Jack Parker grew up in a musical family, so it’s no surprise he went on to have a wide-ranging career as a musician.
Parker, who has performed in Rocky Point All-Stars and Tumbledown, and was a touring guitarist for MxPx, now performs under his own name, along with his band, The Remedy. But it all started with the influence of his mom, a pianist and vocalist, and his dad, a bluegrass aficionado who played guitar and mandolin.
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When he was around 8 years old Parker, who grew up in the Purdy area, began playing the baritone ukulele — he was too small to play guitar at that age — and after learning his first few chords, he became addicted, he says.
His dad started taking him to bluegrass festivals and jams.
“I just absolutely loved it,” he says. “Kids weren’t really around a lot of bluegrass music. It was just me and a bunch of adults. All my friends were grownups at that point. It was an interesting way to grow up into that scene.”
When he got into playing electric guitar a few years later, he started raiding his dad’s record collection and exploring musicians like Jimi Hendrix and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
When he was 19, he moved to Arizona to play in a band with his uncle, a professional musician. “He was a pivotal person in my development as a musician,” Parker says.
It was his first foray into playing in a rock band. “I just loved it,” he says. “Especially being only 19 years old and playing in bars and stuff like that, it was like an awakening for me at that point in my life.”
Something about Kitsap County just felt right to me. Once I got here I just felt instantly at home, like, these are my people.
Parker moved back to Washington in his early 20s and got a job at Ted Brown Music in Tacoma before he was transferred to the Silverdale store.
“At first I was like, ‘Where is Silverdale?’” he says. But they were offering him full-time work that he needed at the time. “I was back living with my parents so I was just like, ‘OK, I just need to take this and embrace it.’”
Once he started working there, he instantly began making friends with musicians coming into the store. “Something about Kitsap County just felt right to me,” he says. “Once I got here … I just felt instantly at home, like, these are my people.”
After forming a short-lived band in Kitsap, Parker met Chebon Tiger — who he describes as a “fantastic blues guitar player” — and played with him in the Chebon Tiger band.
Parker later went on to play in Rocky Point All-Stars, which he formed with KW Miller, and Marshall and Harley Trotland.
“That was a big turning point for me musically here in town,” he says. “I still look back on that band as probably one of the best musical experiences of my life.”
One night after a Rocky Point All-Stars show, MxPx frontman Mike Herrera approached the band.
“I didn’t really know MxPx’s music back then,” Parker recalled. “I knew who he was and I knew that they were a big deal, but I was more into blues and country and bluegrass and stuff like that, so I didn’t know the punk rock scene very well back then.”
A few months later, Herrera called Parker to ask him to record a solo on one of MxPx’s albums; the solo ultimately appeared on the song “Late Again” from Panic.
Years later, Herrera approached the band again to ask if they’d come into his studio and back some country-adjacent songs he’d penned. In exchange, he offered to record the band’s second album for free. “We jumped at the opportunity to do that,” Parker says.
That collaboration evolved into the band Tumbledown, which toured all over the country, including the South by Southwest music festival in Austin for three or four years in a row, Parker says. The band recorded two albums in 2009 and 2010. “We were a tight band because we played a lot, toured a lot, and it was a lot of fun.”
Parker began subbing in for some MxPx gigs around that time. He ended up being the band’s touring guitarist for around five years, traveling with the band to South America, Europe, southeast Asia and Japan. “I really got to see the world playing with that band … It was a lot of fun playing huge, sold-out shows all over the world. That’s just an amazing experience which I am just so grateful for.”
Parker released his first solo album, Homegrown, around 2015. “I did a couple of solo tours on that which I booked all myself,” he says. “I toured once a year for about three or four years, all the way up until COVID.”
Just before the COVID-19 pandemic, Parker had formed a band, Jack Parker and the Remedy, and started booking “all kinds of really cool gigs,” he says. “Obviously COVID shut that down quickly.”
The pandemic forced him to shift gears, since he couldn’t continue performing live. He bought recording equipment and taught himself how to use it. “I just really dove into that headfirst and started recording a new album which is just now finished two years later,” he says. He’s still finalizing the artwork and is hoping to release it sometime this summer.
Over the past year, Parker began teaching guitar again which, at 45 years old, has been a “total revelation” for him, he says.
“I taught guitar before, many years ago, but I didn’t enjoy it as much back then,” he says. “But now that I’m a little older and I’ve got more experience under my belt, I have just absolutely loved teaching guitar to especially kids, but adults, too,” he says, noting that he has a few students in their fifties who decided they wanted to learn guitar.
“I just think it’s so good for people to learn an instrument,” he says. “It helps us in so many different ways to make us feel better and so that’s where I’m at right now. The look on a kid’s face when they discover they can play a G chord for the first time and their faces just light up, it’s absolutely a wonderful feeling to witness that.”
Upcoming performances by Jack Parker
Some of Parker’s upcoming performances include:
- 8 p.m., April 30, at the Hidden Door, 14525 Aurora Ave. N., Shoreline, $10
- 8 p.m., May 14 at the Tracyton Public House, 403 NW Tracy Ave., Bremerton, free
- 7 p.m., May 28 at Slaughter County Brewing, 1307 Bay St., Port Orchard, free
For more info on Parker and a full list of upcoming shows, check out his website.