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Ready for biblical parodies set to music? ApologetiX to stop in Gainesville

J. Jackson speaks with both passion and sincerity when discussing the very successful band known as ApologetiX currently on its 20th anniversary tour. There is Sept. 29 stop at 7 p.m. at Gainesville United Methodist Church.

Explaining the uniqueness of the band, Jackson said, “ApologetiX specializes in biblical parodies of classic and modern rock songs. We play for all ages. Often, the audience will feature three generations of fans.”

Jackson, who also writes the band’s lyrics, said, “ApologetiX is best described as ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic meets Billy Graham. We appeal to both the Christian and the secular audiences. We have been on the Howard Stern show as well as ‘The 700 Club. We have also been written about in magazines such as ‘Christianity Today as well as the L.A. Times.

The repertoire of ApologetiX covers rock and roll along with an occasional rap or country song. In explaining the parody, Jackson said, “The Eagles “Life in the Fast Lane” becomes “Life in the Last Lane.” Or, another example might be, “Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” becomes “Enter Samson.”

Reaching people with their message is paramount in their concerts. Jackson noted, “We feel that people who become interested in the Bible will read it for themselves. I read the Bible every day and I read the Bible cover to cover once a year to keep it fresh in my mind. There is plenty of material there to be used.”
The band’s name, ApologetiX comes from the word, ‘apologetics’ which originally meant the defense of the Christian faith. So, the members of the band decided to adapt that word for their own purposes, and, in turn, adapt the words of famous songs through parody thereby conveying a biblical message.

Currently the band has six touring members, J. Jackson is lead singer and lyricist. Also members include lead guitarists Tom Milnes and Tom Tincha, bassist Keith Haynie, drummer Jimmy “Vegas” Tanner and keyboardist Todd Waites.

They are all fathers and family men with 20 children among them. Waites has overcome what could have been a debilitating handicap and, in turn, has inspired others to realize music can be created in spite of difficult circumstances.

Jackson explained, “Waites lost his right arm to cancer as a teenager and plays everything with his left hand-the hand most pianists and keyboardists use for less-complicated parts.”

Jackson noted, “Some members of the group have outside jobs as well. I write all the band’s lyrics and sing whatever part the song calls for. Jackson jokingly said, “As necessary I can sing tenor, bass, alto and soprano.”

ApologetiX can be described as taking music and its mission seriously, but as Jackson noted, “We take the Bible seriously, but try not to take ourselves so seriously and prefer to appear a little ‘goofy’ on stage.”

In a recent phone interview, Jackson shed some light on the band’s early beginnings by stating, “The band, ApologetiX was started while I was attending a Bible study group. Some of the friends I met there decided to get together to ‘jam’ on occasion. Eventually we played our first concert in 1992.” Little did they realize they were laying the groundwork for a band that would distinguish itself in a most unique way in both Christian and secular music.

Divulging some personal history, J. Jackson went back in time and explained his early beginnings which brought him where he is today. “In 1988 I became a born again Christian,” Jackson noted. “I decided to write parodies to teach myself what I learned in the Bible. I was always writing parodies as a kid. To me, it was a way to combine music, comedy, and education Music is a great way to teach people. As children, we learned our ABCs musically and as a parody, so using music that way seemed natural to me.”

“ApologetiX,” Jackson stated, “has performed nearly 1400 concerts since it began 20 years ago. We have played in all 50 states over the years and have more than 65,000 online fans. Fans travel hundreds of miles to our concerts.”

Diane Wuycheck, the band’s marketing consultant, explained that “as far as the legalities in doing parodies, there isn’t always an easy answer regarding copyright.” She added, “That’s why we employ a lawyer in Los Angeles who is an expert on intellectual properties.”

The awards Apologetix has received are bountiful. Some include The 2004 American Christian Music Award for Alternative Artist of the Year and Alternative Song of the Year. The group was also named Favorite Indie Artist in the Contemporary Christian Magazine Reader’s Choice Awards.

ApologetiX CDs are available at Christian bookstores throughout the United States and internationally. They are also available through http://www.apologetix.com and as downloads through iTunes, amazonmp3, and other major providers.

Jackson also made a point to say, “We receive e-mails from people from all over the world touched by our CDs and concerts. We hope they are learning more about the Bible and use our CDs to reach others. That’s what it is all about for us.”

Buy moderately priced tickets at http://www.apologetix.com or at the church door. The concert is family-friendly for all ages.

Gainesville United Methodist Church is located at 13710 Milestone Court, corner of Linton Hall Road and Limstone Drive, in Gainesville. Call 703-754-4511 or go to http://www.gumchurch.com.

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