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

Last updated
ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ
Ministry-Psalm69.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 14, 1992
Recorded1991–92
Studio
Genre Industrial metal
Length44:41
Label Sire
Producer
Ministry chronology
In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up
(1990)
ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ
(1992)
Filth Pig
(1996)
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 or simply Psalm 69) is the fifth studio album by American industrial metal band Ministry, released on July 14, 1992 by Sire Records. It was produced by the band's official members, frontman Al Jourgensen and bassist Paul Barker, and was recorded from March 1991 to 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 .

Industrial metal is the fusion of heavy metal music and industrial music, typically employing repeating metal guitar riffs, sampling, synthesizer or sequencer lines, and distorted vocals. Prominent industrial metal acts include Ministry, Godflesh, KMFDM and Nine Inch Nails.

Ministry (band) American industrial metal band

Ministry is an American rock band founded in 1981 by Al Jourgensen in Chicago, Illinois. Originally a synth-pop outfit, Ministry's sound changed as they became one of the pioneers of industrial metal in the late 1980s. The band's lineup has frequently changed throughout its history, with the exception of Jourgensen who is the band's main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. Notable musicians who have contributed to the band's studio or live activities include vocalists Nivek Ogre, Chris Connelly and Burton C. Bell, guitarists Mike Scaccia and Tommy Victor, bassists Paul Barker, Paul Raven, Jason Christopher, Tony Campos and Paul D'Amour, drummers Bill Rieflin, Martin Atkins, Rey Washam and Roy Mayorga, keyboardist John Bechdel, and rappers/producers DJ Swamp and Arabian Prince.

Sire Records is an American record label that is owned by Warner Music Group and distributed by Warner Records.

Contents

Psalm 69 features elements of speed metal, rockabilly, and psychobilly, with lyrics exploring with social, political, and religious topics. With much anticipation following the success of Ministry's previous album The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste (1989), pressures on the band were said to be high, in addition to the growing substance abuse of several members and worsening relationships between them. It was also the first time Mike Scaccia had been significantly involved in a Ministry album, after appearing on tours in support of The Mind....

Speed metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music that originated in the late 1970s from new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) roots. It is described by AllMusic as "extremely fast, abrasive, and technically demanding" music.

Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music, dating back to the early 1950s in the United States, especially the South. As a genre it blends the sound of Western musical styles such as country with that of rhythm and blues, leading to what is considered "classic" rock and roll. Some have also described it as a blend of bluegrass with rock and roll. The term "rockabilly" itself is a portmanteau of "rock" and "hillbilly", the latter a reference to the country music that contributed strongly to the style. Other important influences on rockabilly include western swing, boogie-woogie, jump blues, and electric blues.

<i>The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste</i> 1989 studio album by Ministry

The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste is the fourth studio album by American industrial metal band Ministry, released on November 14, 1989 by Sire Records. The music took a more hardcore, aggressively guitar-driven direction, with Jourgensen inspired by Stormtroopers of Death and Rigor Mortis to add thrash metal guitars to the album and subsequent Ministry releases. As with most of Ministry's work, the album's lyrics deal mainly with political corruption, cultural violence, environmental degradation, nuclear war, drug addiction, and insanity.

Preceded by lead single "Jesus Built My Hotrod", Psalm 69 was a critical and commercial success upon its release, peaking at number 27 on the US Billboard 200 and number 33 on the UK Albums Chart. It was supported with two more singles: "N.W.O." and "Just One Fix", with accompanying music videos directed by Peter Christopherson. Psalm 69 is considered to be Ministry's most successful album, having been certified gold in the United States, Canada, and Australia, and platinum in the US. Following its release, Ministry joined 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. "N.W.O." was nominated for the Best Metal Performance at the 35th Annual Grammy Awards.

Jesus Built My Hotrod 1991 single by Ministry

"Jesus Built My Hotrod" is a song by American industrial metal band Ministry, released as the first single from their fifth studio album, Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs. It was written by the band's frontman Al Jourgensen, bassist Paul Barker, drummer Bill Rieflin, session keyboardist Michael Balch, and the Butthole Surfers lead singer Gibby Haynes, and was co-produced by Jourgensen and Barker. An industrial metal track, it features elements of rockabilly and psychobilly, and is influenced by the Trashmen 1963 hit "Surfin' Bird", and Flannery O'Connor's novel Wise Blood; the song's instrumentation is defined by its polyrhythmic structure.

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

The Official Albums Chart is a list of albums ranked by physical and digital sales and audio streaming in the United Kingdom. It was published for the first time on 22 July 1956 and is compiled every week by the Official Charts Company (OCC) on Fridays. It is broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and published in Music Week magazine, and on the OCC website.

Background and recording

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 [lower-alpha 1] 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 (née 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]

Revolting Cocks band

Revolting Cocks, also known as RevCo, are an American–Belgian industrial rock band and, sometimes, supergroup that began as a musical side-project for Richard 23 of Front 242, Luc van Acker, and Al Jourgensen of Ministry.

<i>Beers, Steers, and Queers</i> 1990 studio album by Revolting Cocks

Beers, Steers + Queers is the second studio album by American–Belgian industrial rock band Revolting Cocks. Released in May 1990, the album was supported by three singles and was reissued several times. Its sound is industrial and built upon repetitive percussion and samples. David Jeffries of AllMusic described Beers, Steers + Queers as dominating college radio and clubs. The album's supporting tour was recalled by Chris Connelly as "ridiculous" and particularly chaotic.

Al Jourgensen musician

Allen David Jourgensen is a Cuban-American singer-songwriter, musician and music producer. Closely related with the independent record label Wax Trax! Records, Jourgensen has an active musical career that spans four decades, and is best known as the frontman of the industrial rock band Ministry, which he founded in 1981 and of which he remains the only constant member. He was also primary musician of several Ministry-related projects, such as Revolting Cocks, Lard, Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters. He has also produced and/or recorded with numerous other artists, including The Reverend Horton Heat, Prong, Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, The Blackouts, Alan Vega, Iggy Pop, Adrian Sherwood, Jello Biafra and others. Jourgensen is regarded as being one of the most prominent figures of industrial music,</ref> influencing numerous other groups and musicians, both in alternative and industrial-associated acts.

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]

Paul Gordon Barker, also referred to as Hermes Pan, is the former bass guitarist, producer and engineer of the industrial metal band Ministry from 1986 to 2003. Prior to Ministry, Barker provided bass for the Seattle post-punk ensemble The Blackouts alongside future Ministry drummer Bill Rieflin and his brother, one-time Ministry touring keyboardist/saxophonist Roland Barker, from 1979 until 1985.

William Frederick "Bill" Rieflin is an American musician.

Chris Connelly (musician) Musician, songwriter, author

Chris Connelly is a Scottish musician and author who became famous for his industrial music work of the late 1980s and early 1990s, particularly his involvement with the Revolting Cocks and Ministry. He has since established himself as an alternative singer-songwriter, and continues to release solo albums.

The last songs included for the album, the instrumental tracks “Corrosion” and “Grace”, were written mainly by Barker and recorded in February–March 1992; [15] the album’s last session was held on May 7, 1992. [1] Over fifteen months were spent on the recording, however, only nine of about thirty songs made its way onto the final cut, with the rest being distributed to side projects. [6] :53 [16]

Etymology

The title of the album is 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 Ξ Θ 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 have hidden tracks at track #69.

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [17]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [18]
Entertainment Weekly A− [19]
Kerrang! 3/5 [20]
Los Angeles Times Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [21]
Q Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [22]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [23]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [24]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 8/10 [25]
The Village Voice A− [26]

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". [27] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die . [28]

Accolades

"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". [29]

Legacy

Video game composer Frank Klepacki cited Psalm 69 album as a primary influence in creating the soundtrack for the 1995 video game Command & Conquer . [30]

Track listing

All songs credited to Ministry, except noted. [31] Writing credits taken from ASCAP and BMI databases. [32] [33]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."N.W.O."5:31
2."Just One Fix"
5:11
3."TV II"
3:04
4."Hero"
  • Jourgensen
  • Barker
  • Rieflin
4:13
5."Jesus Built My Hotrod" (featuring Gibby Haynes)
4:51
6."Scarecrow"
  • Jourgensen
  • Barker
  • Scaccia
  • Rieflin
  • Balch
8:21
7."Psalm 69"
  • Jourgensen
  • Barker
5:29
8."Corrosion"
  • Jourgensen
  • Barker
4:56
9."Grace"
3:05

Chart positions and certifications

Music certifications
YearCountryAwardCopies sold
1992 Canada [40] Gold50,000
1993 United States [41] Gold500,000
1995Platinum1,000,000
2006 Australia [42] Gold35,000

Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of the album. [31]

Notes

  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]

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References

Citations

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  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.”
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Bibliography