ^ Acharya, Kiran. "Revolting Lots: Al Jourgensen's Favourite Ministry Albums". The Quietus. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  42. ^ Azerrad, Michael (December 2, 2012). Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground. Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-24718-4.
  43. ^ Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, pp. 50–51, 65.
  44. ^ Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, pp. 85, 230.
  45. ^ Robbins, Ira A., ed. (1985). "January 1984 / Milestones". The Rolling Stone Review. New York: Scribner's. p. 14–15. ISBN 0-684-18332-3. ISSN 8755-6324. LCCN 85642819. OCLC 1225857589 – via the Internet Archive.
  46. ^ danlowlite (October 9, 2002). "Al Jourgensen". Everything2. Everything2 Media, LLC. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  47. ^ Dennis M. Kelly (September 9, 2004). "Ministry Interview". Chicago Music Guide. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  48. ^ "MINISTRY's AL JOURGENSEN: Divorced, Happy And Starting New Project Called DUBWEISER". July 14, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  49. ^ Wiederhorn, Jon. "Outtakes from 'Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen' | NOISEY". Noisey.vice.com. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  50. ^ "Ministry's Al Jourgensen Arrested On Heroin Possession". MTV. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  51. ^ "Ministry's Al Jourgensen on how playing in a band is like 'Naked and Afraid'". Revolver. July 1, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  52. ^ Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, pp. 193–194.
  53. ^ Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, pp. 185–186.
  54. ^ "Ministry Founder Jourgensen Undergoes Foot Surgery". Contactmusic.com. Contactmusic.com Ltd. December 14, 2009. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  55. ^ Yücel, Ilker (March 3, 2012). "Al Jourgensen InterView: Surviving into Relapse". Regen Magazine. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  56. ^ Slug Magazine (October 30, 2013). "Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen Al Jourgensen with Jon Wiederhorn". Slug Magazine. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  57. ^ Blabbermouth (September 19, 2008). "FALSE ICONS Debut Produced By MINISTRY's AL JOURGENSEN". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  58. ^ "Goth titans united for supergroup Beauty In Chaos". The Big Issue. October 26, 2018.

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]