Crowd shot masthead ApologetiX Logo Keith Haynie plays bassBill Hubauer plays lead guitarJ. Jackson sings leadJimmy Vegas Tanner plays drums

Can you give me some parody-writing tips?

People often ask us for tips about how to write parodies. Well, there are a lot of great parody writers out there with different styles, and there are no set rules. But since you asked, here are some tips from ApologetiX lyricist J. Jackson.

Here are some tips off the top of my head:

1. Try to match the original's rhythm and rhyme scheme as much as possible, especially in the chorus and in the first verse, particularly the opening lines of the first verse.  It'll help to draw your audience in.  

2. Make sure what you're saying makes sense and is Biblically accurate — don't sacrifice understandability or theology just to get something that sounds cool or rhymes better.

3. Pick songs that everybody knows ... if you plan on doing them for large crowds.  I'll give you an example.  Some of our earlier parodies were of songs like "Baby Driver" by Simon & Garfunkel.  Now, that's a song that Simon & Garfunkel fans know, but it's not a song that gets played on the radio very often.  So a better Simon & Garfunkel song for us to play (for large audiences) would be something like "Sounds of Silence," "Mrs. Robinson" or "Bridge Over Troubled Water."  The same thing goes for any artist/band you are spoofing.

4. Don't take too much of the lyrics of the original BUT conversely, don't come up with something that doesn't resemble the original.  It's important for you to "comment" on the song in some sense.  If you do "Amazing Grace" to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun," it's not really a parody of "House of the Rising Sun."  It is amusing and interesting, but it isn't really a parody of the original, it's just singing a whole new set of words to an established melody.

5. Write what you know about and what you feel passionately about.  Before I became a born again Christian, I tried to write songs about love, relationships, the wild life, etc., but it got pretty boring.  Although I was a passionate man, I just didn't feel passionately enough about the subject matter. However, when I had just become a born again Christian, I couldn't have written most of the songs we write now for ApologetiX, because I didn't know the subject matter well enough (hadn't read the Bible enough times through) to really comment on some of those topics.  Read the manual (the Bible) cover to cover and over and over.

6. Write first and foremost for yourself (and for God, of course).  What I mean is, don't think, "I'll write this kind of a song because people will like it and it'll be a hit."  Write what you care about, whether you think it'll be a hit or not.  If you think a topic is interesting, many times other people will, too.

7.  Many times your first idea is your best idea, so don't be afraid to go with it.  But don't be afraid to try out many ideas for the same song, too.  Conversely, many times it takes a while before the best stuff comes out, so don't be afraid to tweak and tweak and tweak your parodies.  Find some friends/family whom you respect and trust and bounce your songs off of them to get their input, too.

Best wishes on your endeavors!  Hope this info is helpful!