Thursday, September 06, 2007

Mini-Interview: The Parson Redheads

There was a time earlier this summer when I thought that The Parson Redheads were stalking me. I mean, everywhere I went in LA – Little Radio Summer Camp, shows, parties – at least one of them would be there. It wasn’t until I realized that they were already at many of these places when I arrived that it hit me what a crap theory it was… or that the joke was getting less and less funny, at least.

The upbeat indie folk act recently released their King Giraffe album nationally, so people beyond the greater Los Angeles area’s borders should be hearing more from them soon. Earlier this week, I interviewed their lead Evan Way over instant message – during lunch break at our respective day jobs – about what they're doing in support of their full NA debut and what to expect next.

Hi, Evan. It's Joe from RFSL. How’re you doing today?

Hey! I'm doing just great. As great as one can do while at work, that is. How are you?

Pretty good. This is the first time I’ve done an interview over IM. Kind of weird, eh? I feel like I should write in l33t speak or something.

Haha, seriously.

So, how long has the band been together? How did you form?

We've been together...well, approximately 3 1/2 years. But when we started, it was a very, very different beast. We actually started in college in Eugene, OR as a band called Vulture Town. Basically ALL different members except for me and Brette (our drummer).

About a year and a half into being a band in Eugene, we decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue the music more seriously. We had already changed our name by then (for reasons I can't really recall).

A lot of members changed because they couldn't make the move, or they made the move and then couldn't take it out here in LA.

So we just drafted friends/family along the way. =)

And many of you are related through blood or marriage?

Mmm - I wouldn't say MANY, really. Brette and I are married (almost a year now), and Erin (our keyboard player) and I are brother and sister. But it FEELS like we are much more related than we actually are. Purely because we are so close as friends - so we really feel like a family.

We all lived in a 1 bedroom apartment in west la when we first moved here - 6 of us in a 1 bedroom.

That brought us many various ways. =)

And because the band has always been so much about being friends (friends really comes before being a good musician, even), that it just has a very family-feel to it.

That's great. How many people are in the band? Because I think I remember counting thirteen people on-stage during your first residency show at The Echo.

Haha, yes, there were 13 to 14 people at all those Echo residency shows. That was crazy! Fun, but crazy.

Right now there are 7 core members to the band.

And we often have guests play - Raymond Richards plays pedal steel often, and our friend Jason plays tambourines almost every show.

He's, like, 97% in the band.

Heh. I'll spare asking you your influences, but how would you describe your music to someone who hadn't heard it before?


Well, someone wrote that we were like The Magic Numbers having lunch with Wilco.

And I thought that was appropriate.

What was for lunch?

I believe it would have to be a good micro-wave Banquet Dinner. Have you ever had them? They're AMAZING.

I haven't. I'm currently obsessed with those Morning Star veggie burgers and nugget and other fake foods.

Yes, fake goods are good. Sometimes better than real foods.

So, King Giraffe came out in February locally but was just released nationally, correct?

Right - it was released locally (sold at Amoeba and local stores) late February.

And then we got a distro deal with BDC Distribution recently. And last month they released it nationally, with a focus on the West Coast, though.

So it’s all sorts of places now. The photo on the cover is of Brette’s mom.

So she is totally embarrassed now, because her face (from 1967, I think) is everywhere. =)

Ha. Oh, cool. It looks like you're going on a tour up north to support it.

Yah! We're doing a West Coast tour in late October. It’s going to be a real fun one - we're playing at a lot of places we used to play when we lived in Oregon, and some new places.

And we're playing with some really really great bands, too. I can tell you now that we aren't going to want to come back. No offense.

None taken. Who did you record it with? Where? What was the experience like?

We recorded it with Jason LaRocca, a good friend of ours, at a studio in Sunland called Aermotor Studios.

It’s a tiny place. Really intimate. And it’s in Sunland, so the setting is a bit more rural...which was a nice little escape.

It was a tough experience in that we all had full time jobs, and had to commute out to Sunland every night after work.

And then we'd be out there all weekends, too.

So it was long and tiring, but really, really fun. It was a little bitter-sweet when it was over, because it was a cool experience.

How long did that take?

The commute or the whole recording process?


The commute was about an hour.

The whole process was dragged out over 4 months or so.

It should have taken much faster but we were only able to devote about 4 or 5 hours a night. And then weekends. So it was like slo-mo recording.

It's a good thing your wife, sister, and friends were all in the band or you wouldn't have seen them for a long time.

(Side note: someone at my work just started eating a Banquet Dinner - its fate)

(I'm going to have to look them up now...)

It is! All my friends and people close to me are in my band, practically, or we would just have them come out tot he studio and join the fun. We had quite a few guests on the record.

Just shaking tambourines or singing some harmonies.

That sounds like a lot of fun.

It really was! A friend would be, like "you wanna hang out?" and I'd say "Well, if you want to come shake a tambourine in front of a mic.....then yes"

Hah. So, what's next for you all?

Well, we're doing this upcoming tour. And we've been working on a lot of new tunes, so there is a very good chance we'll be recording an EP come December or January. That is what I've been thinking a lot about recently

Our new tunes are all turning out to be kind of long and proggy, it'll probably be an EP the length of a full length, haha =)

So, you'll probably be playing some of the new material when you play at The Echo when you return from the tour on Nov 12?

Oh, yes, most definitely.

We've been trying to throw a new song or two into some sets randomly - test them out.

Once we get back from tour, we'll be trying them out in full force

Cool. And you're playing with The Broken West and Winters Flowers at The Echoplex at the end of the month before you take off, too.

Yah - that is going to be SO fun. The Broken West are really really good guys.

There will be another great local band

but it’s a surprise right now.

So you have to keep an eye out

for when it is...REVEALED!

Heh. It's Morrissey, isn't it?


(I'm going to start that rumor right now.)

Do it.


I would not argue.

Except I don't know if I'd want to make a large pack of Morrissey fans angry...

Ha, ha. So, let me ask you one last question: What other LA bands are you liking the most these days?

oh boy

the question...

Well, I love The Stevenson Ranch Davidians

and Castledoor

and The World Record.

(Castledoor were PHENOMENAL a few weeks back at that Earlimart show.)

The World Record is probably the best LA band that not enough people know about.

I'll have to check them out.

do it.

don't be afraid.

I think you guys might like Princeton too, by the way.

Ah! I just checked them out!

They are really great.

And I love Flashing Red Lights - another band not enough people know about.

Cool. Well, that's all I've got. I'll let you get back to lunch. Thanks for your time, Evan. Good talking with you.

Talk to you later!

The Parson Redheads' next show is on Thursday, September 27th with The Broken West and Winters Flowers at The Echoplex.

- Punctual As Usual MP3


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