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Don't Stand In Line: A Memoir by Gerda Barker Out Now!

(Cover photo: Courtesy of the Author)

How one woman navigated a man’s world of music and art

and law and kept her head above the waves—a Chicago story.

"It's a story about people I've loved and some I couldn't STAND" - Gerda Barker

Don't Stand In Line: A Memoir by Gerda Barker talks about her early life in Chicago, meeting a bunch of artists and eventually getting a job at Wax Trax! Records, the legendary company that started as a store then added a label to the mix. It was at Wax Trax where Gerda Barker met Al Jourgensen, later meeting his bandmate and her future husband, Paul Barker. Wax Trax! Records released Ministry's first record, "Cold Life" in 1981.

Gerda Barker became a lawyer, utilizing her skills to help artists like her husband thrive in the Industrial Music and Chicago art scenes. In that realm she befriended artists such as Trent Reznor, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, OhGr and many more, forming deep trusting relationships with such icons as Cynthia Plaster Caster and others on the scene. Gerda Barker observed history in the making.

Gerda Barker shares, "The book details my relationship with Paul, with Ministry in its heyday (along with all the side projects), the move to Austin to (ostensibly) have Ministry's own studio up and running there, etc. The Grammy nominations, Bridge School Benefit, Lollapalooza 1992 (when I was pregnant with our first kiddo)." Don't Stand In Line: A Memoir is also a sobering and sometimes funny look at sobriety.

Buy Don't Stand In Line:


(At St. John The Divine: photo by Ursula Barker)


Gerda Barker is an American writer, editor, former criminal defense lawyer and wife of a rock star. As a child of Polish immigrants in inner city Chicago, she discovered the world of art and music was vital to her American dream. Wax Trax! Records hired her, the criminal defense bar welcomed her, and she witnessed firsthand as Chicago became a hub and birthplace for industrial rock music.

(On the road to Las Vegas: Courtesy of the Author)

(Engagement Photo 1988: photo by Sue Bowman)

(Rick Buscher of Raymilland with Gerda: Courtesy of the Author)


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