If you haven’t heard of The Sun Parade, it may be because they’ve been out of town lately on a multi-city tour of the U.S., from upstate New York to Southern California, where they opened several shows for fellow Valley recording artist Martin Sexton. The band, which includes Chris Marlon Jennings (guitar, vocals), Jeff Lewis (guitar, vocals, mandolin), Mike Parham (guitar, vocals), Jacob Rosazza (bass) and Colin Jalbert (drums), was born in 2011, and has since added another member, Roxy LaBlanc (guitar, vocals) whom they picked up in Portland, Oregon while on the road in support of their latest release, Yossis. The album, produced by Paul McNamara and Danny Bernini at Spirit House Records, yielded a single, “Need You By My Side,” which in turn spawned a video directed by Brooklyn-based director Ian Cinco that’s garnered upwards of 12,000 views on YouTube. The Advocate caught up with The Sun Parade’s Chris Jennings, who was kind enough to answer some questions via iPhone from out on the road.
Valley Advocate : How’s the tour going?
Chris Jennings: The tour is going great! We opened for Martin Sexton for five dates in Nevada and California. We asked for one pound of turkey, one pound of sliced cheddar cheese, a jar of mayo, local IPA, dark chocolate and bread to be in our dressing room before each show… we’ve never gotten to do that before, so we were pumped! We’re meeting lots of great people and new fans. We really miss home.
Any favorite stops?
We stayed in Portland, Oregon for a few days at my girlfriend’s sister’s house and played at Lewis and Clark University. I felt at home there compared to most places because it was like being in Northampton. They’re about as far apart as you can get in the country, but the people had the same happy, caring, flannel-wearing community as we do here, so it was nice being there.
You’re staying at the Chateau Marmont or the Motel 6?
Definitely Motel 6… but only three times. One of them was in a Comfort Inn that was nice. But mostly at people’s houses and couches and beds.
Any brushes with famous people in L.A.?
No, not besides Martin Sexton, who we were playing with. But in Boulder, we were busking on the mall there, and this man threw a dollar in the guitar case and I whispered to Jeff, “Is that Tommy Chong?” Then we just started laughing as we finished the song. We caught up with him and gave him a CD and he dug it. Also got a picture with him [see above].
What do you consider the band’s biggest achievement to date?
That we have all grown so much as songwriters and are able to write, create, sing and perform better than we ever imagined possible. We feel very lucky to be able to play music together.
Are you going back into the studio over the winter to record more?
Yes, we’re going to start recording a new album on tape at Spirithouse Studios as soon as possible. We have enough material for two albums, so get ready for both!
Valleyites can welcome The Sun Parade home on Dec. 8, 10 p.m. At The Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center St., Northampton, (413) 586-8686, http://www.iheg.com, or check out their music and videos at http://www.thesunparade.com.