Graham Parker Reunites With The Rumour

Jan 1, 2013 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz


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photo of Graham Parker and The Rumour

Graham Parker and The Rumour

In Judd Apatow’s latest comedy, This Is 40, British new wave survivor Graham Parker plays himself: a 60-something singer/songwriter who had a few hits a few decades ago, but who’s been living a relatively quiet life for years. Back in the ’70s and ’80s Parker had a backing band, The Rumour, and he was a young major-label artist with a soulful voice, songs full of biting sarcasm, and a career full of promise.


Recording 'Three Chords Good'

Parker still writes and records regularly near his home in upstate New York, and his talents have aged more than gracefully. He’s maybe more philosophical, but no less brilliant today than he was back in the ’70s, when more people mooned over how brilliant he was.

A longtime Graham Parker fan, Apatow first reached out to the artist a bit tentatively about some kind of participation in the movie—maybe a song, maybe an appearance. Then Parker let it drop that he had recently re-formed The Rumour, who were set to record together for the first time in 31 years, and Apatow decided to cast the artist as a high-quality has-been whose career Paul Rudd’s character—an aspiring label exec—hopes to resurrect. Far from being insulted, Parker told Rolling Stone, “I’m basically a metaphor for abject failure in Judd’s movie—and I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Mix contacted Parker and his engineer, Dave Cook, last spring, while the reunion record, Three Chords Good, was in mastering engineer Toby Mountain’s hands. Here, Parker tells the story of how the album and his involvement with Apatow came about, and Cook describes the fun he had engineering and co-producing Three Chords Good.

Which came first: the movie or The Rumour?
I was just writing the songs for this album around the winter of 2010 into 2011, with absolutely no idea of a record with The Rumour. The last couple of my albums were made as I’ve done now and again over the years, where I go into a studio with a drummer and record, and then I play bass guitar, and have a keyboard player come in. They’ve been very self-contained albums. For these songs, although I didn’t think they were much different from the albums that preceded them, I thought I better do something a little fresh this time. So for some reason, unbidden, the idea of the Rumour rhythm section—Steve Goulding and Andrew Bodnar—popped into my head: Wouldn’t it be great to go in the studio with Steve and Andrew, and record with them as a three-piece? It would be a little bump of interest to people, but also I thought it would be fantastic music, because they’re excellent.

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