In the 1970s, British singer-songwriter Graham Parker and his band, The Rumour, recorded a series of acclaimed albums including Squeezing Out Sparks, which Rolling Stone ranked as one of the greatest of all time. Then it ended. Parker parted ways with the Rumour, launched a solo career and later settled in upstate New York.
Now, after 31 years, Graham Parker and the Rumour are back together – and it’s a high profile return. They appear in the upcoming Judd Apatow movie, "This Is 40," and just released a new album, called Three Chords Good.
Parker swore the reunion with The Rumour could never happen. Until, he says, he stopped worrying about it so much.
"I thought of getting the bass player and the drummer together to do an album and then I'd play the other parts and stuff. And Steve the drummer made a joke about getting the band - the Rumour. And then he said 'I'm just kidding.' And then I went and DID it. Without thinking.’”
Parker is also the subject of a major documentary set to come out next year. And then there's a role in the new Judd Apatow film. Parker says much to his surprise, the wildly successful filmmaker contacted him out of the blue. “He doesn’t go along with what everybody else goes along with, which is you have to pick a new trendy weird band or you have to use The Who or Sting," he said.
"This Is 40" continues the story of two of the main characters from the hit film "Knocked Up." And Parker said he plays a character not too far removed from his own personal experience – an aging rocker who doesn’t always get his share of public recognition. "Artists like me, we’re all on indie labels now basically. My sort-of part in it is that I don’t quite save the bottom line.”
Whether he can save a struggling record label or not, Parker has always maintained a strong fan base in New York and in the Garden State. "New Jersey has been absolutely the best, I mean I could do 12 gigs solo often in a year in all parts of New Jersey and generally get a good turnout,” Parker said.
For the rocker, the past year is a case of life imitating art… imitating life - as the Rumour reunited for an album, then for a fictionalized version of that reunion - and now for an actual U.S. tour. Parker will be performing with The Rumour at the Newton Theatre in Newton, New Jersey on December 7th. The movie "This Is 40" opens in theatres on December 21st.