Paul Barker

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This article is about the musician. For the writer, see Paul Barker (writer).
Paul Barker
Also known as Hermes Pan, Ion Barker
Born (1959-02-08) February 8, 1959 (age 58)
Palo Alto, California
Genres Industrial metal, alternative metal, post-punk, alternative rock
Instruments Vocals, bass, keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, piano, drum machine
Years active 1980–present
Labels Sire, Warner Bros., Sanctuary, Alternative Tentacles, Wax Trax!
Associated acts The Blackouts, Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Lard, 1000 Homo DJs, PTP, Acid Horse, Lead into Gold, Pink Anvil, Stayte, U.S.S.A., Flowering Blight

Paul Barker (born February 8, 1959 in Palo Alto, California), also referred to as Hermes Pan, is the former bass guitarist, producer and engineer of the industrial metal band Ministry from 1986 to 2004. Prior to Ministry, Barker provided bass for the Seattle No Wave ensemble The Blackouts alongside future Ministry drummer Bill Rieflin and his brother, one-time Ministry touring keyboardist/saxophonist Roland Barker, from 1979 until 1985.


Beginning as touring bassist for Ministry's 1986 Twitch tour, Barker collaborated with frontman Al Jourgensen and collectively released The Land of Rape and Honey in 1988. Although many musicians briefly contributed to Ministry in the nearly two decade period after Barker joined the band, he and Jourgensen were the only continuous members. The dynamics between these two different personalities came to shape Ministry's sound, along with a number of side-projects which they were involved in together.

In 2003, Barker left the band a year after the release of their eighth album Animositisomina. The decision was cemented after the death of his father. Despite being in Ministry for almost 18 years, Jourgensen did not do anything to spur his departure. “Over the years we’ve had strained relations as well as good times, and the last tour was no different than any other tour. That means it was extremely difficult and very intense and lots of fun,” Barker had said.[1]

It is often believed that Jourgensen and Barker were close bandmates and the latter played a huge creative role in the band. Jourgensen rebuffed these claims saying that their relationship was more like an arranged marriage and "acrimonious." He said that they were never friends but as business partners. In addition, he describes Barker as a poor bassist and called him the "Book Club" and "pseudo-intellectual" who would always cover Jourgensen's drug habits in the press.[2] Since leaving Ministry, Barker has distanced himself from Jourgensen and the two almost have nothing good to say about their relationship in the band.

“I don’t even want to talk about [Paul Barker] ever! He is old news! He was a bass player for God’s sake! Obviously I’ve been doing a lot better work since we split, but because I wouldn’t do interviews – I was always secluded like fuckin’ Garbo, in the room, shooting heroin – people had the perception that he was Ministry, or certainly half of Ministry or that he was becoming Ministry. But that wasn’t the case. Since we split he’s had nothing out! He hasn’t joined any band, he hasn’t done anything. Me, I’ve got records out! So it’s obvious to me what the fuck was going on there. And that’s all I’ll say about it.”

— Al Jourgensen[3]

In his autobiography, Jourgensen revealed that Barker had been pilfering his finances for many years, using the frontman's drug problems to his advantage. Jourgensen's manager and ex-wife Angie confronted Barker in 2003 and he did not deny anything.[2]

Barker was quoted in a 2011 interview that it was "tough to watch" the band's "Fix: The Ministry Movie" documentary as he could no longer associate himself with the band.[4] When asked in a 2015 interview if he will ever work with Jourgensen again, he replied, "I’m fairly confident we will not work together. We have zero relationship now." When asked why he left Ministry, he said because he was no longer willing to put up with the stupidity and decided that it was enough.[5]

Barker has since moved on to other things and in 2016, he seems to have made peace with Ministry more or less. "Of course, that was a very intense time and extremely rewarding. That was quite a while ago and I rarely think about it. I'm still fascinated with the heaviest, ugliest music and it's now hard to find the time for those pursuits. I am not in direct contact with Al these days."[6]


Since 2004, Barker has spent his time recording new material, producing such acts as I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness and collaborating with artists such as Stayte (on their 2007 'Cognitive Dissonance (The Art Of Lying To Yourself)' EP). He joined U.S.S.A. with Duane Denison (Tomahawk, ex-The Jesus Lizard) as bassist. The first album from his solo project Flowering Blight,[7][8] entitled 'The Perfect Pair', was released on November 19, 2008 via the official website.

Barker released Fix This!!! on April 10, 2012. This album features guests such as Chris Connelly, Ogre, Taylor Momsen, Puscifer, Alexis S.F. Marshall, Joshua Bradford, and Devix Szell.[9]

Paul is also one of the founders of Malekko Heavy Industry Corporation, a manufacturer of synthesizer modules and guitar effect pedals.[10]



  1. ^ Wiederhorn, Jon. "FOUNDING BASSIST PAUL BARKER LEAVES MINISTRY". MTV News. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Jourgensen, Al; Wiederhorn, Jon (2013). Ministry: The Lost Gospels According To Al Jourgensen. Da Capo Press. 
  3. ^ McNamee, David. "Ministry: "You don't get a lot of work done waiting for dealers"". Team Rock. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  4. ^ Baltin, Steve. "Ex-Ministry Bassist Says 'Ministry Movie' Tough to Watch". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  5. ^ keating, kevin. "An Interview with Paul Barker (11/20/15)". San Francisco Bay Area Concerts. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  6. ^ Rambo, Nick. "The Darkest Place in Portland: Malekko Heavy Industry". Tone Report. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  7. ^ "Ministry - Homepage". Retrieved 19 June 2016. 
  8. ^ "Flowering Blight website". Retrieved 19 June 2016. 
  9. ^ "Ministry - Homepage". Retrieved 19 June 2016. 
  10. ^ "Malekko Heavy Industry". Retrieved 19 June 2016.