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. In his early years, he had developed an early interest to music, 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. Jourgensen's 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 had 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 inflicted heavy damage on his creative output; during this period, he made, along with Ministry, an appearance 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 early 2010s. He published his autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels . . . co-authored with Jon Wiederhorn, in 2013.