The Stories Behind the Songs on the New Single
Fri., Sep. 4. 2020 7:37pm EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
The songs we spoofed on our new single originally hit the charts within six months of each other in 1993-94. But, as far as the parodies go, they were written 25 years apart! Here's the story behind each one:
All roads may lead to Rome, but even before I came to Christ, I had a hard time believing all paths led to God. I remember thinking about that when we studied the major religions in world cultures class in high school and when I took a world religions class in college: "Maybe one of these is true, maybe none of these are true, but there's no way they all be true — they're too different."
I started writing this parody in early 1995. I still have the notes in an old journal. There's no date listed, but based on the entries around it that do have dates, it looks like I started writing it in January or February and got a good portion of the lyrics done then. I'm not positive when I finished it, but there's a complete set of lyrics in a bound book of lyrics I published in December '97.
But that's only half of the story, because I rewrote about half of the lyrics in August 2020 in the weeks leading up to recording my vocals on August 23, 2020. That's ironic, since the song we're spoofing, "Mr. Jones," came from an album called August and Everything After.
Unlike most of our 90's parodies, I didn't start working on this song or even consider spoofing it (or The Gin Blossoms) back when it was a hit. I got the parody title on August 3, 2019 and recorded my vocals on August 12, 2020 — just over a year later. But I wrote the majority of the lyrics in the two weeks leading up to that vocal session.
Until then, I didn't know exactly what the subject matter would be. It could have been about the obvious choices — Samson, Saul, or David — or even such other Old Testament notables as Abraham (Genesis 21), Isaac (Genesis 26), Shamgar (Judges 3), or Hezekiah (2 Kings 18), all of whom had significant encounters with the Philistines. But in the end, I wound up writing about a story that didn't have a specific human hero. No, in this one, God took care of business Himself after the Israelites totally blew it.
I've wanted to write a parody 1 Samuel 4-6 for a very long time. Back in the mid-90's, my original idea for our parody of "Break On Through" by The Doors was not "Straight On Through" — I was going to do a song about 1 Samuel 5:1-7, where the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant from the Israelites and put it in the temple of their god, Dagon. The next morning, the idol of Dagon was found on its face before the Ark. The Philistines put the idol back in its place, and the morning after that, the idol was on its face again, but its head and hands had been broken off.
Anyway, the chorus would have been "Dagon moved to the other side," but Dagon didn't exactly move to the other side, so I changed the title and topic to "Straight On Through" about John 5:24. It was the right thing to do, but I've been bummed for the past 25 years that I had to pass up a chance to tell that story. Consequently, it was a marvelous surprise when I realized God was giving me lyrics for it in "Hey Philistines" — lyrics that fit the story even better. And ironically, I got those lyrics just two months after we finally released "Straight On Through." God is so good!