by: Haley Miller
After releasing their first album, “The Apology,” Rodney Parker & The 50 Peso Reward took the innovation of music recording to a new level when they decided to record a jam session one evening surrounded by their family and friends. After playing songs continuously throughout the evening, they decided to take the recording and compile it into a full-length record.
No studio, no high-tech equipment, or sound barriers.
The album titled “Live in the Living Room,” reflects just how the album was created. Though the messages and music inside the album are much more reflective upon the band as a whole, the album also expresses their individuality and creativeness within the group.
You catch the band probably at their most sincere and most honest state. It’s their most comfortable state of mind. Parker and company have been covering “Atlantic City” from Bruce Springsteen’s album “Nebraska” for years, and like Springsteen’s “Nebraska,” it’s somewhat of an internal reflection of the Parker and the band. While it’s not Parker and company holed up in a dark and damp room like The Boss did with “Nebraska,” where they’re singing songs about the dark side of life, it still is a genuine representation. I mean, keep in mind, Parker isn’t Springsteen; but, it doesn’t mean he can’t channel him from time to time.
When we caught up with Parker, he was getting ready to go to that day’s Rangers game. And just like how the Ranger’s new season is just starting, Parker too is in a way starting up his “next season,” which just so happens to be the band’s next album.
New Slang: You guys are playing here Friday.
Rodney Parker: Yeah we play in Lubbock a lot– mainly at Blue Light. We’ve done some other stuff, but that’s kind of our home in Lubbock. We love it there. It’s one of those bars that we go and it feels like a home away from home
NS: Nice. That goes into what I was going to ask you, and you don’t have to say Lubbock, but is there any specific places that you like visiting who gave y’all a shot when no one did?
RP: Yeah. Blue Light would fall in that category; it’s one of our favorites, and I’m not just saying that! The Granada here in Dallas gave us a shot and that’s become our place here. It’s beautiful.
NS: Are all y’all from D-FW area? How did y’all form?
RP: Myself and the bass player, Brooks, and Daniel, and Cody. We’ve all known each other since we were like 10 years old. We grew up in Grapevine. Went to school at North Texas and that’s where we met the other guys. They were there studying music. We all started playing and still had it!
NS: That’s cool! Did y’all start playing music when you grew up together or did y’all just start playing when you got to Denton?
RP: I started playing guitar when I was 12 or 13. Then I met Brooks and played lead guitar for a couple of his bands in high school. And well you know, we were in shitty little bands making shitty little music and we thought we were good. It started a good foundation with being able to communicate with each other with music.
NS: For sure. So do y’all do lot of writing together then?
RP: Well, I’ll normally write the song myself and get them where they need to be on acoustic. Then I take it to the guys and usually have some sort of idea of where its going to end up, but they always have better ideas of how to arrange it and get the parts right. The songs are so much better every time they mess with them though. They make them sound great.
NS: Yeah. That’s a perk about having a crew with you. How many times have y’all gone into the studio because the last one was literally in the living room, right? What gave y’all that idea because y’all have been in the studio before?
RP: At the time, I was living in a place that was basically a giant room and it was really open. I had a pond and it was really secluded so it was always the party house. We always ended up playing by the end of the night so we figured, “hey, we should record this some time.” So we had like 30 of our friends and family and just set up and played for them. We didn’t do any over jumps or anything. It’s just a live CD.
NS: That is so unique and such a badass concept. Did y’all do it all in one night?
RP: Yeah it was all in one night [and] all in one take. I just cut out some silence in between songs to make it move quicker, but it was all one take. We did second takes, but we never used them. That’s just a full show in our living room and turned out being a really special night. We were playing and singing well that night and everyone there was so close to us. It ended up being really cool.
NS: That’s one of the coolest concepts I’ve heard in a long time. It’s cool how you guys are being unique with it all.
RP: Yeah. Anytime you can get a concept type thing, it’s cool. We’re about to be back in the studio actually. It’s stressful and everything. It’s just a big experience. The living room was SO much more laid back. We could do what we want. There was no producer. It was just us doing our thing.
NS: Yeah, it’s really just cool from every angle you look at it. You said your working on something right now though?
RP: Yeah, we’re about to go back in the studio in a couple of weeks and cut a few tracks and send them out to the radio stations. “River Song” has been on the radio for like 24 weeks and I don’t think it has a whole lot of leg left on it. We want to get something out on the radio. Then figure out what we’ll do from there. Either “Apology Part 2” or another full length. We’ll definitely do an “Apology Part 2” some day. I think it’d be cool to do a full length first, then do “Apology Part 2.” Do something in between it, BUT we’ll see how it all turns out. I’m really excited to get in the studio though. It’s one we’ve never been to. Luminous. It’s in Dallas. One of the best studios in the state. [It’s] world-class. It’ll be fun to go to.