Interview with Shane Parch



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00:00:44 - Start of Playing Guitar

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: Oh I did? I completely forgot about that. So I heard you are a blues musician?

[Shane]: Yeah, I play guitar

[Me]: That’s amazing because when I went to high school, my psychology teacher was also a blues musician. He also played kind of like part time. He played at like a bar and stuff. It was really cool because he would occasionally play for the class. So, can you remember when you first got into playing guitar or started playing music?

[Shane]: Yeah

[Me]: Can you tell me more about it?

[Shane]: It was when I moved to Richmond from Chicago when I was 15. My dad took me to one of the thrift stores around here, and I was going through the records and I found this Black Sabbath record “Paranoid”

[Me]: Yeah! I know that song

[Shane]: That record, pulled that out because my dad told me to pick a record and he’ll buy it for me. So I bought that. I put it on at home and it just blew my mind. And I don’t really listen to music, I grew up listening to a lot of heavy metal thank you my brother, my older brother. He got me into heavy metal, but when I heard Black Sabbath, it was just like I need to learn how to do what they’re doing. And that was May of 91 and so May through the fall, I just bugged the crap out of my parents to get me guitar. Like please, get me a guitar, how do I do this. Somewhere around November of 91 they got me a guitar, and I haven’t put it down since.

[Me]: So that’s when you picked up the guitar?

[Shane]: Mhm. I didn’t get into blues until about… about 10 years later when I was living in Memphis Tennessee. I lived there for about 2 years.

Keywords: Black Sabbath; Black Sabbath Paranoid; Brother; Buying Guitar; Childhood; Guitar; Heavy Metal; Influence; Influences; Older Brother; Paranoid; Record; Richmond; Richmond VA; Start of Guitar; Youth

GPS: Richmond, Virginia
Map Coordinates: 37.5407, 77.4360
Hyperlink: Richmond, VA
00:02:53 - Performing/ Why Richmond

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: So do you kind of perform in Richmond?

[Shane]: I will perform anywhere, anyone wants me to perform. But yeah, I’ve performed all over Richmond. Primarily, I was in a blues band in the Bush League for 7 years or so, and we performed in Tennessee, Mississippi, Carolina, up in DC, all over Virginia. But yeah, it was a lot of fun.

[Me]: So why did you decide to come to Richmond and play guitar?

[Shane]: Well, it wasn’t my choice. I was 15. My dad got transferred here with his job, so it was like ‘we’re moving’. Oh ok. There was no discussion with my about the move.

Keywords: Band; Blues; Blues Band; Blues Shows; Bush; Bush League; League; Moving; Performance; Performing; Richmond; Richmond VA

GPS: Washington DC
Map Coordinates: 38.9072, 77.0369
00:03:51 - Music Scene in Richmond/ Improvement

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: So what’s the music scene like in Richmond?

[Shane]: I’ve been kind of out of it for a while. It’s very clickish. There’s like small clicks of different styles of music. They’re very tight like I’ll use the blues community because that’s the one I know. They’re very… how should I say it. Everyone knows everyone, and you end up, the more shows you go to, the more you see the same people at the same shows. So if you’re in the punk rock scene, you’re gonna start seeing the same people every show. You know if you’re hanging out with the heavy metal kids, you’re gonna start seeing the same people at every show. And they end up forming this tight knit communities which is cool, but the negatives that I’ve seen in my experience is that because of that tight knit community like atmosphere, they’re unwilling to, like, go hang out with this community or go hang out with that community. You know what I mean?

[Me]: Yes, so it’s like very closed.

[Shane]: Yeah, insular

[Me]: Do you feel like there’s a way to improve the music scene in Richmond then?

[Shane]: There’s always ways to improve it. Yeah. You’re professor be the one to ask that question. I don’t know if he’s given you much background on what he does outside of work, but he’s been putting together this committee to almost like a think tank on how to do just that improve the conditions for musicians and not only musicians but the people that like music in Richmond. I think it’s a hard thing to do. I don’t know many people that these days outside of actual musicians that go out to live music. Unless it’s a big name act. But for local bands, it’s very hard to get people to the door.

Keywords: Band Community; Challenges; Community; Groups; Improvement; Local Bands; Music; Music Scene; Richmond; Richmond VA

00:06:21 - Learning Guitar

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: So, going back to how you picked up guitar, was it very difficult to start mastering it?

[Shane]: I don’t think I’ve ever mastered it.

[Me]: I mean if you play in a band, you must be good.

[Shane]: If you ever feel like you’ve mastered it, you’ve not really… you’ve stopped learning, and if you’ve stopped learning, then what’s the point. Now going back, was it difficult? I play left-handed, so the difficult part was… I took a handful of lessons from a guy. He basically told me I wouldn’t be any good playing left handed because too many things are stacked against you and everyone plays right-handed. So, anywhere you go, they’re gonna have right-handed guitars. And I’m like, well, I told him. I won’t play guitar this way. This is what’s comfortable, so why won’t I do what’s comfortable? So I took like one more lesson with him and I quit, and I ended up learning from friends. I guess the only difficult part I guess would be having to develop in my mind a way to think about music from a left-handed perspective in a right-handed world. Especially with guitar, it’s not like, um, like with drums, you just… you’re just playing drums. Now there’s a left-handed way and a right-handed way to play drums, but it’s primarily you playing drums. But left-handed and right-handed string instruments are very different because the strings all backwards. Do you play?

[Me]: Yeah, yeah, I play violin.

[Shane]: Violin? Okay, so imagine. So you play like this right? So imagine flipping over to the other side, and then the strings are all backwards also because you flip the strings. The order of the strings. So all the chord sharps are written for right-handed people, and me being left-handed, it took me a while to get out of confusion of what was going on. When I didn’t have any of the book learning, I would just pick and make noise and try to make it sound good. And that was always fulfilling.

Keywords: Difficulties; Hardships; Learning; Left-Handed; Lefty; Lessons; Mastering; Right-Handed; Righty

00:08:43 - Getting into a Band/ Bush League

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: So how did you start getting into a band? The Bush League you mentioned? How did you get into those?

[Shane]: Once you start… well, going back to high school, when I was in high school, I hung out with a group of guys that we all started playing guitar all around the same time. So we all started forming little bands and why not we would play at like pep rallies and stuff like that. We would play wherever we could, you know, pep rallies and like school dances if we could get that. There were couple rock clubs back then, punk rock clubs that we would play. But you just try and find like-minded individuals to start making the same kind of noise with, and the Bush League, I met, I was playing at a open mic night about 10 years ago, at Pospup in the east end of Richmond, and the singer and the base player were there as well, and I just wanted to go up to them be like you guys sound good, but you need a guitar player. So from there, I just kind of got involved and started playing shows, found a drummer.

[Me]: And you said you picked up blues music about 10 years ago?

[Shane]: 10 years after I started. So, I lived in Memphis from 2000 to 2002, and I had the occasion. Memphis is only like 10 miles north of Mississippi, and I had the occasion to go down and explore Mississippi a lot when I was living there. And the night life in Memphis itself is very… it’s different than here. Have you been to all the clubs here in Richmond?

[Me]: I’ve went past them, but I’ve never went

[Shane]: Okay, a lot of them are punk rock, alternative, heavy metal. That’s… Richmond’s got a lot of heart. Back in the 90’s they had big heart hardcore. But Memphis is soul R&B, southern rock, you would find a lot of blues, definitely blues. So you, that was the type of atmosphere in the clubs in Memphis. When I was living there, I played in a cover band, we did all like classic rock and southern rock stuff, some soul tunes, but that was an education. I was 25 or so. But while I was there in that atmosphere, I really got the… the idea where I wanted to explore every aspect of this music, and that’s the blues. And when I moved back to Richmond, in 2002, I taught myself how to play slag guitar and started learning open tunings and what not, and it just kind of snowballed from there, and that was 2002, and I started with the Bush League in 2007, so it wasn’t long after. But I kind of took those years after I came back to just kind of incubate myself and kind of like absorb anything I could get by records. Absorb sounds.

[Me]: So do you currently play for like Bush League or bands in Richmond?

[Shane]: I’ve been filling in. Their guitar player quit like 3 months ago, and I’ve been filling in on their shows. I’ve been playing with them, and I’m also playing with another guy I met on craigslist last March. He actually lived in Mississippi back in the 90’s. He went school at Ole Miss. And he… he had been to a lot of the shows of artists that I truly hold dear, and we kind of found some common ground and we were making some noise. We were looking for a drummer and a base player and it was like yeah.

Keywords: Alternative; Band; Blues Band; Bush; Bush League; Getting into a band; High School; League; Punk Rock; R&B; Rock Band

00:12:58 - College Experience

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: So did you play guitar in like high school or college?

[Shane]: Mhm

[Me]: Was that like your major?

[Shane]: No. It should’ve been, but it wasn’t. I did what my parents told me to do and that was, you know, get something with substance, with “substance” they say, and I’m like well, I think the guitar playing is, but ok. So I majored in mass communications and with the specialization of public relations. And it was really just a means to an end. I haven’t done anything with it. I’m a cook. Full time cook, and music is the rest of it.

Keywords: College; Job; Major; Work

00:13:41 - Blues Influences

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: So is there like any like significant part in your life where music had an influence that I missed?

[Shane]: Before I played guitar, my parents. It’s just their ideas of music and what not. Especially my dad. My dad had um… he loved Chicago blues. I grew up in Chicago, but he went to school couple blocks from Comiskey park where the White Sox play on the south side. He and his friends used to go to the blues clubs all the time. When he was in college, he would tell me all about it. We even had… when I was 12, we had a party at the house we had Glorious Shannon's and her band not famous at but amazing music. But she’s… I thinks she’s still alive. But her and her band, similar to like Koko Taylor you know her? Etta James?

[Me]: No. I’m not really into blues I guess.

[Shane]: But yeah. It was uh, my dad growing up, both my parents growing up were teenagers in the 50’s. They both liked like Elvis, Buddy Holly, you know all that stuff. And then, as they got older, my dad got into blues, country and western. Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and that type of stuff. And my mom loves gospel music which is basically the same thing as blues as far as I’m concerned. You have blues and you have gospel. The only difference is gospel talks about God, blues talk of about man.

[Me]: Wow. I didn’t know that. I didn’t know gospel music was blues music

[Shane]: Traditional. Yeah. Traditional gospel. I'm actually going to be at your school on Saturday at Modlin.

[Me]: Modlin? And this is this Saturday?

[Shane]: Mhm. My sister’s taking me to see the Blind Boys of Alabama. That’s some good classical music.

Keywords: Bands; Blues; Blues Bands; Buddy Holly; Dad; Elvis; Glorious Shannon; Influence; Influences; Mom; Parents

GPS: Chicago, IL
Map Coordinates: 41.8781, 87.6298
00:16:02 - More about Music Scene in Richmond

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: So what about uh… Can you tell me more about the music scene in Richmond? I mean you haven’t been in it for a while.

[Shane]: Yeah. For one, it’s never been kind to blues. It’s really hard to find a club in Richmond that wants to oh you’re a blues fan? Oh come on. They’re usually not like that. There are couple of places. Capitol house downtown catered to the blues and Americana type in rock and roll. The camel will have blue shows. They're over on the right up by VCU. But it’s it’s really hard to get a gig. We have to far to get a good blues gig. DC has some decent blues clubs. Down in Carolina. Actually surprisingly for uh the three corners region which is not entirely certain what the three cities are but I think it's like Greensboro, um, Greensboro… I only know Greensboro. There's there's there's an area in in Carolina then that has a big blues clubs down there. So if you’re in Richmond, you’re looking at traveling to get some decent gigs.

[Me]: Yeah. So it’s really hard to find some blues here.

[Shane]: Now if I was in Chicago or Memphis it’d be no problem.

[Me]: Yeah. They do have completely different cultures. Especially up in Seattle too.

[Shane]: Mhm. And when I was in high school on this and all that stuff from Seattle. I graduated in 94, so all that like nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden all that stuff came out right when I was in high school. And that's what everyone was listening to.

Keywords: Bands; Blues; Blues Bands; Culture; Music Scene; Problems; Richmond; Richmond VA; Scene

00:18:08 - Shift from Heavy Metal to Blues

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: So how did you shift from heavy metal rock to blues? I’m pretty sure you started picking up guitar because you liked heavy metal rock.

[Shane]: Well one of the things was like I can't play the heavy metal rocks. It’s too fast. You’re a musician. It’s like one of those quartet things where it's just like so many notes. Yeah you know what I'm talking about. I can't think of a composer that Paganini maybe? Is he kind of difficult to play? Where it’s just like blistering lightning your your finger to smooth than and I think I like listening to it but I can't play it. So there was that and then you know it's it's a whole everyone has their experiences like I have my parents and their taste in music and and what I listened to growing up and my brother's influence of of all the heavy metal stuff. And a lot of the heavy metal staff was blues basis to begin with.

[Me]: Oh really?

[Shane]: Yeah. Like black Sabbath is just really loud and blues with a lot of distortion. So you have all those influences before you started playing. Then when she started playing you kind of find your way to where you need to be. If you're honest with yourself. And I realized that the first 10 years of playing I was just kinda wandering I've played. I've played a lot. I tried to play a lot of the heavy metal the punk rock stuff. I even played in a bunch of churches just further singalong stuff. Which is acoustic guitar strumming chords. I did that. So you wander around trying to see what works best when once you find what works the best. And you just kind of stick with it.

Keywords: Blues; Brother; Heavy Metal; Heavy Metal Rock; Influence; Metal; Rock; Shift

00:20:07 - Going back to Heavy Metal

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: So, even to this day if you were if you were able to play like heavy rock heavy metal rock would you go back to heavy metal rock?

[Shane]: Probably not. That's a young man’s game. Blues, I mean BB King was in his 80’s when he died and he was still playing shows. So buddy guy he's still playing shows, but he's about a he's almost 80. Willie Nelson same thing every place country music blues country music is just doing blues.

[Me]: Prince died like last year?

[Shane]: Year about a year and a half two years ago. Something like that.

Keywords: BB King; Blues; Heavy Metal; Heavy Metal Rock

00:20:46 - Thoughts on Being a Musician

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: So, are there anything else that you want to tell me?

[Shane]: Hm. I don’t know. don't become a musician unless you can make money.

[Me]: In class we were discussing about how record players are disappearing and the musicians were having hard time to make money.

[Shane]: Yeah that that part is frustrating because I and I get I get teased at work all the time. I I'm going to be 42 in December and most of my co-workers are anywhere from like 25 to 35. And they're always teasing me about I'll go out of my records. I still buy CDs. I don’t care. I just… I think it's too easy to access music. Because if you think of like what a doctor does to become a doctor, I like I don't even know how many like do the 10 years, four years of undergraduate, and then what, eight years of school, after that then become a doctor and then they get paid and then they get paid. But if you look at that amount of time learning their craft I spent just as much time learning and. You know am I saving someone's life. No. am I enriching someone's life, yes. It'd be nice to get paid. So that that part of frustrating with the internet. Music being so accessible. It's been basically free. Like they have music department back here but they don't they don't even they don't even have a a person working back there anymore. So that that part's frustrating. And there's no turning back. I mean it's like you know Pandora's box once you open the box you can’t close it. So going forward, you just have to test things out. and see what works see what doesn't work keep things at work. Get rid of the stuff that doesn't as far as promoting herself and trying to get your name out there and uh and make a living out of it.

Keywords: CDs; Craft; Deparment; Frustration; Money; Music Department; School

00:23:16 - Thoughts on being a Musician Today

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: Are you still trying to get into like being a musician if you have the chance?

[Shane]: You mean like full-time?

[Me]: Yeah.

[Shane]: I'm not seeking it out. If it comes across, oh yeah that that would pay for all my bills. Okay. Yeah. Then let's do that sure. But it’s not something that I would do. I have found a good life. I’m good at cooking, so keep doing that. And people give me money every day for that.

[Me]: Well, I’m out of questions.

[Shane]: Oh that’s fine. I hope I was able to help you.

[Me]: Yeah.

[Shane]: What um… When’s your paper due?

Keywords: Musician; Thoughts; Today

00:24:06 - Issues in Richmond Music Scene

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: It’s due next Thursday. So it’s kind of like biography/ issues in music in Richmond. Do you have any more scenes in Richmond that could be like issues?

[Shane]: It’d be nice to see in Richmond like I remember when I was in high school there was definitely more of a sense of community. This was 25 years ago. Like I told you earlier there's like clicks of different music. Now they don’t they don’t really intermingle very much. But it would be nice to see somewhere like like in Memphis for example you can go down to Memphis and then he tells how many you play and you want to sit in, they're going to let you sit in with the band.

[Me]: Oh, even if it’s a stranger?

[Shane]: Yeah. More than likely you more than likely you'll be able to find a place to sit in and play some music. You're not going to find out here. Fans here are like this is our sound you know we can never let you screw up you know but if it's and so by sense of community that's what I mean. Like if you can either play music or not. You know what I mean? You play violin. You know you either have it or you don't. It doesn't matter what notes you’re playing. you either do it or you know. So it would be nice to have a greater sense of community word were where that happened where people were free to go sit in with the bands or what not. If that makes any sense. If my rambling makes any sense.

[Me]: It definitely makes sense. Are there any other issues? Other than everyone kind of having their own groups.

[Shane]: The community in in general? I'd I'd like to… And this is his culture in general. I would like to see people embrace live music everyone to see live music whether you're a musician or not. I just I don't understand it. I go to. And it's funny because when I go to other towns like Memphis or Nashville, Chicago you go out and there's people playing in clubs seven nights a week. And then the club's packed maybe not on Monday they’re not packed, but they’re playing 7 nights a week like all these clubs, like there’s always something going on basically there's always people looking at to find out to find the next sound and whatnot. So.

[Me]: Okay. Yeah definitely.

[Shane]: And it was very eye opening living in Memphis because moving from Chicago when I was fifteen I didn't really go to clubs in Chicago. So my first experience with going to club was obviously here in Richmond when I was a teenager. So being in my early twenties moving to Memphis. My only my only definition of what club life was for musicians who was the Richmond music scene in the 90’s. I get out to Memphis and it just blew my mind and how well it was supported by the community when people come out. It it was just night and day.

Keywords: Band; Bands; Clubs; Community; Culture; Fans; Issues; Live Music; Memphis; Music Culture; Playing; Tennessee

GPS: Memphis, TN
Map Coordinates: 35.1495, 90.0490
00:28:05 - Moving back to Richmond

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: So why did you come back to Richmond from Memphis?

[Shane]: I don’t know. I was broke. I got married. I got divorced all that stuff. I made lots of mistakes in Memphis but I had a lot of fun.

Keywords: Memphis; Memphis TN; Richmond; Richmond VA

00:28:22 - Conclusion/ Playing in Town

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Partial Transcript: [Me]: I’m out of questions.

[Shane]: That’s fine. I hope this really helped you out. If you want to hear anything that I've actually played guitar on. The Bush league is on Spotify. There's one out in Canada gas in a match that I recorded. We recorded at Memphis. So if you wanna just put a sound with the person who to talk to.

[Me]: I was hoping I could hear you play today.

[Shane]: Yeah if you check in check that out and then it's the Bush league and the album. I think I will get it right. So that’s the album I was on. So that single that was the guitar player that replaced me, but this whole record is me. I’ll email this to you so you don’t have to write it down.

[Me]: How often do you play in town?

[Shane]: With the Bush League, they've been playing since I've been jamming with them. We play about two or three times a month. I have a gag bit 18th I think had said it before. Say we have a gig the 18th just over the mountain from Charlottesville and then the 25th we’re playing at the firehouse theatre. You know where the camel is?

[Me]: No.

[Shane]: Okay. It’s down the VCU. I don't know, it's on broad street but I don't know where what the cross street is. But yeah, it's two gigs. We have this month. Should be fun.

[Me]: Thank you for your time. I really appreciate it

[Shane]: Great meeting you.

Keywords: Album; Bush League; Playing Today; Playing in Town; Recordings; Spotify; VCU

GPS: Virginia Commonwealth University
Map Coordinates: 37.548, -77.453