Thieves (Ministry song)

Last updated
Song by Ministry
from the album The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste
Studio Chicago Trax Studios
Genre Industrial metal [1]
Songwriter(s) [nb 1]
  • Hypo Luxa
  • Hermes Pan

"Thieves" is a song by American industrial metal band Ministry. It was released as the opening track from the band's fourth studio album, The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste (1989), [4] as well as the B-side from its single, "Burning Inside". [5] The song's lyrics deal mainly with political corruption. The song includes dialogue samples from R. Lee Ermey's drill instructor character in Full Metal Jacket . Ministry's version was featured in the 1992 science fiction film Freejack , also in the 2009 video game Brütal Legend .



The chorus of "Thieves" is influenced by "Mr. Suit" by the English band Wire.

The song is based on a harmonic stasis. It features the extensive use of E minor chord. 118 out of 138 measures of the song are based on the same E minor chord, while the rest are F minor chords. Al Jourgensen sings only the G note, while the song "shifts gears rhythmically" through its sections and quadruples its tempo. [6]

Tom Moon, the author of 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die , wrote, "At the two minute mark of "Thieves" and several times later in the song, Ministry's pulse is bolstered by what sounds like a whirring pneumatic drill. It's not a gimmick—it almost functions as a solo guitar, adding punctuation." [7]



Additional personnel

Limp Bizkit cover

Single by Limp Bizkit
ReleasedNovember 1, 2013 (2013-11-01)
Format Digital download
Label Cash Money
  • Al Jourgensen
  • Paul Barker
  • Chris Connelly
  • Nivek Ogre
Limp Bizkit singles chronology
"Ready to Go"
"Endless Slaughter"

American rap rock band Limp Bizkit covered parts of this song during Woodstock 99 [8] as well as releasing their cover version of "Thieves" as a single via Twitter on November 1, 2013 for free download. [9] [10] Limp Bizkit performed it throughout many of the band's live sets since 1997, but the band did not release a studio version until 2013. [11] Limp Bizkit's version does not include the samples that are on Ministry's version.

Axl Rosenberg of MetalSucks criticized the cover, stating that the band "butchered" the song. [12]


Limp Bizkit


  1. Nivek Ogre was credited by his legal name, Kevin Ogilvie, in the liner notes of The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste. [2] In the liner notes of an audio version of the live album In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up , Bill Rieflin was credited as a co-writer, instead of Ogre. [3]

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  1. Greg Prato. "Twitched - Ministry". AllMusic . All Media Network . Retrieved November 4, 2017. While nothing here is exactly on par with such industrial metal classics as 'Stigmata' or 'Thieves,' you can certainly see that the seeds for future triumphs are planted on the album-opening 'Just Like You' and the Nine Inch Nails-esque 'We Believe.'
  2. "Track listing". The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste (CD booklet). Ministry. Sire Records. 1989. 9 26004-2.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. "Track listing". In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up (CD booklet). Ministry. Sire Records. 1990. 9 26266-2.CS1 maint: others (link)
  4. Harrison, Thomas (2011). Music of the 1980s. ABC-CLIO. p. 63. ISBN   0313365997 . Retrieved March 15, 2013.
  5. Byrom, Cory D. (January 8, 2006). "Ministry: Rantology". Pitchfork . Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  6. Reed, S. Alexandre (2013). Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music . Oxford University Press. pp.  257 . Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  7. Moon, Tom (2008). 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die . Workman Publishing. p.  505. ISBN   0761153853 . Retrieved August 25, 2018 via Internet Archive.
  8. "Limp Bizkit - Full Concert - 07/24/99 - Woodstock 99 East Stage (OFFICIAL)". youtube. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  9. Barkan, Jonathan (November 1, 2013). "[Free Download] Limp Bizkit Release Their Cover Of Ministry's "Thieves"". Bloody Disgusting . Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  10. Túlio, Marcelo (November 1, 2013). "New Limp Bizkit song "Thieves" is out now!" . Retrieved March 15, 2013.
  11. "LIMP BIZKIT: Cover Version Of MINISTRY's 'Thieves' Available For Free Download". November 4, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
  12. Rosenberg, Axl (November 5, 2013). "Limp Bizkit Ruin Guns N' Roses, Ministry". MetalSucks . Retrieved March 20, 2014.