In concert, British pub-rocker Graham Parker often taps into the bristling invective of “Squeezing Out Sparks,” one of his angriest catalog classics from 1979, employing electric guitar on the tunes, he says, “just to give them some oomph.” But to celebrate the disc’s 40th anniversary this year, he’s charting a different course. Complementing his 2018 album, the New Orleans-rollicking “Cloud Symbols,” he’ll be releasing an all-acoustic version of “Sparks.” He says, “I disciplined myself to tough it out, solely on acoustic for some reason. Some of the songs work way better than I would have thought, especially ‘Discovering Japan,’ and surprisingly, ‘Protection.’ I can’t say that ‘Local Girls’ works all that well, but ‘You Can’t Be Too Strong,’ ‘Love Gets You Twisted’ and ‘Passion is No Ordinary Word’ really kill.”
Judd Apatow is working with you, on his show “Crashing” and programs like HBO’s “The Deuce.”
“This is 40” gave me and The Rumour a great start to our reunion, and thanks to Judd for using two of the songs from “Cloud Symbols” — one on HBO, one on Netflix — before it was even released. So things are humming along pretty good. But these things come along now and again, and in this period where selling CDs is not exactly something you can rely on, they’re very helpful, that’s for sure.
As a former angry young man — and with the sorry state of the post-Trump, post-Brexit era — why isn’t “Cloud Symbols” foaming at the mouth?
Well, it’s very tempting to sound off. But finding creative originality in going on and on about the current political climate is not very useful. Plus, everything seems really very shrill when it came to the same old left/right echo chamber concept. It’s like a broken record. So I’d prefer to swing and be more playful with lyrics at this point in time.
But one of your songs asks “Is The Sun Out Anywhere?” Umm, probably not.
Ha! Again, that didn’t come from any political viewpoint. I simply looked at the weather forecast on my phone, and it seemed like a hell of a lot of cloud symbols were everywhere I looked.
In “Ancient Past” you reference an attic. Have you got one? And what the hell is in there?
I’ve got a couple of attics! With a lot of the ancient past residing in both. A large stereo is in one, and it’s been there since the CD age took over. It takes up a good deal more room than some JBL Bluetooth speaker device. But listening to music isn’t at the top of my list these days — it’s just not as compelling as it used to be for me.
IF YOU GO
Where: Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley
When: 8 p.m. April 6
Tickets: $24 to $28
Contact: (510) 644-2020, www.ticketfly.com