Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Chris Parish

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Chris ParishWhen I first met the dude that I am sitting with today I was shocked by not only his talents on stage but also his kindness off stage. He comes from a long line of singer/songwriters that I have become good friends with. Guys like Curtis Peoples and Dave Yaden add a certain level of realism to my life and my life in the music industry. But when the beer drinking, flannel shirt wearing, tattooed man that I am sitting with today entered my life, I am glad that I had the chance to not only work with him here on my blog, but also have become quite good friends with him staying in touch via text and email. It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Chris Parish.

What is your first memory of the guitar?

My father used to play me James Taylor and Neil Diamond songs when I was a kid, and I would strum along on a tennis racket. I’m not sure I’ve gotten any better.

When did you know that you wanted to make a career out of this?

When I was in college I met this guy Mark, and he was the only person I knew at the time who was writing his own stuff instead of just playing covers. So we sat in the basement every weekend and taught ourselves drums and bass and recorded all of our stuff. After a while one out of every thirty songs wasn’t so bad, and I’ve never stopped.

Do you have any other jobs besides music?

Yeah, I actually have a pretty good career outside of music, and I own my own business, so everything keeps me busy. Most of those things are to keep the funds coming in for music.

How many tattoos do you have?

Depending on when this is printed, at least fifteen!

Any thoughts on getting more?

Every morning.

What is the first tattoo you got?

I got a D for Detroit, my hometown, on my right arm ten years ago. But then Eminem and Kid Rock got famous and stole my idea.

Tell me about the guys playing behind you.

I’m kind of reconfiguring the band right now. Brian “Magic Hands” Matteson is the mainstay on drums; he’s also a killer backup vocalist, probably the best I know. Our last show we had Dan Crawford on guitar, who plays a lot with Curtis Peoples; Erik Kertes on bass, who plays a lot with everyone, and Todd Beauchamp on keys.

What is the largest crowd you have ever played for?

Probably when we sold out the Knitting Factory last year; big Texas crowd in Los Angeles because we were playing with this band from Austin, Reckless Kelly. They are dynamite. We sold out The Mint in December with Curtis and Keaton Simons, that was nuts.

The smallest?

A couple years ago I drove to Lake Tahoe and played in front of the two friends who rode with me, and the bartender who was watching Judge Judy. To be fair it was an insane episode where this dude borrowed a car from his ex-girlfriend and got into an accident and tried to paint over the dents, so it was understandable.

What is your favorite venue?

That I’ve played in, either the Knitting Factory or Mother Egan’s in Austin. Mother’s isn’t even that big of a place, I just have awesome memories there, and get to see all of my Austin friends. It’s shutting down this month which is lame. All-time it’s the Santa Barbara Bowl.

If you could be any cartoon character who do you choose and why?

Handy Smurf because I know he got busy with Smurfette!

Tell me how you know Dave Yaden.

I was at a pool party at his house, sitting by myself drinking some scotch and he came up to me and said “I want to be on you.”

Describe your genre in one word.


You are a beer drinker I see. What is your favorite poison?

Pabst. Lone Star or Pearl in Texas. Blatz Light in Minnesota. Stroh’s in Detroit. Heineken in the depths of hell.

What are you drinking on stage?

Unfortunately, whatever is handed to me.

What did you have for dinner last night?

Filet with black truffle glaze, white cheddar macaroni, and butternut squash risotto. No wait – Pringles.

Let’s say you are offered a $250,000 record deal but you have to sing someone else’s lyrics and it’s a rap album. Do you do it?

Yes, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

What is the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you on stage?

One of my first ever gigs back in Virginia, we were playing this festival and we went on pretty late so I’d been drinking beer all day. This girl who was there, I had asked her out repeatedly and she always turned me down, so I said “This next song goes out to this young lady so she can see what she’s missing.” Then I fell onto the drumset and our drummer went flying backwards off the riser. Also, once I played a Dsus2 instead of a D chord during the second verse of “Walk on Mine” and we all had a good laugh about it.

Where would you live if you could move anywhere else than where you are now?

Lake Tahoe, Austin, Santa Barbara, or Barcelona.

Have you written with anyone else but yourself?


Tell me about this new album.

Finally, I guess is the best word. I started this record two years ago, got the final mixes and hated it. Started over last spring in a new studio, Vienna Circle in Los Angeles. I heard Dave Yaden’s record, which was produced there, and realized I needed to step up the game. So we started over, and I’m really proud of it. All my friends are on it (Dave Yaden, Curtis Peoples, Michael Miley, Kertes, Leland Grant, Magic Hands, Bobbo Byrnes, JT Spangler, Andrea Marchant, Isaac Johnson). Working with Todd is ridiculous. He knows what I’m talking about when even I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Where will I be able to get a copy?

It was released on iTunes March 9th 2010!

Plans for a tour to support it?

Yeah. Texas/south area for an acoustic jaunt in April, followed by some Midwest action later in the spring hopefully. I gotta get out East too, I miss it.

Who would win in a pillow fight? Dave Yaden or Isaac Johnson?

It would be a draw. Isaac would spend five minutes talking about what his pillow meant to him in a metaphorical sense, then Dave would spend ten minutes telling him that his opinion is wrong.

Coke or Pepsi?

One twenty ounce bottle of Coke is the same calories as two glasses of scotch. So screw Coke. And don’t get me started on Pepsi.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

With one of those new-age futuristic mirrors.

What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

This is a loaded question. Musically, I want to have a couple of songs that make people feel good, and remind them of a certain time in their life. All of my favorite songs by other artists remind me of specific moments in my life, and they’re my favorites. Oceans by Pearl Jam reminds me of driving to the lake in Michigan.

I always let the artist get the last word. Go.