DFW Music News

Rodney Parker & Fifty Peso Reward Apologize. Again.

Ask three members of Denton country-rock outfit Rodney Parker and Fifty Peso Reward where the band name came from, and you'll get three humorous, and ultimately, unrevealing answers.

"Nowhere," say bass player Brooks Kendall. "From drunk 22 year-old idiots."

Multi-instrumentalist Danny Skinner adds, "The story is really not interesting unless you were there, and even then it's still not interesting."

Perhaps the band's lead-singer and namesake, Rodney Parker, sums it up best, "Secrets!"

While that type of symmetry and cohesiveness is representative of the band whose core has been together for over a decade, the vision and the music of the group, unlike the name, is far from aimless. And thanks to a fantastic new EP, The Apology: Part II, the group continues to be anything but a secret. With lead-guitarist Zach Galindo and drummer David Feigelman rounding out the current line-up, few bands from Texas can match the raw firepower Parker and the rest provide on stage or on record.

With the recently released EP - an urgent bookend to 2010's anticipation-stirring The Apology: Part I - Parker and crew have established themselves as a dependably kick-ass group that hasn't produced as much as a single foul note since before the release of 2008's The Lonesome Dirge, the first album the group considers to be the first true representation of their skills and the one which gained attention from press and new fans across the country.

Before that breakthrough, however, Parker had written songs for a record as a solo artist, more or less. The solid, but rough-around-the-edges Blow the Soot Out was quickly recorded and released in 2004, and was only a hint at what Parker and his cobbled together band of old chums were capable of once they had a couple of years to gel.

"I had written most of those songs without having a band," says Parker. "We got together and really quickly got in the studio. Back then I don't think any of us would have believed that this thing would end up lasting over a decade with the same guys. So in some ways I guess it [Blow the Soot Out] was more of a solo thing, but that changed quickly after the record came out."

When that time came to gather up some partners for a band, Parker didn't have to look too far or think too hard. After playing solo open-mic nights, Parker reached out to childhood friends he grew up with in Grapevine, Texas to kick recording into high-gear.

"I got offered a full band show at a private party," he says. "I took the gig because it paid well, but I didn't have a band yet, so I had to scramble to put something together. The first person I called was Brooks. He, Danny and I went to school together, so I've known them both since we were ten or eleven. Danny joined a little later after that, and then we brought on Zach."

Though the group has been firing on all cylinders with the 29 year-old Feigelman currently on drums, the band somewhat mirrors arguably the most prominent of all rock clichés -- constant drummer replacement.

"We have had several drummers come and go," says Kendall. "Gabe Pearson was our drummer through The Lonesome Dirge years and he now plays for Turnpike Troubadours. Adrian Hulet was drummer for the couple years before Gabe and he left us to become the front man for Osocloso."

The lack of a steady drummer was a part of the reason for the lengthy time between Soot and Dirge, but it wasn't the only hurdle for the band to clear.

"There was a lot of searching going on between those two records," says Skinner. "And I don't just mean stylistically, but personally also. We were learning about being adults, music professionals and being on the road full-time. It's a lot to digest and it changes you. We were exploring those changes, I guess. Also, like most bands, we incurred quite a bit of debt making our first album and were seeing very little return supporting it. We weren't exactly eager to take that debt deeper."