Gary James' Interview With Brett Parker Of

They are the closest re-creation of the touring Journey of the 1970s and 1980s. A two-hour plus concert that has thrilled and delighted fans all over the world. They call themselves SCARAB. Brett Parker is the co-founder of the group. Brett was in that touring and recording band Witch Doctor Samuel. And when Brett isn't performing in SCARAB, he is performing in the Trans Siberian Orchestra tribute band, Ornament.

Q - Brett, you were in a touring band and recording band and then you put SCARAB together. Wasn't that a step down for you?

A - It's funny. I was in my early 20s and in 2000 when America Bad Ass came up with Kid Rock, we hit number 36 and our next single just died. We thought it was going to be the one to go to the top and it went nowhere. So, we finished our last tour and said, "You know what? We had a great run." And we stopped it. I didn't even look at my guitar until 2005. Sean, (Volpetti, SCARAB's lead singer), myself and the bass player were actually in another Journey tribute band at one point and we were doing really, really well. I'm more of an Ozzy player and we were fooling around with some covers and people really responded to it. So, I said, "Maybe we should push that Journey thing pretty good." We had a singer at the time who looked just like Steve Perry. But he had some family things and we looked for another singer. We went through a couple other singers. Then the Journey band we were in, fell apart. But myself, Scott and the bass player, Kevin Blackwell said, "We are going to put something together and it's going to be fantastic." Kevin had a friend he's had for 35 years, an amazing drummer, Dave Calder. And so we had the four of us and tried to find a singer. We happen to latch onto Sean, whose voice, naturally speaking, sounds a lot like Steve Perry. When we first hit it was like, "Okay, we have the five guys." It's so much fun and you are treated so well. The places we played and the crowds we played to, it's so much fun. It's gone so well. People love it. It's really been very beneficial. A step down? Absolutely not. It's actually been a lot of fun. The stress of pushing numbers, we don't deal with that. We just play, have a great time. We have played so much together, we just look at each other and we know exactly what the other one is going to do. And it's fantastic. When you have 5000 people and they are singing along with you, you can see it in their eyes. They are singing back with you when they first heard the song. Myself, Sean and Scott are all in our early 40s and Dave and Kevin are 10 years older then we are. So, we have a very diverse crowd. We have people from their early 20s to people in their 60s and they are all singing the songs and they are all thinking about where they heard those songs and where they enjoyed the songs because they are timeless. It's an absolute blast. We are having a great time with it. We are getting more and more calls from bigger and bigger places and more traveling. We love it!

Q - I take it then there is a lot of money to be made in a Journey tribute band.

A - Journey is really diverse. It's very family-friendly. Not brash. You are not having the profanity as when you go to an Ozzy show. That's Ozzy. You can have parents bring their kids. We do a lot of corporate because they are songs that everybody knows and it's very professional. And we carry ourselves that way. So it gives you a lot of opportunities to do a lot of really fun, cool things. We take ourselves very seriously to be very professional. We have a lot of fun on stage. We are not just a jukebox. We give ourselves a hard time. We love it when the crowd interacts. You can see that. We have gone from casinos to outdoor festivals to private events. We actually got booked to play a wedding next June (2014), in Burlington, Vermont. So, we go from a casino to a wedding to traveling down the East coast and mid-Atlantic. It brings up a lot of opportunity.

Q - Have you taken this act overseas yet?

A - We've been in Canada. We have not gone overseas yet. We want to push it to be as national and international as it can be. We are getting just last week from California and Utah and New Mexico. So, we are getting a lot of offers from a lot of places around the country. I have talked to a lot of places and they are really interested because they see the videos. We have a lot of references. More and more people are seeing it now. We are getting a lot of response from it, so it's really great.

Q - As great as it is for you, you are in another tribute group, Ornament.

A - Yes. Myself, Scott the keyboard player. We are in a Trans Siberian Orchestra that is also playing the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. Basically, we shut Journey down for the summer. We still do a couple of shows. From November 30 to December 30 it's Trans Siberian Orchestra time, which is just a complete opposite animal. You are going from Blues / Rock to Classical. So, it's pretty fun.

Q - There's a lot of work for a Trans Siberian tribute act in that time.?

A - Absolutely. It's the time of year for it.

Q - You had five albums out with Witch Doctor Samuel. I never heard of that band to be honest with you. What label were you on?

A - We were independent and had European distribution. We had our first album out and this guy said, "I've got some people overseas that might be interested." "Cool! Great! Go ahead." Next thing we knew, we were number 15. We got to go over there and play and it was really fun. Came over here and we were plugging away, plugging away. We did a lot of independent tours. We had distribution through Global Media. We just started working it and working it and pushing it and it was very guerrilla. A lot of things had to be in the early '90s because music had really changed over from the Hair / Metal to Grunge. We were kind of like an Alice In Chains / Black Sabbath sound. That was just our natural sound. We did that from '93 to 2000.

Q - As busy as you are with SCARAB and Ornament, you have also got a fitness facility going.

A - That is correct.

Q - You are a bodybuilder then?

A - I train bodybuilders. I train professional athletes. My oldest client is 86 years old and I train kids to get ready for sports and do a lot of rehab work. So, I have the full gamut for clients.

Q - You are a busy guy!

A - Busy is good.

Q - Why did you name your Journey tribute act SCARAB?

A - Say you use, Don't Stop Believing or Faithfully, or Separate Ways, that gets into copyright infringement. So, we don't have to worry about that. So we picked the beetle, the scarab that Journey has on every album.

Q - Does Journey know about you guys?

A - It's funny. I can't say personally that they have. I would be very surprised if Neal Schon doesn't know the major tributes out there.

Q - Have you ever met any of the guys in Journey?

A - I have not. My keyboard player has. I know he's met the original drummer, Steve Smith. He might've met Jonathan Cain. I'm not sure about that. I've actually never seen them 'live'. The rest of the guys have seen 'em 'live'. I would like to, but I just haven't yet.

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