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The ApologetiX (That Christian Parody Band) don’t apologize for rewriting secular songs with Christian lyrics to create a Christian message.
Musicians J. Jackson, Keith Haynie, Jimmy Tanner and Bill Hubauer have been described as a cross between “Weird Al Yankovic and Billy Graham.”
With their mixture of comedy, parody and contemporary Christian music, Jackson said who they sound like isn’t the focus.
“It’s reaching the lost and teaching the least,” Jackson said.
ApologetiX gets its name from apologetics, which in Greek, means defending the faith with gentleness and respect.
“To put it in a nutshell, that’s what we try to do,” he said. “I was looking for a good way to remember what I was learning from the Bible and I always liked parodies.
“The Bible speaks for itself when someone opens their heart,” he said.
While the band takes Scripture and the gospel message of Jesus Christ seriously, Jackson said the band doesn’t take its brand of music seriously. He said they purposely look for ways to imitate the work of other musicians to use as a biblical teaching tool.
Using parodies to make a point is nothing new, Jackson said. Shakespeare did it to convey what he was trying to get across all the time.
“When you stop and think about it, just about everybody in the United States learned the alphabet to the tune of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,’” he said. “That’s what parody is.”
With song titles like the “Devil Went Down to Jordan” and “Should I Pray or Should I Go?”, it’s no wonder that ApologetiX won’t take what they do onstage seriously.
A former journalist who spent 10 years working on the “Dark Side” (public relations), Jackson said making Christian-based parodies from secular songs is “personally ironic.”
His love of MAD Magazine shows through in many of the ApologetiX songs. For Jackson, there is a plus in using comedy to get the gospel message across.
“I could write clever things, but couldn’t come up with anything that was original,” Jackson said laughing. “Now just look at what I’m writing.”
Jackson said in its heyday, Greek was universally understood, which made it the perfect language to write the New Testament.
Jackson said using music in a similar way to break down barriers is no different.
“All we’re doing is speaking a language that people of all ages understand,” he said.
On the other hand, making Christian parodies of popular music doesn’t happen by accident. Jackson calls the process a combination of inspiration, perspiration and education.
“You gotta have a song that matches what you’re looking for,” he said. “Other times, you’re just minding your own business when God pops something into your head and it just comes together.”
Take their song, “Enter Samson,” that’s a scriptural version of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”
Jackson said the strong man from the Old Testament book of Judges matches well with the heavy metal band.
“It’s not like I’m doing a term paper on something I don’t know,” Jackson said. “I’ve read through the Bible several times in 21 years and it gets better and better every time I read it.
“Metallica sings like I think Samson would sing and that’s probably the kind of music he’d listen to if he was around today,” he said. “Besides, the guys in Metallica used to have long hair and cut it all off just like Samson did.”
Jackson said so far, there have been no complaints about ApologetiX treatment of many classic songs.
“We usually hear about it second hand and it’s always positive,” he said. “I know we’re always shocked to find out that some of them know who ApologetiX is. We aren’t trying to poke fun at their work. But you can use it to get the attention of the churched and unchurched.”
And in doing so, Jackson said ApologetiX never worries about rave critical reviews. He describes their stage show as “good music by some pretty good musicians,” that includes audience interaction, laid-back humor and storytelling that stresses the greatest story ever told.
“To some, parody might be the lowest form of art out there, but it is art. It never gets old because it spoofs whatever is current,” Jackson said, laughing. “If you give us a chance, you’re going to like us.”
Their songs may never get gold status, but that’s OK, since Jackson’s recently-dyed hair, is.
“Everybody in the music industry knows you have to go gold before you can go platinum,” he said.
A film clip of ApologetiX is online. Click here to view their clip.
Want to go?
WHO: The ApologetiX (That Christian Parody Band)
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Hyde Park Baptist Church, 1898 Flat Creek Road
HOW MUCH: Tickets are $15 at the door. Discount tickets ($10) can be purchased in advance at www.apolgetix.com/concerts and click on the concert.