The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
Wed., Aug. 9. 2023 1:23am EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the stories behind the songs on our 16th single of 2023:
Although "Black Cat" was a #1 pop hit in 1990, I never considered spoofing it until 2015, and then only at the suggestion of ApX alum keyboardist Todd Waites. "But 'Black Cat' is so doggone noisy," I protested, to which he replied, "Noisy? That song is a rocker!" So I gave it another listen.
The tune hadn't changed, but I changed my tune as far its potential once I realized it was ideally suited to my oldest daughter's voice. And dig this: Countless times over the years, when she would introduce herself to people as "Janna Jackson," they'd mistakenly think she was saying "Janet Jackson." Consequently, "Black Cat" not only had heavy-metal guitar tones, it had ironic overtones.
Nevertheless, to quote the title of an earlier hit by Ms. Jackson (if you're nasty), my attitude was "Let's wait awhile." How about eight years? Janna finally recorded the lead vocals on July 25, 2023, with her sister Heather and me singing backing vocals. The recording session took place on my late mother's birthday, so it's fitting that we had three of her descendants in the studio.
Believe it or not, I'd only gotten the idea for "Laughed At" three days earlier and had just finished the words on the eve of our session. My previous partial parodies had been "Black Cloud" (1 Kings 18:44) and "Bags Packed" (Ruth 1:16).
The lyrical undertones of this parody are full of irony, too. The gist is that atheists scoff at the idea of God, but God scoffs at the ideas of atheists (Psalm 2:1-6).
This is the opening number in our Samson rock opera, as the titular character begins by relating the story of how Manoah and his previously barren wife received a promise from the Angel of the LORD that God would give them a special son.
I first heard of the song "Highway Star" in the early '80s from a high-school classmate named Renee. I wrote a totally different parody called "One-Way Door" in the mid-'90s but didn't think it was quite up to snuff.
Then, on June 21, 2022, I was listening to Deep Purple's original while driving (just like the guy in the song), when I got the first few words, "Manoah thought he." Then came the "all-night Nazarite" and "hairy star" parts, and we were off to the races. Well, sort of. I finished the first verse but stalled after that. However, I still asked Jimmy to record the drums. He did so in August 2022.
Unfortunately, Jimmy had a bad motorcycle accident later that month, so those were the last drums he was able to do until January 2023. By then, we'd put the Samson project on hold in order to work on other albumss. Rich eventually recorded the keyboards in late May, Wayne did the guitars in early June, and George Elliott did the bass in late June.
I'd been busy working on lyrics for other parodies but finally started writing the remaining three verses of "Hairy Star" on July 25. They were all done by July 27! I recorded my vocals on August 1. "Highway Star" was about a fast car, and God brought me to the finish line at top speed.