On February 23, 2009, I awoke on Evan and Brette Marie Way’s couch in their living room. It was a sunny L.A. morning, one that would be filled with music geek-out sessions, fruity crepes, friendly house cats, and of course, a fine interview for this very series. In part two of our visit with the Parson Red Heads, Evan, Brette and guitarist Aaron Ballard give a tour of their blissfully communal dwelling, and in the process, solidify the personal exchange that made this one of the key “parlour to parlour” moments of the entire series.
My second day with the Parson Red Heads was considerably calmer than the first, and more in line with their regular vibe. After all, I was now in the home Evan and Brette Marie Way, waking up on their couch and getting ready for a delicious breakfast of sweet, fruity homemade crepes.
We had three of the band members present for the interview. As guitarist Aarson Ballard is also Evan and Brette’s landlord, his presence was a no-brainer. At the time, the band was about to celebrate their fifth anniversary together. Though the membership has rotated over the years since their days as Vulture Town back in Oregon, the door remains open for former members to return. Lead guitarist Sam Fowles is a prime example. He was a key member of Vulture Town, and when he left the band for a while, they changed their name to the Parson Red Heads in acknowledgement of the hole he left. However, he has since returned full-time as a core member of the group.
Andy Creighton is the newest member of the band, playing bass and leading The World Record when not playing with the Parsons. Though when the Parsons make their way up to Portland and other parts north, it’s entirely possible that their former bassist, David Swensen, could sit in. “He is a 100% Parson, and they never disappear completely!” is how Evan put it in a blog post on the band’s MySpace, which also goes for his sister Erin. She is now pursuing an acting career full time, but it’s entirely possible that she could pop in at L.A. Parsons shows for some background vocals, keyboards and tambourine.
But the three Parsons who hosted me that weekend had plenty on their own to share. Off camera, we geeked out over our favorite Television songs and Sonic Youth albums, heard some unreleased Parsons recordings and ate a delicious dessert prepared by Aaron’s wife, Chris. On camera, we got a feel for the warm communal spirit of their home, saw Aaron’s various outdoor projects, and even had an unexpected run-in with the LAPD.
I have since responded in kind to the Parsons’ hospitality by hosting them at my place when they came back to San Francisco. There was no greater joy than seeing them all march into my office, gawking like kids in a toy store at all the LPs and CDs on my shelves.
The Parson Red Heads – “I Knew a Young Girl”