Sometimes life may seem like a movie but in the case of Graham Parker, who recently reunited his old band The Rumour after three plus decades, life literally is a movie, or actually two movies - a documentary and a feature film. Those two new Graham Parker movies are the Gramaglia Brothers' documentary Don't Ask Me Questions and the Judd Apatow feature film, This is 40 starring Paul Rudd, that opens this week. The Apatow film, which has been described as a spinoff of Apatow's 2007 hit comedy Knocked Up, heavily features the legendary British pub rock/new wave band who kicked ass musically from '75 to '81 when they broke up prematurely but amicably. The recent reunion of Parker and the Rumour can be credited to the documentary which led indirectly to the Rumour's five accomplished musicians (guitarists Brinsley Schwarz and Martin Belmont, keyboardist Bob Andrews, drummer Steve Goulding, and bassist Andrew Bodnar) all rejoining their former frontman last year to record the new album Three Chords Good on Primary Wave Records which arrived in Amoeba last month. Shortly after the band reunited last year, in a perfect act of synchronicity, film director Judd Apatow (a longtime fan of Parker) approached the singer to invite him to make an appearance in his next film project This Is 40. Parker agreed and brought in the Rumour too into the film project (see above featurette).
Since November 24th the group have been busy on a reunion tour across the US, playing a mix of new and classic material, with a few dates in California over the past week including a stop at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, the Fillmore in San Francisco, and at the Roxy in LA (where they last performed in 1977) for the record release party of the This Is 40 soundtrack (Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac fame, who is also on the soundtrack, also performed that night last week). The tour ends tonight, Wednesday Dec 19th, with a concert at Minnesota Public Radio's Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.
In 1975 The Rumour joined Parker and together made the albums Howlin’ Wind, Heat Treatment, Stick to Me, Squeezing Out Sparks which was later reissued as a 22 track CD Squeezing Out Sparks + Live Sparks, and The Up Escalator. In 1981 they broke up. Categorized at the time by such things as "new wave" and "pub rock" Graham Parker and The Rumour, despite their amazing musical output and their incredible matching live shows, never really got their due or the level of mainstream success that they so deserved - as neither did Parker as a solo act in later years. But maybe that will all change this time round for Parker and the Rumour. This Is 40 opens Friday at theaters everywhere. The This Is 40 soundtrack, featuring Parker, Paul Simon, Ryan Adams, Paul McCartney and many more, as well as Graham Parker and The Rumour's new album Three Chords Good, plus all Parker's other releases, such as Stick To Me, are available at Amoeba Music.
Graham Parker and The Rumour "Hey Lord Don't Ask Me Questions" (1978) - the song that
inspired the title of the many years in the making documentary about Parker and the Rumour
Graham Parker and the Rumour "Heat Treatment" (live on BBC 1977)