Jesus and the Apostles
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Jesus and the Apostles were formed in the cultural backwater of Galilee in an attempt to break the dominance of the Greco-Roman 'Sweaty Wrestle Rock' music scene around about 2,000 years ago. Their original style was so influential that millions of people now claim they owe it all to Jesus and are still playing the same songs.
edit Early Days
Coming out the then locally dominant Jewish Millenarian tradition, Jesus first started his music career before he was born when his mother Mary and father Joseph formed the folk group The Begatters. Playing lead preacher with the family group, Jesus soon got tired of the limitations of his siblings and took up the offer to join the exciting 'wild man' band John the Baptist. His stage costume of wearing animal skins on stage and throwing people into water greatly impressed the young Jesus. Showing a lot of early talent, Jesus would often stand in for John if the later had collapsed back stage trying to shoot up wild honey before going out to meet his audience. Jesus would later infamously claim to be "bigger than John" in the Nazareth Evening Standard, although he would later suggest that he was misquoted.
Jesus could have stayed with John but a gig at the Herod Antipas Theatre saw a woman dance naked on stage demanding head from the singer. In the tumult that followed, John's last song was cut short when his head was chopped off his shoulders by over enthusiastic roadies trying to clear the stage. Jesus, who was taking a break and listening to voices in his head, slipped out of the venue and vowed to reform the group - but perhaps minus the original stage gear and honey. Despite pleas from his mum to rejoin the family group (they even renamed themselves The Jesus Family (Not Featuring Jesus Yet) in an attempt to woo him back), Jesus disowned his folks and said they had been cramping his style. He just wanted to go it alone.
edit God joins as Manager
Jesus needed to spend the next 40 days rehearsing his spiel in the desert. According to later reports, it was there he met his manager God - after turning down Satan's measly offer. Though it was suggested that God had originally helped Jesus by causing his birth by sending Gabriel to Earth to whisper to Mary YOU'VE GOT A CELESTIAL HOLY BUN IN THE OVEN, others now think that it was in the desert where they originally teamed up.
It was God who also suggested the new band members for the group, now to be known as Jesus and the Apostles (though they would also tour as Jesus Christ and the Apostles or The Misunderstood Messiah, an alternative band name then considered at the time and used for low key gigs). Jesus had hoped to recruit a quality backing band but God told him to fill it up with fishermen, inept tax experts, accountants, assassins, struck off doctors and other low lifers as they would cheaper to fire if the going got bad. This is how Jesus found Simon Peter, his fish head chomping brother Andrew, John the Bumfluff and his sibling 'Big Jimmy James'. They would turn out to be the core of the group as the others in the band were tone deaf.
God also suggested Jesus recruit some backing singers to get in the crowds, so Mary Magdalene was brought in. She was also a preacher/singer but her act of washing the audience's dirty feet with her hair had begun to lose its earlier wow factor.
edit Early Gigs
Jesus and the Apostles got their first booking in Nazareth and Capernaum. They were first up against his own relatives as the Jesus Family were on tour too. His mother Mary tried to tell everyone her son was mad to stop audiences attenting the open air concerts but this just excited further ticket sales. Perhaps angered by his family's influence, Jesus disowned them and told his band members to do the same and dedicate their lives to the group. All of them agreed. God went along with this too and gave Jesus the outlines of a three year tour of the Holy Land with a final concert planned in Jerusalem to cash in all the merchandising etc. The band agreed and they were soon out on the road.
edit Guitar Solo on the Mount
The celebrated guitar solo by the The Chosen One on the Mount saw Jesus and the Apostles play a set that included great songs like Blessed are the Meek, Deliver Us From Temptation, Turn the Other Cheek and the show stopping Judge Not, Lest Ye be judged. When the catering camels turned up about 5,000 loaves and fishes short, Jesus brought out his secret stash and everyone soon forgot they were hungry.
The band's back-up sinner..er..singer Mary Magdelene now also came front stage to help break up the very beardy main line up. This caused a lot of jealousy amongst the other band members led by Simon Peter who preferred a heavier, male chest beating rock approach and said John's falsetto voice was giving fans the false impression that the band were a bunch of ex-eunuchs.
edit Raising the Dead
The band's most interesting date was to play at the funeral of Lazarus. It had been originally a birthday treat for Lazarus but he had turned up his toes before the gig started so it became a wake instead.
It was only when Jesus sang Cry Me An Apostle that the audience heard the voice of Lazarus booming out of his tomb. There was much celebration and the local news about this amazing event spread to Jerusalem where a Passover Festival was finalising the final guest list. Jesus and the Apostles got the invite and were told they would headline the event.
Jesus is said he was sure the band were not ready for this gig and would be crucified on stage. But God insisted that as manager of the band he couldn't let down the 'backers' of the group. He insisted Jesus would triumph and to 'give it their best'.
edit Last Supper
The band got a heroic welcome when they turned up in Jerusalem and stayed in the Messiah Hilton hotel to avoid the press. However, Jesus surprised his band by insisting they go for a last rehearsal at a run down diner and book the room above under the guise of having a 'Last Supper'.
Music rivals got wind of this arrangement from the disgruntled red headed 'rhythm apostle' Judas Iscariot. He had been getting unhappy with the musical direction of the band, his preferred style of 'stabbing' guitar being out of favour with the others. Judas denied he told the local authorities that the Jesus and the Apostles were going to perform an obscene rock medley on the Mount of Olives.
When Jesus and the band turned up, a cohort of hired thugs broke up the event and dragged Jesus off to jail. The rest of the band scattered across the hill side, denying they had even heard of Jesus.
edit I Wash My Hands
Deprived of all his musical instruments, amps and stage clothes, Jesus was forced to go on Passover Concert stage as a solo act. Unable to play any of his band's greatest hits except You Say I Am, he was booed off stage in favour of the bandit band Barabbas.
The concert promoter Pontius Pilate got so angry with Jesus's lack of on-stage charisma, he ordered him to sing with the local Roman house band Iggy and the Scourgers. Jesus provided the back-up screams with the local mob pleaser Whip It. Then Jesus was finally paired with a pair of thieves for a final song Golgotha. None of Jesus's band turned up to watch their lead singer die except Mary Magdelene, 'Falsetto' John and Jesus's mother Mary who had also been in Jerusalem with her group.
edit New band leader
Following Jesus's death, the band reformed as The Apostles. Jesus did apparently 'come back from the dead' suggesting his crucifixion had been 'faked up' and played a few more 'invite only' gigs where the audience heard him sing I Will Revive and Stick Your Fingers In Me Tommy Boy. Jesus (now playing solo) finished his last gig in Nazareth and disappeared in a pyrotechnic display, riding on the back of a rocket.
Simon Peter had been expected to take over the band and according to his memoirs 'St.Peter Rocks', he said Jesus had given him the authority to do so. However Jesus's mother Mary insisted Jesus had chosen his younger brother James the Short Disciple (or Just Shortie) to keep 'the riff going' but also insisted that 'the tatty tart' (Mary Magdalene) be given the boot. The other apostles agreed except 'Big Jimmy' James who went solo until he was killed on stage by Herod Agrippa for refusing to join his group Herod and the New Age Jews.
Peter took out his disappointment by teaming up with his brother Andrew for a few gigs. They travelled far and wide (by fishing boat), to Pictland, Slavland under the name of Missionary Position. Simon Peter eventually returned to the main band but Andrew stayed on tour until he was struck by dead by a club and buried on a patch of green near Edinburgh. This place was eventually called St.Andrews and the instrument that had killed Andrew was turned by the faithful into a golf club.
edit Arrival of Saul
With some of the Apostles going off on separate tours, James the Just welcomed a new recruit to the band. He was Saul, a former fierce music critic of Jesus and the Apostles. A shifty character, Saul was alleged to have engineered the death of St.Stephen, a Jesus wannabe and a charismatic front man who had urged his audience to pelt him with stones if he sang out of tune. Saul happily obliged.
Saul had said the the Apostles were a stoned out band of magic mushroom munching milk sops but then claimed God had got in touch and told him to join The Apostles to 'jack up the act', though blinding Saul with a bank of searchlights outside Damascus was considered to be over egging it.
Saul decided to adopt the stage name of Paul and got his best mate Barnabas to join The Apostles too. They heavily criticised the band's 'narrow appeal' and said the future was to get regular bookings from the Gentile band promoters. James the Just disagreed and said he preferred to stay within the Jewish music tradition, playing invite only gigs at Bar-Mitzvahs and weddings.
edit End of the Apostles
The new line up surprised their critics by performing some interesting new musical numbers from Paul. His forthright lyrics and stage performances in Corinth and Galatia whipped up the crowd. However James disapproved of Paul and was only persuaded not to boot him out by Simon Peter. He too was upset as Paul was singing a lot of songs that he didn't recognise as have anything to do with Jesus.
The band finally broke up for good in 62 AD when James the Just was clubbed to death by a bouncer at the Jerusalem Temple gig. Paul and Peter announced the 'days of the apostles were passing' and relocated the band to Rome - leaving James's brothers with what was left of the band and a list of books. Peter and Paul formed Peter,Paul and Not Mary but also played a few gigs under the new name Apostolic Universal Catholic Church (AU/CC) until Roman Emperor Nero got them executed and torched their roadies in a gesture of cultural disapproval. But a few fans survived and carried on where Simon Peter and Paul had left off.
edit Working the Back Catalogue
There is no doubt that once Jesus went, the band lost a lot of its direction. From performing to huge outdoor audiences, The Apostles were reduced to playing their music in front a one man and his donkey in pokey taverns in Nazareth. James the Just's more traditional music approach to led to a lot of 'apostolic differences' in the group led to a final split after a secret gig in Jerusalem. Paul taunted to mainly Jewish crowd with a solo guitar spot where he berated the audience as 'stick-in-the-muds' and broke his beloved Les Paul over the head of one heckler. Paul and most of the others got away but James was caught by the crowd and had his head repeatedly slammed on the floor of the club and died shortly afterwards. The local Jewish authorities arrested Simon Peter and Paul for their roles in starting the riot and they were sent to Rome for further musical examination. Going with them were some hangers-on or groupies. When the Romans decided to execute Simon Peter and Paul, blaming them for disrupting the morals of all good Romans, their friends reformed the group as the Catholic Church.
Back in Judea, James's surviving siblings tried to keep their part of the band going, sticking to the Jewish Folk music scene. When their supposed target audience (the Jews) also turned their backs when the band went on stage, they eventually retired and disappeared from history. The Catholic Church took this opportunity to claim they were the only true music successors of Jesus and claimed ownership of the back catalogue. Two thousand years later, they are still living off the royalties.
edit Selected Hagiography
- Meet the Messiah
- If I had a Black & Decker
- Beatitudes for Sale
- Hey Judas
- The Leprosy Dance
- Kissy! Kissy!! My Cheeky! Cheeky!! (Touch My Wounds)
- Forgive Them (Who Steal Your Lyrics)
- Guilty as Sin
- What's New Mary Magdelene?
- Walk on the Water (Later the song was stolen by Aerosmith)