The New ApologetiX CD - Karl
Thu., Sep. 20. 2001 1:05am EDT
Karl Messner, lead guitarist and producer for ApologetiX (That Christian Parody Band) here with some late-breaking good news:
KEEP THE CHANGE IS BORN!
Yes, at last, our new CD is now in the hands of the duplicators, and for the first time in several weeks, I think I'll get to get to bed before dawn. It represents some of the strongest creative work J's ever done as far as lyric (re)writing and I'm very proud of him for that and the fantastic effort and performance he and the others put into every track of every song. Over and over until it was as good as it could be.
I love the time I get to spend with J in the studio. It really takes us back to our roots when it was just he and I in our apartment and whatever recording equipment I could cobble together. We really work great together and unlike other creative duos, our hearts and spirits are in perfect sync in the studio. We've recorded vocals all night long, then drove to the airport to fly to concerts in Texas, then came back the next day and worked some more. Pretty insane stuff.
As I've said before, ApologetiX is really a teaching ministry cleverly disguised as a rock band, and if you've ever really sat down with our lyrics, you'll know why, and you should be intrigued to look up a couple of those stories for yourself. AND, ApologetiX is a real band- really making real music, and by the time we're recording, we've finished (usually) crafting the ministry aspects of the lyrics, and it's time to roll up our sleeves and be the best musicians, producers, and engineers we can be.
We spent more time on every single aspect of this CD than ever before. I know we're not trying to "push the envelope" of sonic expression, and we could get away with just getting "close" since we're a parody band, but I look at it in a slightly different way. We treat it as an art. Is parody an art form? Yes. And humor is welcome in art. I feel we're the Andy Warhol of music. Only instead of using pop culture icons like Marilyn Monroe, Mickey Mouse and Campbell's Soup in our art, we use the famous melodies of our day. ( Remember Andy Warhol? http://www.warhol-editions.com/posters.htm )
Every aspect of our normal recording regimen has changed except one: we still kept egregiously long hours! "Keep the Change" is the first fruits of our new cool digital recording equipment we'd always dreamed of and we were able to really unleash the hidden perfectionist within. Bill's first project recording with ApologetiX has given birth to his new pet name for me, "Slavedriver."
This CD rocks, and although I rarely get to hear the reviews from mainstream/secular industry types, I can say that when I took the finished CD to the mastering studio, he was giddy, "Oh my gosh, you guys nailed THAT tune, as WELL!" That was cool to hear. AND a couple times in recording, we had to wait for the words to come in to know if we were listening to us, or the original song we keep around for reference! A couple times we finished something that I thought sounded so good, I called my mom and played it over the phone! Sometimes you'll catch us straying from the original sound, to take the song to a new level (like the Hawaiian twist we put on a song we'll just call "track 15").
So, I can't wait for you to hear "Keep the Change."
I've gotten a lot of emails encouraging me in this very focused time of putting the CD together, but as all the guys will tell you, it's the super families we have at home that keep us alive.
In my house, the real hero of ApologetiX is my wife, Deb. With her own horse competition schedule, she doesn't get to come to many shows, but she loses her husband almost completely for two or three months in a row.
She cheerfully greets regular invasions of her quiet home with brownies, regular refills of water and a cheerful spirit!
She smiles through long nights of screaming in the hallway, (all night vocal sessions ó NOT band members screaming at each other), the total dismantling of her kitchen for last minute drum fixes and lining the wooden floor with monogrammed wedding-gift towels to absorb sound, and then there's the total unavailability of her husband. I think she's probably gone to bed the same time as her husband once this summer and we've shared about seven meals since June.
But it's nothing new; she has a long resume of supporting ApologetiX's recording efforts. Deb was in the studio when we recorded the "Isn't Wasn't Ain't" cassette (Don't look for it) back in '93 and has been there ever since. When she was 17 and had just met me- she got a copy of one of our early tapes called "Want It Dead or Alive" (Don't look for it, either) and used to fall asleep to our music. Even though we're in our eighth year of marriage, and she's been through eight recording projects, eight isn't enough and she has her favorite lines and songs from this CD as well, the
first track, I think is her favorite.
She's also been available for last-minute gopher stuff, and all the non-glamorous stuff. When she had pneumonia and was bed-ridden for weeks, she stayed in bed formatting studio tapes all day - a tedious task of fast-forwarding and rewinding tapes multiple times front to back then subjecting them to a 45-minute formatting process. When we were recording Jesus Christ Morning Star, she stood silent in the studio, holding the tambourine for fill-in drummer, David McKee to hit in "I Have to Die First" and on Radical History Tour, she held my car keys that I used as a tambourine in "Triune Godhead."
On Biblical Graffiti, when we were recording late-night vocals, and "Enter Samson" came along, she was available on the spot to do the little-boy voice in the call and response portion, as well as one of the shouting kids in the second verse of "Kick in the Wall."
Also, if you listen very closely, you can hear her laughing at J in quiet seconds after his laugh in the third verse of "Smart Blest Man."
Deb also lent her nearly perfect musical timing to the claps in a couple songs on "Keep the Change," as Fred (now just our guest percussionist) directed her.
The last sacrifice for her was that Tuesday night, the CD was to be done, and she was coming home early from the barn (before 2 a.m.) to see me for the first time really in weeks and weeks.
But when she got home, I wasn't there. There had been some last-minute changes to the CD, I'd spent all day making them, J came up to approve the changes, we stayed up late and made even more, and then at 12:30 a.m. we approved it all and I headed to our mastering engineer's studio, two state lines away. She called my cell phone when she got home, looking for me, and I was literally a half a mile from home, just starting the long journey, and she went to bed.
She's such a trooper, because I was living this crazy life before we met, and she got to see me at concerts, talking with the kids afterwards, and all the late night emails, recording, cover art designs, late night at Kinkos, and endless cell phone calls from concert promoters that pull me away from the restaurant table, dinner table, and movie seat on a regular basis and other creative things that keep me away from her.
A real self-starter and opportunity generator, she keeps herself very busy with her very successful interests. She trains and competes on a national level with her horses, she creates very cool accessories for "model horse shows" for which she has just rebuilt her new webpage: http://www.modelsaddlepads.com with no help at all from her web designer husband, too! AND, she started a Model Equestrian Photo Show Association which is now a national organization with thousands of participants. Deb was the president of that organization for the first three years after she started it and now it's running without her regular involvement!
A mere mortal may not have survived the chaos I put her through. She really is the epitome of a Proverbs 31 wife, who puts my meager attempts at ministry to shame. And the same is true for each of band wives- they're all amazing ladies without whom we would be lost.
Thanks for taking the time to read that. I don't get to talk to you much, and I just wanted to tell you about "Keep the Change" and my Debbie ;)
Karl Messner Lead Guitarist/Producer ApologetiX (That Christian Parody Band) firstname.lastname@example.org
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.