Editor’s note: Nov. 1, the Mohegan Sun announced the show with the Smashing Pumpkins was postponed from Nov. 4 to Dec. 2. It is unclear at this point whether Morning Parade will still be on the tour.
By MIKE CHAIKEN
British band Morning Parade has pretty much become unofficial residents of the U.S.
As they try to break their self-titled album, “Morning Parade” in America, the group—which includes Steve Sparrow on vocals, Chad Thomas on guitar, Ben Giddings on keyboards, Phil Titus on bass, and Andy Hayes on drums—has gone from one tour across the states to another.
Sparrow, in a phone interview, said their jaunt in the U.S. has taken them from opening slots for the Wombats to openers for the Smashing Pumpkins—bringing them to the Mohegan Sun on Nov. 4— and then onward again with Anberlin, before heading into the America radio Christmas shows.
Essentially, Sparrow explained, this is the longest tour Morning Parade has ever undertaken.
The tour across the U.S. is a far cry from what Morning Parade is used to in the U.K., Sparrow explained. Even when you’re on a long tour in Britain, you’re never more than a couple of hours from home.
But as Morning Parade crisscrosses the U.S. opening for other acts, they’re finding out that sometimes it’s a couple of days of travel between gigs. For instance, when he called the band was making the trek between Phoenix and Los Angeles.
Not that Sparrow was complaining about all of the travel. He said, “I love it.”
But Sparrow said when the band does return to the U.K., there will probably be lots of hugs and high fives from family and friends upon Morning Parade’s return.
The band’s current tour in America is long. But it isn’t the first time the band had been in the U.S.
Sparrow explained Morning Parade traveled to this side of the pond in March for the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. They then returned to the states for a few dates in June. But Sparrow said, during those visits, the band pretty much just touched the surface as to what America was about.
The biggest thing that surprised Sparrow about Morning Parade’s visit to the U.S. was that wherever they went, even though they were a relatively new band in America., they would find a hardcore group of Morning Parade fans.
Another thing that surprised the band is just how huge the U.S. is, said Sparrow, and how varied the country is
As for why the band found it important to spend so much time in the U.S., Sparrow said there were several reasons. First of all, the record label wanted Morning Parade there. Secondly, he said, the band is still in the “school boy training phase” so when the opportunity came to see America, it was something they wanted to do. To top it off, Sparrow said, America is the biggest music market in the world. To break here is key to any band’s success.
Initially, Sparrow explained, the time in the States wasn’t supposed to be so long. The band had signed on for 10-week tour with The Wombats. But then their manager got them on board with the Smashing Pumpkins tour. And then they found themselves signed up to tour with Anberlin through the end of the end year.
Sparrow said the band is stoked for the upcoming tour with the Smashing Pumpkins, who are touring behind their latest album, “Oceania.” Sparrow said Morning Parade were already fans of the band, especially the group’s classic “Mellan Collie and the Infinite Sadness.” Additionally, he said, the members of Morning Parade recognize that Smashing Pumpkins are one of the iconic bands of the 1990s, right up there with Nirvana and Soundgarden.
Sparrow said he won’t really believe Morning Parade was given the opportunity to tour with the legendary Smashing Pumpkins until they step on to stage the first time.
Until the Smashing Pumpkins’ tour, most of the band’s experience in the states has been on small stages in clubs. But Morning Parade is no stranger to arena shows. Sparrow said Morning Parade played arenas in Europe in opening slots for The Kooks and 30 Seconds to Mars.
But after playing clubs for a couple of weeks in the states, Sparrow said the band knows arenas are an entirely different ball game. In a club, Sparrow said, your audience is only a few feet away and there is more opportunity to interact with the individual fans. In an arena, you have to direct your performances to a much bigger space and address the crowd as one large entity.
Morning Parade’s album gives every indication that they were born to be an arena band. There are definite hints of arena bands such as U2 in their sound. (You can even hear some Smashing Pumpkins in Sparrow’s vocals.)
But Sparrow said there was no deliberate effort to craft an arena-ready sound for Morning Parade.
When the band rehearsed during their formative stages in their small hometown in the U.K., Sparrow said they were more interested in making as much noise as five people could manage rather than trying to sound like someone else.
As for who the band does look up to, in an artistic sense, Sparrow said he is a fan of Muse. Radiohead is another favorite. Elbow also is a favorite. Essentially, Sparrow said, the members of Morning Parade like bands that have had long productive, creative careers.
As for what inspires the band’s songwriting, Sparrow said he was never really interested in “creating stories.” He never had much use for fiction, he said. So, instead he likes to write songs crafted from his own experiences. “I like things that are true and come from real places.”
Often times, Sparrow said he’ll write songs about personal issues that may bother him. Or he might write about real incidents that happen to the band.
Although America is just finding out about Morning Parade and its debut album, Sparrow said the debut was finished for some time now. And Sparrow said the band is anxious to get on to recording its second album. They had a few days after the first album was released in the U.K. to have a writing session. But it was too soon after the first album was released to get too in depth with creating a follow-up.
The band has been asking for some time off to hit a studio and do some writing as its American tour progresses. But there really has been no time available due to travel time between gigs.
But once the tour is finished, Sparrow said the band is raring to go to come up with new material.
Morning Parade opens for the Smashing Pumpkins at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. For more information, go to MorningParade.com or MoheganSun.com