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Steve Parkin Interview


Steve Parkin the self proclaimed “other guy” from the Basement Birds took some time out to talk to The Cairns Review about their new self titled album, working In Australia’s oldest independent record store and a few tales along the way...

So Steve most people know Kav from Eskimo Joe, Kev from Bob Evans and Josh Pyke so could you tell us a little about you?

I’m Steve Parkin I am the other guy, I have been playing in music in WA for a number of years, I was in a band called Autopilot in the heady nineties and I have toured with Kevin as well as co writing with Kav, I have known Kav and the Eskimo Joe guys for years and I have co written some songs on their last album. I am not as well known nationally as them but I see myself as the genius in the backlines...supplying the ammo ...

How did the Basement Birds and this album come about?

Pretty much working with Kev and writing with Kav we have always talked about “wouldn’t it be great if we ever got together and wrote some songs”, obviously we all like song writing we all have very similar tastes and Josh has toured a few times with Kev and Eskimo Joe and at the time, so he kind of got roped in as well...

It started off just as a bit of fun sitting around at Kav’s place having a few beers and writing songs and then we thought these songs are actually pretty good...we then realised that everyone’s schedules being what they are that this is going to be a long process and sure enough 3 years later we have an album. “Waiting for You” was a song Kav had and was written in about 2007 and “Reason” was written at the same time...the actual album was recorded in only 17 days but it was 17 days over three years so it’s been a labour of love...

This album was originally released in three track segment on iTunes how did they come about and why?

To be honest I have a day job unlike the others who don’t need one, I work in a record store over in Fremantle and I have been realising how few singles we get in, singles just seem to be dying out I guess for better or worse.

I must be a bit old school I used to like getting the singles and Ep’s with all the b sides but I guess kids these days are just downloading individual songs from iTunes so we just thought that rather spend all the money on artwork trying to print singles that people may not buy, we spoke to iTunes and we thought it made more sense to put these singles up online.

One thing we noticed from this process is the demand for an album a lot of people still want to buy cd’s which is great for me as it means I still have a job.

ITunes is fantastic it’s easy to use and the artists do get some money from the sales as opposed to illegal downloads so I think that’s a really good thing but I still do like the physical album and I am campaigning for a vinyl release, I still like albums goddamit and the artwork for the album has just been amazing. I would love to see this in vinyl form as well.

I have seen that Jb Hi fi is selling signed pre-release albums do you guys really sit there and sign all of those albums?

I tell you what after a day of doing promo and things in Melbourne we thought we had got away with it then at 6pm we were just looking forward to going back to the hotel and having a few light refreshments when our manager presented us with nearly 1000 cd's to sign we sat there and signed every single one...there is no team of people in the background that have mastered our signatures you can rest assured we signed every single one of those puppies.

Why offer signed albums through stores?

I think people know then that you care about what we do, we have also offered VIP tickets where people can come and hang out at the sound check and have a chat get a t-shirt and meet us...bands really need t that kind of thing rather than sit and whinge that everyone is illegally downloading...they need to do a bit of work and look after the people that support them.

what record store do you work at and what albums do you recomend?

Mills records Fremantle Australia’s oldest independent record store...I feel like I am the oldest teenager in Fremantle some times, I love music and some of the charm of records stores is people come in they like music but they don’t spend all day obsessing over music....so we often recommend music but of course every album recommendation will be “you really should check out this Basement Bird album it is awesome.”

The feel of the album?

You have four lead singers in a room who all love singing and vocal harmonies and all like the way pop sounded 30 years ago it is very much a singer songwriter’s album that we can listen to as well and we would like to buy I have always been a sucker for harmonies and bands like the Beatles the birds that was definitely the kind of album we wanted to make...4 lead singers in a room showing off...every lead guitarists’ nightmare.

Any chance of the Basement Birds doing a Cairns gig?

I played in Cairns when I supported Eskimo Joe in 2004 and we played at Brothers leagues club and we also played at Port Douglas and Airley beach it’s a beautiful part of the country...I would love to come up to Cairns we are playing Brisbane and obviously we have had to keep the tour fairly short as Kav is going back to write the new Eskimo Joe album and josh is doing the same and we have had to keep it a short sharp focus I would love to bring it up to Cairns and stay for a couple of weeks...

What’s the best thing about being a musician?

The best thing about being a musician definitely the pay hahaha ...no really, connecting with people putting in all that hard work... it might be a little bit of a hangover from the nineties you can’t look like your having fun I love it I love performing I think anyone who steps on a stage and doesn’t look like they are enjoying it is a complete Nob and I really love singing, performing meeting people after shows and travelling I have seen so much of Australia maybe I wouldn’t have been to Darwin Katherine or Cairns if I hadn’t been a musician and somebody paid for all my airfares.

If you could record with any musician living or dead who would it be?

It would have to be Kav from Eskimo Joe Bob Evans hahahah...David Bowie and The Beatles and I would just sit back and watch them and play a bit of tambourine.

What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened on tour?

Funniest thing on tour I once had a lead guitarist Glenn young try to moon the guys from Eskimo Joe in a van next to us but for some reason blew the window out the van with his arse checks...even though I had to pay the $400 excess from the car hire place it was worth it to see him limping in to a service station picking glass out of his underwear...