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The Story of Kevin Parker

and Tame Impala


Alexander Jasper
The Story of Kevin Parker and Tame Impala

Contents Page

Page 3 ………………………………………… Introduction


Page 3 …………………………………………… Early Life
Page 3 ……………………………. High School/University
Page 4 …………………………………. Main Discography
Page 4 …………………………………………… Members
Page 5 ………………………………………. Musical Style
Page 5 ………………………………... Recording Process
Page 6 ……………………………………………… Awards
Page 6 …………………………………………. Conclusion

Tame Impala on Rottnest Island – Dominic Simpler, Kevin Parker, Jay Watson, Nick Allbrook (Left to Right)

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Alexander Jasper
The Story of Kevin Parker and Tame Impala

Introduction
Tame Impala is a psychedelic rock band from Perth Western Australia, although
there are five members of Tame Impala when they play live, it is a solo project
started by a man named Kevin Parker who writes, records and produces all the
music with a few exceptions over the bands discography.

Early Life
Kevin Parker was born on the 20th January 1986 in Sydney to his white Zimbabwean
parents, Jerry and Rosalind. At a very young age Parker moved with his family to
Kalgoorlie however, a few years later when Parker was four years old his parents
divorced. Each of them moved to separate households in Perth. Kevin lived in Mt
Lawley with his mother, her husband, Tony, and their daughter, Helen. His brother,
Steve lived with Jerry and his new wife Rhonda in Cottesloe. Parker moved in with
his father when he started High School at John XXIII College. At the age of 13
Parker was a self-described “delinquent”, he often used to steal, do graffiti, and
smoke weed. Parker, in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, said that he
was driven by “this feeling of not accepting what was handed to you, not doing what
you were supposed to do”. As well as being a nuisance Parker was also an excellent
drummer and serious young musician.

High School/University
Throughout his life, Parker’s father had played in many cover bands and kept a
music room in his house which included a drum kit, guitars and a keyboard. He was
also the first person to teach Parker the basics of guitar leaving his son to learn the
rest of the instruments himself. When Parker was 15 his parents decided to get back
together so they left their partners and moved into a house in Subiaco. However,
after a month it fell apart and Parker
and his brother ended up living in a
shed in their mother’s house. Later
at the age of 16 the boys moved
back in with their father.

After Parker finished school, he


moved out and started university
doing a degree in Engineering.
However, he decided to take a
break from university, and went
back to study astronomy. Whilst
Parker was attending university he
found a new group of friends who all
loved and appreciated music as
Kevin Parker's JTC Year Book Photo
much as he did. Parker played in a
band called “The Dee Dee Dums” as well as many others. Parker started writing
more and more sophisticated music which captured the attention of Modular records
who signed him as Tame Impala.

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Alexander Jasper
The Story of Kevin Parker and Tame Impala

Main Discography
Tame Impala released they’re debut album Innerspeaker in 2010 which went gold in
Australia and gained Parker major popularity all around the world. In an interview
with The Sydney Morning Herald, Parker said, "I didn't expect them to. I thought I
had failed ... As I do after every album."

Two years later Tame Impala released Lonerism which went Platinum in Australia,
broke top 20 in the UK and top 40 in the US.

three years later (in 2015) Tame Impala released Currents which debuted at number
one in Australia and once again was completely created by Parker with no
collaboration from other artists. The album also reached number three in the UK and
number four in the US. In October 2017 Currents B-Side’s were released.

Innerspeaker (2010) Lonerism (2012) Currents (2015)

Members
2007: Tame Impala’s live band consisted of three members, Kevin Parker on guitar
and vocals, Dominic Simper on bass, and Jay Watson on Drums and backing vocal.
2009: Nick Allbrook joins playing guitar and synth. Simper also starts playing guitar
and synth whilst still playing bass. (4 members)
2011: Simper stops playing bass and Allbrook starts. (4 members)
2012: Julien Barbagallo joins playing drums and doing backing vocals whilst Watson
switches to keys, guitar and continues backing vocals. (5 Members)
Mid 2013: Nick Allbrook leaves Tame Impala in place for Cam Avery who plays bass
and does backing vocals. (5 Members)

A Graph taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tame_Impala showing when members joined/left and what
instruments they played.

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Alexander Jasper
The Story of Kevin Parker and Tame Impala

Musical Style
Parker is heavily influenced by late 60’s psychedelic rock. In an interview with The
Guardian Parker talks about the other music that is memorable to him. This includes,
The Beatles, The Shadows, Silverchair, Cream, Air. In an interview with Nylon TV
Parker says he likes to record all the music himself because he likes “the kind of
music that is the result of one person constructing an awesome symphony of sound.”
As well as being into psychedelic rock, Parker also likes electronic music and has a
self-admitted “fetish” for pop music. He enjoys music from artists such as Britney
Spears and Kylie Minogue which he revealed in an interview with the LA Times
interview.

Kevin Parker recording Lonerism

Recording Process
In an interview with Mess+Noise Parker talks about his recording process. "I’ll have a
sudden, spontaneous vision of a song, have all the parts mapped out in mind, and
do my best to record it as quick as I can. I’ll find my eight-track and do a quick demo
of just the riff, or a verse or a chorus. The song will go for like 30 seconds. I’ll have a
whole bunch of them and then I’ll just choose which ones to make into full songs."
When recording Parker doesn’t ask for any input from other band members (With a
few exceptions). They only hear the songs after they’ve been recorded and
mastered.

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Alexander Jasper
The Story of Kevin Parker and Tame Impala

Awards
Since 2009 Tame Impala have won 15 WAMIs from 26 nominations. Won 8 ARIAs
from 19 nominations. Won 2 out of the 3 J awards they’ve been nominated for, been
nominated for two Grammys, won a brit awards, two Rolling Stone awards, and one
out of the three nominations they had for an EG Music award. In total Tame Impala
have won 30 significant awards.

Tame Impala at the 2013 ARIA Awards (Cam Avery, Kevin Parker, Dominic Simpler, Julian Barbagallo)

Conclusion
Today (as of March 2018) Tame Impala still play gigs all around the world. As well as
continuing to play gigs, Parker also continues to write new music in his studio,
produce for the band Pond (plus others), and performs his solo DJ sets. Parker has
also recently collaborated on a track called “My Life” with electronic artist ZHU.

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Alexander Jasper
The Story of Kevin Parker and Tame Impala

Bibliography

http://messandnoise.com/features/3964065

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tame_Impala

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/jul/04/tame-impala-psychedelic-disco

https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/out-of-this-world-20150624-ghwchk.html

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/oct/06/tame-impala-kevin-parker-lonerism

http://www.uctv.fm/videos/391-tame-impala-undercover-interviews

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/apr/28/kevin-parker-soundtrack-my-life

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Alexander Jasper