What's the story behind Ticked?
Although it wasn't released until December 1997, the seeds for the "Ticked" CD were sown back in the summer of 1994. Until that point, ApologetiX mainly spoofed the now-classic rock songs that we had grown up with. However, as God increased our opportunities to play, more people began asking us to play for youth groups. We felt that if we were to be missionaries (or musicianaries, as our lead guitarist/producer, Karl, likes to say), to youth, we needed to be meet them with their music.
At the time, the rock world was in the midst of an alternative rock revolution, kicked off by Seattle-based bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden in 1991-92 and being carried on by new acts like Green Day, the Offspring and Alanis Morissette. We made a conscious choice to take a crash course on the current charts and we discovered there was a lot of great new music being made (Believe it or not, we actually had spoofed a Nirvana song already on one of our early cassettes.)
The project developed in an interesting way. While most of our previous parodies had told specific Bible stories, many of the new ones addressed specific issues such as suicide, atheism, evolution, hypocrisy, the end of the world, separation of church and state, etc. Although people always expect humor from ApologetiX, these alternative spoofs sported a jagged little attitude in keeping with the music that inspired them and our passionate feelings about the topics they discussed. Looking for a simple title to sum up the CD, our lead singer/lyricist, J. Jackson, hit upon the name "Ticked" while on a ride at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA, in May 1995. He couldn't wait to get back from vacation and bounce it off Karl, who liked it, too. The CD title not only suggested an attitude of outrage; it also had the imagery of a clock ticking, moving toward the end of the world.
For the next two and a half years, the band waited for the proper equipment and finances to record, while weathering some personnel changes, too. Some of the songs written for "Ticked" endured, some didn't, and new ones were added ... but the title stayed. When it was time to design the cover, J. suggested lampooning a "Rolling Stone," magazine cover, using the title "Rolling Clone," inspired by the Wacky Packages stickers and Mad Magazines he had collected as a kid. It was a way for ApologetiX to poke fun at itself as a band that some people thought just copied the music of others. Since it would be the band's first CD ("Radical History Tour" was released only on cassette and was out of print at the time), the "Rolling Stone" motif allowed the band to place text on the cover that described what ApologetiX, under the guise of news stories.
Karl warned J. that the big "Rolling Clone" masthead would cause many fans to think that "Rolling Clone" was the name of the CD, despite the fact that one of the news stories on the cover says "The name of this CD is 'Ticked.'" J. agreed but thought it was too good of an idea to pass up. He pointed out that there are other famous albums, such as the Beatles' "White Album" and Led Zeppelin's "Zoso" album, that aren't known by their true titles. Karl's prediction proved correct, but J. still thinks it was a good idea :)
Three songs on "Ticked" hold a special place in our hearts because of the testimonies attached to them:
"Young As You Are" is an anti-suicide spoof of Nirvana's "Come As You Are." Nirvana lead singer/guitarist/lyricist Kurt Cobain had committed suicide in 1994, and J. felt that the media was glamorizing his death as it does with so many other superstars who die young. J.'s purpose was not to mock Cobain or any celebrity who died young. Rather it was to point out that people who die young seldom die glamorously. And even more importantly, he wanted to show that there is only one person who died young (age 33) who can do anything to help us -- Jesus Christ, because He died for our sins and rose from the grave. On two separate occasions about a year apart, both in Australia, this song was played on the air and people who were contemplating suicide called and asked for help. Each time, the DJ was able to lead the caller (one was a young man and one was a young woman) through the prayer of salvation and hook them up with a local church. A few years later we heard that the young man was now studying to be a pastor.
"InYerFace Love Song" is a simple salvation message based on Romans 10:9-13. At the time the "Ticked" CD was released, all the ApologetiX band members were still working 9-5 (or longer) jobs. One of J.'s coworkers got a copy of the CD, and a few years later, he informed J. that he had given his life to Christ, and that "InYerFace Love Song" had played a key role in his conversion. He still keeps in touch with J., comes to concerts in the Pittsburgh area with his family and has mentioned that song's impact on his life on several occasions.
"Lightning Flashes" is a story about Christ's return, based on Matthew 24:27. We'll let J. tell this story in his own words:
The following is a true story. I wrote it down the day it happened, because I knew I would forget details if I didn't — plus I knew that it was so unusual that I would start to wonder if it really happened unless I wrote it down. Here's what I wrote:
On Nov. 21, 1995, something really wild happened to me. A few days before, I had written "Lightning Flashes," a parody based on Jesus' prediction of his second coming in Matthew 24:27. I wondered, "Am I writing too many songs about the endtimes lately? Is 'Lightning Flashes' just one more?"
As I walked across the bridge to work that morning I came upon a beggar with a styrofoam cup, who was sitting on the sidewalk in one of the compartments of the bridge. He wasn't dressed well for the chilly breeze over the river — his underwear was even showing through holes in his jeans. I gave him some change and a pocket Bible, said "Jesus loves you," and kept moving to try and get to work on time ... but something told me to go back and at least give him a dollar bill ... not that a dollar is much.
When I got back to him, he was already reading the Bible. He looked up at me and said, "Matthew Chapter 24, Verse 27, 'As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.'"
It really blew me away, because he wasn't even on that page in his Bible; he was quoting it from memory. We introduced ourselves. His name was Anthony, and he'd obviously been drinking. I asked him why he was on the streets and he told me how his wife had thrown him out and how he missed his kids. He knew his escatology (endtimes theology) pretty well. I asked him how he knew about the Bible, and he said "From reading it in prison." Then we prayed together. I knew I would soon be late for work, so I quickly asked him if he was hungry. It just so happened that I had two strombolis in my lunch instead of just one. Finally, we said our goodbyes to which he added, "J., He's coming back."
I hurried across the rest of the bridge, where I met a co-worker who'd seen us praying. He asked what we'd talked about. He wasn't too impressed with my "Lightning Flashes" story, but I think he was impressed by my taking time to talk to Anthony. Here I thought I was going to witness to Anthony and I wound up witnessing to somebody else ... while God was witnessing to me.
Aren't those cool stories? And they're all true.
"Ticked" also is unique as an ApologetiX CD, because the original rear tray card (on the back of the CD case) features spoofs the names of the bands who did the original songs, rather than names of the real bands. Recent editions of the "Ticked" CD have the actual band names on the rear tray card.
Here's what's on the "Ticked" CD, including the parody names for the bands:
"Come Out and Pray" by the Offering
("Come Out and Play" by the Offspring)
"All ApologetiX" by Ninevahna
("All Apologies" by Nirvana)
"Naomi Gonna Be With Ruth" by Who'd He Send to Go Fish
("Only Wanna Be With You" by Hootie & the Blowfish)
"Shepherd's Paradise" by Colossio with K.J.V.
("Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio with L.V.)
"Counting Blessings" by Fishswalla
("Counting Blue Cars" by Dishwalla)
"Plump" by the Preservists of the United Faith of America
("Lump" by the Presidents of the United States of America)
"Letterman" by Paul Jam
("Better Man" by Pearl Jam)
"People" by the Brutal Sufferers
("Pepper" by the Buttonhole Surfers)
"Big Deal" by the Fruit Finders
("Big Me" by Foo Fighters)
"Little Sins" by (Burning) Bush
("Little Things" by Bush)
"Stupid World" by Carthage
("Stupid Girl" by Garbage)
"A Lie" by Pearl Doorjamb (on the Pearly Gates)
("Alive" by Pearl Jam)
"Preachers" by the Remnant of the Excited Saints of America
("Peaches" by the Presidents of the United States of America)
"Who's There?" by Heck
("Loser" by Beck)
"Heaven Isn't Like That" by Corrective Soul
("Shine" by Collective Soul)
"No Chain" by Blind Bartimelon
("No Rain" by Blind Melon)
"Young As You Are" by N.I.V.ana
("Come As You Are" by Nirvana)
"Casket Place" by Greek Day
("Basket Case" by Green Day)
"Lightning Flashes" by Live Forever
("Lightning Crashes" by Live)
"InYerFace Love Song" by Staunch Temple Zealots
("Interstate Love Song" by Stone Temple Pilots)
"You Gotta Go" by Alanis More-Upset
("You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette)