The Stories Behind the Songs on Our 19th Single
Sat., Nov. 13. 2021 4:01pm EST
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the stories behind the songs on our 19th single of 2021:
This parody is a prequel to "Pharaoh-noid," a Black Sabbath spoof we released in 2015. "Plagues" gives Moses' perspective on God's judgments upon Egypt as they are about to happen, whereas "Pharaoh-noid" gives Pharaoh's perspective once they do happen.
We released our first ZZ Top parody, "Smart Blest Man," in 1999, and our second, "Brush," in 2014, but I actually wrote the lyrics to those two at about the same time I wrote this one. I believe it was in the winter of 1996-97. In fact, astute ApologetiX afficianados will recognize the opening lines of "Plagues" from some ad-libbing I did at the end of "Smart Blest Man." At the time, I had no idea if we'd ever get a chance to record "Plagues," let alone that we'd still be making CDs over 20 years later.
In February 2021, I asked the other guys if they'd be up for recording it at some point in the year, and they all got their parts done in October. Everything went smoothly until November 1, the day before I recorded my vocals. I'd kept the lyrics the same for a quarter century but suddenly had to rewrite the entire second verse. Here's how that happened:
I was mapping out how I was going to sing the lyrics the next day when I realized, "This verse doesn't rhyme well enough with the original," especially once I looked up ZZ Top's lyrics, which are pretty raunchy, by the way. No wonder they buried the vocals in the mix! Anyway, God gave me some great new rhymes that sounded similar to theirs but said something totally different, so it was worth the last-minute effort.
SCHOOL OF OURS
I received a text from Jimmy on December 2, 2018, asking if I had any parody ideas for "Boulevard" by Jackson Browne. He and his wife, Eve, thought it would be a fun one to spoof. I didn't have any ideas at the time ... but I already knew I wanted to spoof "Running on Empty," and I got the idea for "Romans 1:20" the same month. Consequently, I knew "Boulevard" would have to wait a while, but I never forgot their suggestion.
I finally got the idea for "School of Ours" on August 20, 2021. My family was planning to meet Keith's family at Splash Lagoon in Erie PA for a mini-vacation that day, and the words started coming to me in the morning, just before we left, even though I was supposed to be working on "Psalm 19" and "Word Of." But it was another one of those times where God seemed to have turned on a spigot, so I needed to grab a bucket.
"School of Ours" is not meant to be an indictment against the entire education system. As I've mentioned before, I come from a family of teachers, and my oldest daughter is a teacher. Furthermore, I know some wonderful ApX fans who are teachers. Rather, this is a response to a certain anti-Christian attitude that is prevalent in far too many places where they see anything that goes against the status quo as "non-critical thinking."
To help myself focus while writing this, I thought about my second-oldest daughter, who now attends the same college I did. Let's just say that a lot has changed in the past 40 years at that school of ours.