Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs

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Studio album by Ministry
Released July 14, 1992
Recorded 1991–1992
Studio Chicago Trax Studios (Chicago, IL); Royal Recorders (Lake Geneva, WI)
Genre Industrial metal
Length 44:38
Ministry chronology
In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up
(1990)In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up1990
Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs
Filth Pig
(1996)Filth Pig1996
Singles from Psalm 69
  1. "Jesus Built My Hotrod"
    Released: November 7, 1991
  2. "N.W.O."
    Released: July 1992
  3. "Just One Fix"
    Released: January 21, 1993

ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ, commonly known as Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs and simply referred to as Psalm 69, is the fifth studio album by an American rock band Ministry, released by Sire and Warner Bros. Records on July 14, 1992. It was produced by the band's official members, frontman Al Jourgensen and bassist Paul Barker, and was recorded during fifteen months from March 1991 to early May 1992, in Chicago and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The album's title, initially intended to be The Tapes of Wrath, ended up being derived from Alister Crowley's The Book of Lies. With much anticipation for the album following the success of Ministry's previous studio album, The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste, pressures on the band were said to be high, in addition to the growing substance abuse of several band members, as well as worsening relationships between them. It was also the first time that Mike Scaccia had been significantly involved in a Ministry album, after appearing on tours in support of The Mind....

An industrial metal record, Psalm 69 features elements of speed metal, rockabilly and psychobilly, with lyrics exploring with social, political and religious topics. Preceded by the first single, “Jesus Built My Hotrod”, the record was a major success, peaking at No. 27 in the main Billboard chart, and No. 33 in the UK Album Chart. On release, the album was supported with two more singles, “N.W.O.” and “Just One Fix”; the accompanying videos for these songs were both directed by Peter Christopherson, and the latter featured Beat Generation writer William S. Burroughs. Following the release of the album Ministry joined to the second annual Lollapalooza tour, before commencing a tour through Europe and the US; “N.W.O.”, “Just One Fix” and the title track have become permanent features of the band's live setlist. Positively received by music critics, Psalm 69 is considered Ministry's most successful album; it has been certified gold in the US, Canada and Australia, and has been certified platinum in the US. “N.W.O.” was nominated for the Best Metal Performance at the 35th Annual Grammy Awards.

Background and recording[edit]

In March 1991, following the conclusion of the year-long tour in support of Revolting Cocks album Beers, Steers, and Queers, Al Jourgensen returned with his bandmates at Chicago Trax! studios, to work on Ministry's next major release.[1][2][3] Jourgensen claimed that the record company Warner Bros. Records (to which Ministry were signed via their subsidiary, Sire Records) initially gave the band an enormous budget[a] expecting The Mind...' follow-up to become a big hit compared with Michael Jackson's album Thriller; actually, Jourgensen, as he claimed in 2013, with his then-wife Patty (neé Marsh) and guitarist Mike Scaccia spent most of budget on drugs, paying $1,000 per day.[4][9][10] Meanwhile, the first Lollapalooza tour had arrived in Chicago in early August 1991. Jourgensen went backstage attending a show by the band Butthole Surfers. After the gig, he had invited Butthole Surfers' singer Gibby Haynes at Chicago Trax! to record what became the vocals and spoken word parts for the song “Jesus Built My Hotrod”.[6]:55[1][7][4][11] While finishing “Jesus Built My Hotrod”, Jourgensen was contacted by Sire/Warner Bros. executives, who asked if he had any completed material. Jourgensen sent them “Jesus Built My Hotrod” since it was the only song recorded by this time. While the label was not happy with just having “Jesus Built My Hotrod”, Jourgensen told them either to give another advance for further work or sign the band off. The label was doubtful if the band would record anything else, but decided to release “Jesus Built My Hotrod”; following its success, they gave the band necessary budget, with the condition that the band would eventually finish the record.[4][12]

Besides drug problems, there was also growing animosity between the band's members, divided into two groups: while one group included Jourgensen and Scaccia, another—dubbed “the Book Club” by Jourgensen—included bassist Paul Barker, drummer Bill Rieflin and guest/live singer Chris Connelly.[13] Jourgensen claimed that he and Scaccia added their parts separately from Barker, Rieflin and Connelly; once Jourgensen and Scaccia would come in, they erased about 80 percent of what the Book Club associates did.[14]


The title of the album is directly linked to chapter 69 of The Book of Lies, a written work of Aleister Crowley, where he uses the expression "The way to succeed and the way to suck eggs" as a pun for the 69 sex position ("suck seed" and "suck eggs"). Moreover, Crowley titled the chapter ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ, Greek κεφαλη or "head" and ΞΘ or "69" (both slang in English for oral sex - but not the original ancient Greek words).

Subsequent to the album's release, Ministry put multiple references to the number 69 in future albums. For example, the albums Dark Side of the Spoon and Houses of the Molé both had hidden tracks with a track number of 69.

Reception and awards[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[15]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[16]
Entertainment Weekly A−[17]
Kerrang! 3/5[18]
Los Angeles Times 4/4 stars[19]
Q 3/5 stars[20]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[21]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[22]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 8/10[23]
The Village Voice A−[24]

"N.W.O." was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance at the Grammy Awards of 1993, but lost to Nine Inch Nails' "Wish".[25] Psalm 69 was ranked #80 on the Rolling Stone’s “Top 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time” list, with author Suzy Exposito concluding that "the result of the album was a manic drag race into a swampy hellmouth of thrash Americana – and it worked. Psalm 69 went platinum and peaked at Number 27 on the Billboard 200, allowing other industrial acts passage into the charts, including Marilyn Manson, Rammstein and Orgy". [26] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[27]

Track listing[edit]

All songs credited to Ministry, except noted.[28] Writing credits taken from ASCAP and BMI databases.[29][30]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "N.W.O." 5:31
2. "Just One Fix"
3. "TV II"
4. "Hero"
  • Jourgensen
  • Barker
  • Rieflin
5. "Jesus Built My Hotrod" (featuring Gibby Haynes)
6. "Scarecrow"
  • Jourgensen
  • Barker
  • Scaccia
  • Rieflin
  • Balch
7. "Psalm 69"
  • Jourgensen
  • Barker
8. "Corrosion"
  • Jourgensen
  • Barker
9. "Grace"

Chart positions and certifications[edit]

Music certifications
Year Country Award Copies sold
1992 Canada[37] Gold 50,000
1993 United States[38] Gold 500,000
1995 Platinum 1,000,000
2006 Australia[39] Gold 35,000


Credits adapted from the liner notes of the album.[28]


  1. ^ In 2013, Jourgensen claimed that Psalm 69’s initial budget costed $750,000, with $750,000 added during further production.[4][5] Contemporary 1990’s articles on Ministry estimated Psalm 69’s overall bill being three times over budget, with $329,000 being spent.[6]:53[7][8]



  1. ^ a b Punter, Jenine (November 1992). "Ministry: The Medium Is The Message" (scan). Spotlight. Music Express. Vol. 17 no. 177. p. 12 – via archive. 
  2. ^ "An Interview with Mr. Michael Balch". Last Sigh (Interview). Interviewed by Kim Alexander. September 24, 1999. Archived from the original on May 14, 2003. Retrieved June 1, 2018. 
  3. ^ Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, p. 220: "[Mike Scaccia]: I came in right after the Mind was recorded, and after the tour we went to work on Psalm 69."
  4. ^ a b c d Dan MacIntosh (February 18, 2012). "Al Jourgensen of Ministry". Songfacts. Retrieved March 4, 2018. 
  5. ^ Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, pp. 129–130, 132.
  6. ^ a b Gitter, Mike (October 1992). "Ministry". Pulse!. pp. 53–55. Retrieved May 18, 2018 – via archive. 
  7. ^ a b Greene 1993, p. 40.
  8. ^ Reed, S. Alexander (2013). Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 276. ISBN 9780199832606 – via Google Books. 
  9. ^ Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, pp. 129–130.
  10. ^ Acharya, Kiran (April 27, 2016). "Revolting Lots: Al Jourgensen's Favourite Ministry Albums". The Quietus. p. 7. Retrieved March 3, 2018. 
  11. ^ Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, pp. 131, 159–160.
  12. ^ Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, p. 132.
  13. ^ Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, pp. 130, 132.
  14. ^ Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, p. 133: “[...] The routine was the same as before. Mikey and I would go into the studio and record stuff all night, and then we’d leave. Then the Book Club would come in and add their parts. The next day we’d come in and erase 80 percent of what they’d done and continue what we were doing. It got really tense.”
  15. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs – Ministry". AllMusic. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2017. 
  16. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  17. ^ DiMartino, Dave (July 31, 1992). "Psalm 69". Entertainment Weekly. No. 129. Retrieved December 1, 2017. 
  18. ^ Kaye, Don (11 July 1992). "Ministry 'Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs'". Kerrang!. No. 400. London, UK: EMAP. 
  19. ^ Gold, Jonathan (July 12, 1992). "Ministry Crosses Over..." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  20. ^ "Ministry: Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs". Q. No. 72. September 1992. p. 78. 
  21. ^ "Ministry: Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs". Rolling Stone. September 17, 1992. p. 91. 
  22. ^ McLeod, Kembrew (2004). "Ministry". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 544–545. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved December 1, 2017. 
  23. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). "Ministry". Spin Alternative Record Guide. New York: Vintage Books. pp. 250–251. ISBN 0-679-75574-8. 
  24. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 20, 1992). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  25. ^ (4 December 2008). "MINISTRY Mainman Comments On Fifth GRAMMY Nomination - Dec. 4, 2008". Warner Music Group. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  26. ^ Exposito, Suzy. "The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 10, 2017. 
  27. ^ Andrew Tijs (2005). "Ministry: Psalm 69 (1992)". In Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon. 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Universe. p. 695. ISBN 0789313715. 
  28. ^ a b ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ (CD booklet). Ministry. Sire Records. 1992. 9 26727-2. 
  29. ^ "Ministry". American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  30. ^ "BMI | Repertoire Search". BMI. Retrieved December 10, 2017. 
  31. ^ Billboard (1 August 1992). "Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed & the Way to Suck Eggs - Ministry". Billboard. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  32. ^ "MINISTRY". (in German). PHONONET GmbH. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  33. ^ (2012). "MINISTRY - ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ (PSALM 69) (ALBUM)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  34. ^ a b Official Charts Company (2012). "MINISTRY". Official Charts Company. The Official UK Charts Company. Archived from the original on 4 January 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  35. ^ (2012). "Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  36. ^ "Ministry - Charts & Awards - Billboard Singles". AllMusic. 
  37. ^ "Gold & Platinum Certification". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 2012-05-28. 
  38. ^ "RIAA certifications". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on 2012-07-15. 
  39. ^ "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2006 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 


  • Fontenoy, Richard (2003). "Ministry". In Buckley, Peter. The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. pp. 675–676. ISBN 9781843531050 – via Google Books. 
  • Greene, Jo-Ann (April 2, 1993). "Ministry". Goldmine (scans). Vol. 19 no. 7 (331). pp. 26, 28, 32, 38, 40. ISSN 1055-2685 – via archive. 
  • Jourgensen, Al; Wiederhorn, Jon (July 9, 2013). Ministry: The Lost Gospels According To Al Jourgensen. Boston, MA: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0306822186 – via Internet Archive. 

External links[edit]