ApologetiX in Atlanta, Phoenix, Missouri
Thu., Oct. 3. 2002 11:59pm EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer for ApologetiX (That Christian Parody Band) here.
Hey, I finished the Old Testament today, and I have to tell you something. I have been reading the Bible daily now for almost 15 years, and I have read it the whole way through at least once a year, sometimes twice, plus listening to it on cassette and studying it in commentaries, etc.
Don't worry; I'm not impressed with myself. There are many, many people who have read it many more times than I. But I want to encourage those of you who are just starting to read the Old Testament. It gets better every time you read it. My advice to you is that you pray every day (it doesn't have to be a long prayer) before you read it and ask God to help you understand it, and then as you read, try to absorb what you can, and don't worry about being able to understand it all.
You may not even remember what you read by the end of the day, but don't despair. I once heard of a pastor who said, "You don't always remember what you ate for breakfast by the end of the day, either." That doesn't mean that the food isn't doing its job nourishing you, and the same thing goes for the Bible. It's the living and active Word of God (Hebrews 4:12, 1 Timothy 3:16, Isaiah 55:11). Here's another analogy: Newborn babies don't understand anything their parents are saying, but they gradually learn words and then phrases and finally sentences and then more complicated words and spelling and writing. But they have to start someplace. The same thing goes for Bible reading. To quote Bill Murray, "Baby steps, baby steps!"
1. Concerts in Atlanta and Phoenix Next Weekend
2. Concerts in Missouri Next Weekend
3. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Reviews "Grace Period"
4. Five-Star Review in Phantom Tollbooth
5. Upcoming Concerts
1. CONCERTS IN ATLANTA AND PHOENIX THIS WEEKEND
Friday, Oct. 4, 2002 at 6 p.m.
(Gates open at 5 p.m.)
ApologetiX with Nicole C. Mullen,
Downhere and Jason Eskridge Frederick Brown Jr.
Peachtree City GA (Atlanta)
"Four Nights in October"
Contact: John Paone
770-294-6237 More info:
Tickets: $12 advance one-day ticket,
$40 entire four-night event
Saturday, October 5, 2002 at 7:00 PM
First Baptist Church
Contact:Keith 623-217-6526 or
Sunday, October 6 at 10:00 AM
First Baptist Church
Contact: Keith 623-217-6526 or
2. CONCERTS IN MISSOURI NEXT WEEKEND
Friday, October 11, 2002 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $9 advance, $12 door,
Groups of 10 or more ONE FREE ticket with each 10 you purchase
SOUTH COUNTY BAPTIST CHURCH 12995
Tesson Ferry Road
St. Louis, MO 63128
CONTACT: Rich Permenter 314-843-5558
Saturday, October 12, 2002 at TBA
MEMORIAL BAPTIST CHURCH
1634 Paris Road
Columbia, MO 65201
Contact: Randy Schilb/Minister of Youth Music
3. PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE REVIEWS "GRACE PERIOD"
As many of you know, we're based out of Pittsburgh, Pa, although we travel all the United States and Canada. Consequently, it was nice when the local major newspaper (the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, by no means a bastion of conservative thought), printed a positive review of our new CD, "Grace Period." Here it is:
You might think they're strange, but you have to tip your hat to a band that can turn Blue Oyster Cult's creepy "Don't Fear the Reaper" into a Christian song.
That's the business of ApologetiX, a Weird Al-style parody band whose name refers to the defense of the Christian faith. The band is an anomaly in the Christian music sector because it grabs top-20 album sales and tours the country even though it records independently and is based in Pittsburgh -- not the industry hub of Nashville.
Although it has released seven albums in eight years, its gimmick hasn't gone stale, thanks largely to the lyric-writing abilities of lead singer J. Jackson.
Perhaps the strongest offering on the latest album, "Grace Period," is a parody of the Alien Ant Farm/Michael Jackson song "Smooth Criminal," rewritten here as "Smooth Grandmama" and telling the story of a grandmother who crochets, drives too slowly, cooks a lot and prays for her grandchildren.
Several cuts are hilarious, such as "YHWH," a song about God's Hebrew name parodying The Village People's "YMCA," and "Baa! We're Lambs!," from the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann" ("Tried many moves/Tried getting loose/Tried petting zoos but I knew they wouldn't do/'Cause I'm a lamb in God's hand").
Unlike Weird Al, these guys do a pretty good job of imitating the groups they parody. On "Tom Saw Ya" (about doubting Thomas, who believed Christ rose only after he saw him with his own eyes), the group sounds like the technical masters, Rush, thanks to admirable drumming by Bill Reiger and guitar solo by Karl Vaughn Messner. They also sound remarkably like Uncle Kracker and The Who, and Jackson even manages to capture Bruce Springsteen's rough vocal sound. But they don't pull off Simon & Garfunkel's "Cecelia" ("Cornelius") quite as well.
Some of the parodies are less memorable because the lyrics aren't as funny or hard-hitting, such as "How You Rewind Me" (from Nickelback's "How You Remind Me") and "Flurry" (from Puddle of Mudd's "Blurry"). But they make theological points that are important in the scheme of the whole album.
Oh, and that Blue Oyster Cult song? The original is about suicide, but this one -- "(Don't Fear) The People" -- is about another kind of death: martyrdom.
-- Rebecca Sodergren
4. FIVE-STAR REVIEW IN PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH
Well, we finally got a good review in the Phantom Tollbooth (five stars out of five), a famous Internet Christian music review site that generally pulls no punches. We're honored.
Here's the link: http://www.tollbooth.org/2002/reviews/apol.html
Here's the text:
Apologetix isn't your average parody band. Though billed as "Billy Graham meets Weird Al," the moniker is hardly accurate. With theological nails they hammer their points deeper and with nearly flawless precision their songs sound practically like the original. When was the last time Billy preached the kings of Judah ("Good Guys, Bad Guys") or Yankovic parodied Styx' classic rocker "Renegade" like Apologetix ("Lemonade")
Furthermore, the frightening truth is they're pretty good at it. Apologetix fears no decade and runs the table on the tunes they tackle, from Linkin Park's "In The End" to Charlie Daniel's "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" to the Beatles' "Love Me Do." In a twist of the lyrics they turn Simon and Garfunkel's lusty "Cecilia" into the story of Cornelius and Peter (Acts 10). Or the Village People's randy "YMCA" into an apologetic for understanding the use of YHWH in the Old Testament. Or Train's "Drops of Jupiter" into the apocalyptic demise of the Devil ("Drop of Lucifer").
To be honest, there are few clunkers on this effort. In fact, with six other full-length parody albums under their belts, Apologetix may have finally delivered the album that gets them some well-deserved and overdue praise. Musical highlights include "Smooth Grandmama"--a parody of Alien Ant Farm/Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" which features searing guitar work and well-crafted lyrics. Or the aforementioned "The Devil Went Down To Jordan" which not only sounds like the original but also features one of Charlie Daniel's own fiddlers on the famous solo. Or "Don't Fear The People"a parody of the Blue Oyster Cult classic focusing on early Christian martyrs and is so close to the original hit that few might recognize the difference without the lyrics. Weird Al did parodies. Apologetix actually hungers to hit every note and even sound like the lead vocalist, whether it's Kurt Cobain ("Smells Like Thirtysomething Spirit") or Smashmouth's version of "I'm A Receiver"÷er,÷believer.
The value of Apologetix is their knack to craft a lyric that teaches a biblical truth or story. One moment they're talkin' Žbout "Regeneration" (spoofing the Who). The next they're arguing against anti-Semitism ("Love The Jews") with Bible references. In another song they'll re-tell the story of Thomas' lack of faith ("Tom Saw Ya") and in another the band will rewrite Uncle Kracker's "Follow Me" to explain the choosing of the disciples. In the end, you're not only treated to Top 40 tunes but also testaments of the faith.
With all that said, are there any flaws A few. Apologetix attempts to duplicate the raw energy of Springsteen's "Born To Run" in "Born From Above" and falters. It's not bad. It's just hard to improve upon The Boss' passion and grit. Sometimes they stretch a lyric or title to an inane end, such as altering the Beach Boy's classic surf rocker "Barbara Ann" into the sheepishly silly "Baa! We're The Lambs." Maybe that's why it's the last song.
Grace Period clearly improves on their past efforts. In fact, it's their best to date. Weird Al can now start taking notes. Billy, too.
- Rick Chromey
5. UPCOMING CONCERTS
Oct 04 - Atlanta GA Oct 05 - Phoenix AZ Oct 06 - Phoenix AZ Oct 11 - St. Louis MO Oct 12 - Columbia MO Oct 19 - Aurora CO Oct 26 - Rockford IL Oct 31 - White Hall/Weiner AK Nov 09 - Green Bay WI Nov 16 - Corpus Christi TX Dec 07 - Clarksburg WV
-- J. Jackson Lead Singer/Lyricist ApologetiX (That Christian Parody Band) www.apologetix.com firstname.lastname@example.org
So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.