Apr 21, 2014
Graham Parker? Graham friggin’ Parker? Where the hell has that guy been? If you made a list of artists whose rock ‘n’ roll personified the sound of the mid-to-late 1970s, I think Graham Parker and The Rumour would have to be near the top.
GRAHAM PARKER podcast excerpt: "I emailed the people in The Rumour and most said, 'Hell, yes! Let's go! There wasn't too much of 'I don't know if that's the right thing to do...' It was the perfect time to reunite. After I did it, I looked on the Internet and saw that almost every band in the world had already done the same thing and I was like, 'D'OHHH! Not very original is it?'"
The top, that is, of the lists of people who actually heard the man and his band. He was the guy that the major rock critics insisted you had to know, whether you liked it or not. Frankly, I think one of the things that hurt Graham Parker and The Rumour was that the people who loved them demanded we love them, too, which was kind of a turn-off for some folks. It also didn’t help that Parker’s reputation with much of the press was as a distant, difficult chap to get to know and get close to. The high water mark for Graham Parker and The Rumour was the release of the album, Squeezing Out Sparks. More than one reviewers described is as the perfect rock ‘n’ roll album.
GRAHAM PARKER podcast excerpt: "For me, acting in Judd Apatow's 'This Is 40' was very challenging. I'd ever done it before and someone said, 'Judd wants you to improv.' I'd done my lines in the script so I brought my own sketches. Where the script said I had to turn to Paul Rudd's character and say, 'I've got to go to the podiatrist, I've got a bad foot,' I brought gout in it. 'What's wrong?' 'Touch of gout.'I used Chris O'Dowd and Lena Dunham, who were in the back of the scene. I brought them in by looking at them. I enlarged the scene and I sorta got the hang of things."
A whole lot has happened since Parker broke off from The Rumour in 1980 after a five-year run. In the decades since, he has been mostly a solo act – sometimes touring backed by a band called The Figgs – reinventing himself more than once for practical reasons. The latest reinvention is as the willing subject of a Kickstarter-supported documentary film called Don’t Ask Me Questions: The Unsung Life of Graham Parker and The Rumour. Produced and directed by Michael Gramaglia, it not only brings Parker back together with The Rumour to record a new album, it also – at long last – offers the public a glimpse of a man in full: musician, dad, nature lover. Parker and his friends and admirers – including Bruce Springsteen, Joe Jackson, Nick Lowe, DJ Meg Griffin, filmmaker Judd Apatow (who put Parker and The Rumour in his film, This Is 40, starring Paul Rudd) and others – help us understand a man who had no preparation for a life in the spotlight and probably wishes, in retrospect, he had handled his early opportunities differently.