IN THE OFFICE: Brad Parks – Scranton acoustic singer/songwriter
On Tuesdays, WVIA partners with NEPA Scene to bring you In the Office, a brand new online music series shot in an actual office space at WVIA’s home in Pittston. Featuring original musicians from Northeastern Pennsylvania, the series includes a full live performance video, streaming songs, photos, and an interview that’s exclusive to NEPA Scene.
This week, Scranton singer/songwriter Brad Parks, formerly of Kids on Bikes, plays an acoustic set.
Watch the performance:
Stream the playlist:
This interview was conducted by Matthew Manahan, an intern at WVIA Public Media.
NEPA SCENE: Where are you from?
BRAD PARKS: I am from Scranton.
NS: Did you go to Scranton High?
BP: No, I actually went to Wyoming Valley West High School. Go Spartans!
NS: Got it. So when did you start playing guitar?
BP: I started playing guitar actually kind of late in life; my stepmother got me a guitar when I was 19 years old.
NS: What was the first song you learned how to play on guitar?
BP: “Eight Days a Week” by The Beatles.
NS: Would you say that they are your inspiration for playing guitar?
BP: I’m not really sure. My inspiration is just to have it down I guess. It’s a hobby.
NS: Is there any artist you try and emulate?
BP: I try and emulate the great poet writers, guys like Tom Waits and Warren Zevon.
NS: Do you play any other instruments?
BP: Not really. Harmonica every once in a while; I kind of dabble with keys a little bit.
NS: Do you also play with a band?
BP: I was in a band; we were called Kids on Bikes. We actually started it a long time ago, me and my best friend from high school. When we started, it was more of a fake band. We would come up with album titles, song titles, and create posters and stuff like that.
NS: Did you guys ever record any albums?
BP: We actually ended up becoming a real band and made two EPs. I met another guy who played instruments, and my friend Rob became the singer of the band, and then we met another guy that played bass. Our threesome became a foursome, and then we met another guy who played drums and then we became a fivesome.
NS: So you met these people along the way?
BP: They were all from the area; they came from Scranton. But now they don’t live in Scranton anymore, so now we’re not a band anymore. It was fun while we lasted; we met a lot of great people.
NS: When you were with the band, what type of gigs would you play?
BP: We played a lot of bar gigs, which could be tough because you have to play for about four hours of songs. We were an original and a cover band, so we had to fill up that space. But it was a lot of fun playing multiple gigs with a bunch of other musicians.
NS: So you wrote your own songs and covered others too?
BP: Yeah, we tried to make our cover songs sound like songs that we would want to write ourselves. We also tried to cover more fun songs that were traditionally covered by cover bands, just to keep it fresh.
NS: What type of genre would you say you guys played?
BP: First, it was acoustic based-pop, and then it changed to rock/pop.
NS: Kind of like the artists you mentioned before?
BP: Yeah, kind of like that. More so along the lines of bands like Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters, but also along the lines of Elvis Costello – you know, guys like that.
NS: How do you balance music with your other obligations?
BP: Easy, actually. Music, unfortunately, actually has to come fourth, after marriage, job, bills, and life.
NS: So guitar is just recreational at this point in your life?
BP: It is, but I definitely want to get my music out there.
NS: Thanks for coming in, Brad.
BP: Thank you! My pleasure.
Photos by Ryan Mullaney Photography
by Neil Prisco
Neil Prisco is an award-winning television producer and director who grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York. He currently lives in NEPA and works as the promotions director at WVIA Public Media in Pittston.