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« on: December 31, 2004, 12:36:35 AM »

Parody Band Busting Charts with Biblical Truth and Music Blend

by Jenni Parker
December 30, 2004

(AgapePress) - An award-winning Christian band is making a hilarious mark on the music world with their unique repertoire of biblical parodies -- songs that combine scriptural truth and clever humor with classic and modern rock, pop, and hip-hop hits.

Perhaps every ApologetiX CD should carry a parental warning label: "This album contains explicitly Christian lyrics." And another caveat could be added -- listening to these songs may bring out the hidden headbanger in mom and dad and have them laughing, singing or even playing air guitar right along with the kids.

ApologetiX (left to right): Karl Messner (lead guitar), Keith Haynie (bass guitar), Bill Reiger (drums), J. Jackson (vocals) (Photo compliments of ApologetiX.com)
ApologetiX is an independent "parody band" based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but traveling extensively throughout the U.S. The group performs at churches, coffee shops, festivals, and other concert venues, rocking hard and hammy, whether for a small room of appreciative fans or for a stadium of tens of thousands. The band's mission is twofold: to reach those who do not know Christ, and to teach those who already do.

For ApologetiX co-founder, lead singer and lyricist J. Jackson, getting to perform the musical styles he loves is a bonus. For more than a decade he has been rewriting the hits of pop artists from the iconic to the infamous, and parodying them memorably and hilariously, whether it's Elvis or Eminem.

For a sampling, there's "Boy Tell the World," a song about the prophet Jeremiah as seen through the eyes of Baruch, his admiring scribe, and sung to the tune of Three Dog Night's rock classic "Joy to the World." Then there is "Choose Your Daddy," which sets forth the biblical choice between God and Mammon a la Toby Keith's country and western "Who's Your Daddy?" And although "The Spittle" touts itself as "a song about spit," this pop parody of "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World is a cute retelling of some of Christ's saliva-enhanced miracle healings. Learning about the Bible was never more fun or more danceable.

Jackson started writing parodies and singing as a child, and then he sang in a number of garage and bar bands from 1982 to 1987. But after he became a born-again Christian in 1988, he tossed out over 1,000 records, tapes, and CDs, never expecting to make use of them again. Then, about two years later, while he was learning to play guitar, he found himself faced with a dilemma.

"I wanted to learn some of the old rock songs," ApologetiX's co-founder says, "but I didn't want to sing the old words. At the same time, I was heavily into learning and memorizing scripture, so I started writing biblical parodies." That move allowed Jackson to learn the Bible and the guitar at the same time, he says, adding, "I never dreamed it would turn into my full-time occupation!"

The singer-songwriter says he sang some of his parodies for a fellow musician, Karl Messner, who began playing and practicing regularly with him. As they became close friends, the band was born, although it would not have a name or play a concert until 1992.

Since ApologetiX began, Jackson has penned more than 500 songs, and the band has recorded nine albums. They are calling their latest CD, New and Used Hits, their best to date, and not only because it is subtitled "Best of ApologetiX, Vol. 1 & 2." The two-disc set contains a whole CD's worth of new material, including seven brand new tracks and seven "new and improved" live versions of the band's previously recorded hits, and several songs formerly available only on fan-club releases.

Besides pleasing fans on the concert circuit, ApologetiX is also doing well on the charts with its unique brand of musical ministry, often referred to as "Billy Graham meets Weird Al Yankovic." The group recently received the 2004 American Christian Music Award for Alternative Artist of the Year and for Alternative Song of the Year for its "Lifestyles of the Rich & the Nameless," which tells the story from Luke 16 about Lazarus the beggar and the "nameless" rich man who failed to share with him. And just this week they were named Favorite Indie Artist in the 2004 CCM Magazine Reader's Choice Awards.

ApologetiX is also being considered for a 2005 Grammy Award nomination in the Gospel Rock Album of the Year and Comedy Album of the Year categories, and for Dove Award nominations in several categories, including Recorded Song of the Year/Hip-Hop for "Look Yourself," a parody of Eminem's "Lose Yourself," and Recorded Song of the Year/Rock, for "Downer of a Sister." A music video for that song about Jacob, Laban, and Leah features J. Jackson performing in a supremely comical dual role, has recently been released.


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