Monday, 18 March 2013

Graham Parker

Graham Parker: Don't Ask Me Questions

Before there was punk, before there was new wave and before there was Elvis Costello, there was Graham Parker and his incendiary band the Rumour, rooted in traditional r 'n' b and rock 'n' roll forms but with a vitriolic lyrical edge that demanded to be heard.

Forming the Rumour in 1975, Parker came from Camberley where, amongst many other things, he'd been a petrol pump attendant. The Rumour included many of the cream of the pub rock scene including guitarists Brinsley Schwarz and Martin Belmont, formerly of Ducks DeLuxe. Deemed too edgy for the mid 1970s music scene and too traditional for the ensuing punk wave that they helped spark, they were a band born out of time. After five years of international critical acclaim but moderate sales, the band broke up.

In the intervening years Parker transformed as an artist into a kind of troubadour based in upstate New York, playing to his base of cult fans and having the occasional brush with success. The other members lived their lives in quiet contentment, but always wondering how their lives may have unfolded if they had shared the success of artists who were inspired by them and eventually eclipsed them.

In the summer of 2011, on a whim, they reunited to record an album of new Graham Parker songs. In the same summer, as fate would have it, long-time Graham Parker and the Rumour fan, director Judd Apatow cast the band to play themselves in his film This is Forty. The reunion and high level of exposure caused the band, now all in their sixties, to assess their lives, the notion of success and the meaning of true happiness.

This film, ten years in the making, documents these events and offers a heartfelt look at the lives of all the members focusing on the elusive recluse lead singer and songwriter Graham Parker. Contributions come from the Rumour, Bruce Springsteen, Nick Lowe and, of course, Parker himself.

Available on BBC iPlayer until2:39AM Mon, 25 Mar 2013:

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