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

Last updated
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 14, 1992
Genre Industrial metal
Label Sire
Ministry chronology
In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up
Filth Pig
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 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 Aleister Crowley's The Book of Lies .


Psalm 69 features elements of speed metal, rockabilly, and psychobilly, with lyrics exploring 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....

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 by 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 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.

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 the 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 to 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 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]


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 (which translates literally as "shrugged" and contains the sound ΛΗΞ "licks") but has a second meaning as a compound of Greek κεφαλη ("head") and Ξ Θ (an encoded alphabetic reference to "69") which both have slang meanings in English for sexual acts).

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.


Professional ratings
Review scores
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]


"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]


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]

2."Just One Fix"
3."TV II"
  • Jourgensen
  • Barker
  • Rieflin
5."Jesus Built My Hotrod" (featuring Gibby Haynes)
  • Jourgensen
  • Barker
  • Scaccia
  • Rieflin
  • Balch
7."Psalm 69"
  • Jourgensen
  • Barker
  • Jourgensen
  • Barker

Chart positions and certifications

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


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


  1. In 2013, Jourgensen claimed that Psalm 69’s initial budget was $750,000, with $750,000 added during further production. [4] [5] Contemporaneous 1990s 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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