PAUL BARKER Leaves MINISTRY

Bassist Paul Barker has left MINISTRY after 18 years with the industrial-metal pioneers, according to MTV.com.

"Last summer Al was extremely enthusiastic about the possibilities of what the band could do, and I wasn't as excited. I thought, 'What are we going to do and what am I going to get out of it?' and I realized that now would be the perfect time to bow out," Barker told MTV.com.

According to Barker, his decision to leave the band was cemented by the death of his father on the final night of MINISTRY's summer European tour.

"When something like that happens, you tend to reassess what the hell you're doing and wonder what it's all about and whether it's ultimately satisfying," Barker said. "I kept thinking, 'What have I learned in the past 18 years?' "

Barker told MTV.com that he plans to produce other groups and write music on his own.

"I wanna make big, ugly, heavy music because that's what I love," he said. "But it's pop music. It has verses and choruses. It's not abstract and experimental."

As previously reported, MINISTRY have hired John Monte (ex-MIND FUNK, M.O.D.) to replace Barker, and they're in the studio in Tornillo, Texas, working on the follow-up to 2003's "Animositisomina", titled "Houses of the Molé". A late spring release through Sanctuary Records is expected.

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