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When J. Jackson became a Christian in 1988, he thought he'd never listen to secular music again. He gave up playing in bar bands and pursued a career in journalism. Little did he know that he'd become the lead singer and songwriter for ApologetiX, a Christian band that parodies rock hits from the 1950s to the present day. ApologetiX has been featured on Christian shows such as "The 700 Club" and secular programs like "The Dr. Demento Show" and even Howard Stern's radio show. Their latest endeavor, a double-disc compilation called New and Used Hits, reached No. 1 on the American Christian Music Exchange's Modern/Alternative Album chart. Frontman J. Jackson spoke with us about the band, their music, and their vision.

How did a full-time writer with a journalism degree form a parody band?

J. Jackson I wrote parodies all my life, and I used to sing in bar bands and garage bands. When I became a Christian, I totally turned my back on music, figuring I was done with it. I got rid of about 2,000 records, CDs and tapes. Instead, I immersed myself in the Bible, reading it from cover to cover, over and over. Then, I felt God giving me a clear indication to get involved in music.

I met Karl (Messner, lead guitarist and producer) in 1990. He was a much better guitarist than I am and we played our first ApologetiX concert in 1992. In 1994, we made a conscious decision to include modern rock to reach youth.

Why did you first parody classic rock songs?

Jackson I'd been a singer all my life. I was learning to play guitar when I became a born-again Christian. When I picked up the guitar after getting saved, it was like God had increased my spider powers (laughing). I could play and sing a lot better.

I started figuring out the licks from ...

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February 2005

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