Glastonbury based Nick Parker started gigging in his early teens playing mandolin and singing in folk/rock/skiffle band ‘Why?’, and spent the next 10 years bouncing around on stages at hundreds of venues and festivals around the UK and Europe. In 1998 Nick called it a day with Why? and started guitar band ‘Tobermory’. After various false starts, a few flirtations with industry ‘big’ boys and a few tours in Germany, Tobermory played their last gig in 2004.
In 2010 Nick embarked on a solo career and has since released four full-length albums, 2010’s ‘The King of False Alarms’, 2014’s ‘Angry Pork and the Occasional Bird’, 2017’s ‘Besta Venya’, (tracks from which have been played on various BBC6Music shows) and 2020’s Make Siddowda – Live from Worcester.
Over the years Nick has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with The Wedding Present, Bright Eyes, Frank Turner and Mike Peters among others, and has recently provided tour support for Levellers, Ginger Wildheart & the Sinners, and Skinny Lister.
Nick’s songs are often tongue-in-cheek and cheerful, and on the rare occasion when fun IS poked (usually at himself) it is always with a wry smile and an element of satire. The audience are often encouraged to be a part of the show, from holding up lyrics or creating sound effects, to providing basslines or collectively being Nick’s duet partner.
Although primarily a solo effort Nick often plays with his band ‘Nick Parker and the False Alarms’ which is a folky/rocky/country affair using guitars, fiddle, pedal steel, banjo, mandolin, cornet, accordion, keys, whistles, pipes, bass and drums, often with various members switching instruments when space permits. At a recent gig the band were described as ‘A British Arcade Fire’, something that Nick was very pleased about. At that same gig they teamed up with Les ‘Fruitbat’ Carter to perform a 9-piece version of CarterUSM’s Only Living Boy in New Cross, something that now happens whenever Les is in the building.
The False Alarms’ newest addition is multi-instrumentalist John Leonard. John, fiddle player Ben Wain and Nick also regularly gig as a trio and the term ‘beautiful shambles’ springs to mind.
Over the last few years Nick – either solo or with his various line-ups – has played at many festivals including Chagstock, Wickham, Watchet, Glastonbury, Frivolt (Sweden) and Zytanien (Hannover) among many others, with the highlight being Beautiful Days mainstage in August 2019.
When Nick’s not gigging he is usually busy making videos for his songs which include a very time consuming lyric video made using spaghetti letters, and an even more time consuming stop motion animation of a live gig which has recently been selected for inclusion in the Leeds International Film Festival.
Nick recently made a return to video making and much of his work will be featured on Levellers’ new album Peace (DVD version) which comes out in August. He also has the honour of taking the False Alarms on a European tour supporting Levellers in October – all things being well.