On the Verge: Morning Parade

“I actually prefer touring with bands I don’t really know that well,” said Morning Parade’s vocalist and guitarist, Steve Sparrow. “I think if we toured with our own heroes, we’d just constantly make fools of ourselves every day.”

The UK rock band played shows in support of Walk The Moon, which Sparrow described as being an amazing experience, and will be opening for The Smashing Pumpkins later this month. In the past, Morning Parade have played shows with The Kooks, The Wombats, and 30 Seconds To Mars– not bad, especially considering they’ve just recently debuted their first self-titled album.

The band consists of five members– some of whom have known each other since their pre-teen years. For their in-studio performance, Sparrow, along with bassist Phil Titus and keyboard player Ben Giddings, arrived at WERS for stripped-down versions of two songs from their new album (drummer Andy Hayes and guitarist Chad Thomas were absent from the set).

Morning Parade have already enjoyed several months of post-album release buzz back at home, their album having dropped back in March in the UK. Here in the States, the record came out on June 19, but their name has long since caught on with plenty of airplay of songs like “Headlights”, their catchy, current US single.

The band’s sound combines alternative rock with dance and electronic elements, along with poppy melodies, all of which give them a broad appeal. The three of them were incredibly cordial during soundcheck, and they sounded all-around enthusiastic during the interview breaks of their performance. They joked around with the on-air host about getting together with “Queen Liz” for tea and cucumber sandwiches following their series of special performances for the Olympic Torch Relay, which concluded in London’s Hyde Park in late July.

The three of them began their performance with “Us & Ourselves”, which sounded great in its simplified version, with acoustic guitar, keyboard, and minimal percussion as the only instrumentation. “Headlights”– which Sparrow explained as a song about messed-up relationships– followed, and was performed acoustically and alone by Sparrow, whose singing carried the melody even more sweetly in this bare-bones version.

After their set, Sparrow discussed the band’s general attitude toward adjusting their act for the larger stages at music festivals, which they try to play as many of as possible in the summertime.

“We tend to try to not pander to anything too much,” he said. “But I think when we play the festivals it’s usually a bit more of a condensed set, so you just kind of stick with the stuff that’s really, super-upbeat.”

Sparrow also divulged what helps keep himself sane during the long hours spent traveling: “Reading– I’ve been getting a few funny looks going into Wal-Mart. I’m reading a book called Fifty Shades of Grey. My girlfriend at home is like, ‘You need to get this book I’ve been reading’, and I’m like, ‘Okay’. And the looks I got when I was in Wal-Mart– like, ‘Excuse me, do you have this book called Fifty Shades of Grey?’” Sparrow said.

When he’s not poring over the juicy details of for-mature-audiences-only novels, Sparrow said he and his bandmates are constantly working on new music.

“[The album’s] been out in the UK for a while, and it was finished last summer, so we’re kind of always thinking ‘What’s the next thing coming?’, and we’re always kind of chasing that carrot,” he said. “And it’s good, it’s like any sort of exercise, you just gotta keep doing it and keep your limbs fresh for it.”

By Sarah Ruggiero

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