Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air: Legends
of West Texas Music
"Indeed, Oglesby's introduction of more
than two dozen musicians who called Lubbock home should be required
reading not only for music fans, but for Lubbock residents and
anyone thinking about moving here. On these pages, music becomes
a part of Lubbock's living history."
Chris: Wade, Id like to start with you telling me about the how you learned to play the guitar.
Wade: My friend Boone Law His dads a judge [Laughs] "Judge Law"...Boone started writin songs and gettin into that Folk singer/songwriter scene by goin to The Kerrville Folk Festival and hookin up with that crowd. Hes from Belton but that was after he came out here to go to Tech.
My brother Russell met Boone working at the Rec-Center at Tech. They worked in the Outdoor Program and took a bunch of trips together, and my brother was like, "Man, you gotta meet this guy! Hes bad-ass. You gotta hear him play and sing. He does some cool songs!"
Russell had turned me on to Jerry Jeff [Walker] and Robert Earl [Keen]s early stuff in the late 80s. Russell came out here to go to Graduate School at Tech. Hes two years older than me. We got to hanging around with Boone and drank a lot of beer [Laughs]. Anyway, the more we hung out with him, Boone was like, "Man, Russell, we need to get him a guitar." So we get me a guitar. That was the "Big Idea." I said, "What if I cant even play?"
Chris: Just to hang out? So it would be more fun for both of you?
Wade: Just to hang out with Boone. Yea, cause
we would start singing along with Boone, and he would go, "Man!
You should get a guitar! Its not hard!"
When we took our first trip to San Luis [Potosi, Mexico],
we were two White guys walking around with guitars so all the
Mariachi bands would come up and go, "Hey, you guys got
nice guitars, Man!"
Chris: So you came to Tech from Houston Why?
Wade: My mom and dad are from Floydada, just like an hour north and east of here. Dad went to Tech, and they lived in Lubbock for awhile. I still have two aunts and uncles that live up here. So I got lots of cousins and family here.
Chris: So did you grow up kinda knowin you were gonna go to Tech?
Wade: Not really. Russell went to A&M undergraduate. Leigh came out here, my older sister -- (Its just us three). She came out here and she said, "Wade, when youre ready to go to college, you need to come up here and check this place out, cause its fun." She kinda put the idea in my head, now that I think about it She knew it was a neat place.
Chris: You grew up in Houston, went all through high school there, and then you came up here. And you met Boone when you were a sophomore?
Wade: Probably when I was a sophomore or junior. Well, it took me the "eight-year chunk of time" to do college. I went about two years and then I was off for like three, three and a half, and then I finished up. So it was on my second round of college. I had been managing the Copper Caboose on 4th Street, over by the Stadium. [A local pool hall, game room, restaurant and saloon]. Thats what I was doing "on my hiatus." I used to book the Tejano bands there.
Chris: So get me farther down the line closer to where we are now.
Wade: Boone got me to where I at least could strum
a song. We just kinda started having big nights where everybody
would come by and thered be 8 or 9 guitars.
Chris: So this was all just for kicks, basically? Its a social thing to do.
Wade: Yea. Just with buddies that we met that play music. Thats whats most fun bangin around, I guess. Just passing the time. Cheap entertainment. An "experience," I guess.
Chris: Alright, I got it. Thats exactly what it is; You dont have to get too complicated or deep.
Now youve got a pretty hot band goin, these days; Howd you get to where youre actually getting together a band?
I was doing a lot of solo stuff here in town at Ichabods,
the old No Frills Grill,
and then it was On Broadway.
Chris: No. Thats okay. Thats a real deal. I mean, why the hell does a place like that right next to campus always have to close down?
Wade: I dont know. But Tech has more of them than any other college Ive seen - places near campus that would just be the optimum place to build a dance-hall, or club or whatever, that just go to crap. I dont know why that is.
Chris: Its unbelievable! That whole neighborhood in that "Tech Ghetto" is just famous for being trashy.
Wade: Anyway...You asked about the band. That same group that we started pickin guitars together around the house, we started watching The Robin Griffin Band. And we saw Cary Swinney at Great Scotts Barbecue. I was doing some gigs with guy named Ryan Corpening. It was just us two doing guitars, acoustic stuff. Hes killer; Hes Hot! You should see him play. He lives in Amarillo now playing with a guy up there. Me and Ryan were playing, and thats about the time when Robin Griffin left town. Basically, Ingrid Kaiter - Buddy Holly's niece - started coming and singing with Robin's band, and that band stayed together.
I mean, Im the "New Guy." These guys have been together for some time.
Chris: So your band now is basically the old Robin Griffin Band?
Wade: Basically. Now, were not doing the same music at all. Jay [Hattaway] and Shawn [Bailey] and Matthew [McLarty] - These guys are good! They sound like a totally different band when they play with me than when they play with Ingrid or Robin. But thats what they had been doin, and they asked me if I wanted to play with 'em, and that was that.
Chris: Just because yall had been hanging out and picking together for some time and they needed a new front-guy, or what?
Wade: Yea. We went to "The Chicken Ranch" a few times over there; Have you been over there? Its where Jay lives and then Mark Philbrick lives on the corresponding corner, and in the adjoining backyard is an old chicken coop, and they got just the structure still up - the framework of the old chicken pen - but theyve pioneered the shit out of it! Theyve got some old games that you can play, and theyve got different areas that have couches. That have a room thats called "The Gallery;" Theyve got some art up in there. Its just a makeshift structure. Its cool. You should go see it. Anyway, they have huge parties over there. Theres always someone sitting around playing there; Guys that Philbrick knows that you never see playing out on a stage anywhere. Theres a guy named Bill Winters - Ive only seen him play over there in that little backyard, in that little setting, but hes just Country, flat-ass pickin.
Chris: So you were hanging out at The Chicken Ranch
Wade: Yea. Did you ever go to Juan in a Million? That was the first place I saw Robin Griffin. It was him, and Tony Adams, and Braxton Howle the old Robin Griffin Band -- and I was the only one there; It was just me and the bartender.
Tony really didnt want to play, and Robin was sayin, "Were playing!" And I was just sitting there drinking my beer, waiting to see what was gonna happen. So Robin talked them into playing, and I was like, "Man! Thats GOOD music!"
My buddies and I didnt even know that existed here. We had heard so much about everything goin on with all the Austin bands and how hot all that shit is down there. We kept thinking, "We should go to Austin. Imagine the bands!" Now, since then, its like, "Theres a lot of good bands down there but theres a lot of places to play."
Chris: So you were here in college and your first discovery of the music scene here was the Robin Griffin Band. And later on Robin's new band asked you to join them. Were they looking to form a Country band that plays the kind of stuff your playing? Whos picking your set list?
Wade: Were doing songs that Ive played
for awhile. Jay called me and said, "Were just wondering
if you wanted to get together and play some music." And
I said, "Great! Cool! We usually pick on Thursdays and Fridays
and sometimes on Tuesdays." I started telling him when we
all get together and was like, "Why dont yall
just come on by? Or are yall gonna be getting together
at The Chicken Ranch?" Like, "When do you wanta hang
out and play?"
Chris: So how did you become the Wade Parks Band?
Wade: We went over and actually sat in the backyard over at Jays, and said, "Lets play some songs." They had kinda heard a couple of songs that I play; like I was doin "Ive been to Georgia on a Fast Train" I love that one.
Chris: Yea. Thats a great song. I love the Billy Joe Shaver, I love the Townes; I love the songs that you cover.
Wade: Well, I try to pick If Im gonna do a cover song I mean, I dont mind doing like a "Mustang Sally" Well, I dont even know "Mustang Sally," but thats the one I bring up lately: I tell em, "Were not gonna do Mustang Sally, and were probably not gonna do Brown Eyed Girl," thats what I tell em. Id rather play something and say, "Hey you might neverve heard this but this guy is pretty good. You should hear this."
Chris: Are you doing your own songs?
Wade: I dont have that many yet. But were trying to do the ones of mine that weve worked up. I think were up to 9 of mine. I think I have about 14. [Laughs].
Chris: How long have you been doing this?
Wade: Ive only been coming up with songs for about the last two years. Our first gig as a band was at a Chili Cook-Off Jam, which we were the first in a line-up of about 20 some-odd bands.
Chris: So you were playing at like eleven in the morning?
Wade: Yea. On a cotton gin stage. That was in the summer.
And then in August we opened for Terry Allen. That was our next gig. [Laughs].
Jay knows Larry Simmons who
owns Liquid 2000 and The Red Door, in the Depot District;
hes very involved down there.
Chris: Did Terry get a chance to see your show?
Wade: After we finished, I was sitting there still shaking. And Terry's out on the stage and goes, "How bout that Wade Parks Bunch?" And I was just like, "Aaah!" I mean, I think we did well.
We do Townes' "White Freight Liner"; I love
We do Billy Joe Shavers "Im
Gonna Live Forever" and "Georgia on a Fast Train."
We do a Fred Eaglesmith song "Freight Train."
"I wish I was a freight train"...at the risk of wearing
out train songs. I just like the sound of train songs. That chukachukachukachukachuka
We dont go at it like that the whole time. Of course, mine
songs are all slow. [Laughs].
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2007 Chris Oglesby
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