Watch Noah Parker’s Cover of the Fixx’s ‘One Thing Leads to Another’
Growing up, it was a normal thing for singer/songwriter Noah Parker to see his uncle sitting around at the house playing music. His uncle just happens to be Cy Curnin, frontman of the innovative ‘80s group the Fixx.
“You know, it was just sort of an expected family thing that he would grab an acoustic guitar and start playing and singing music,” Parker recalls with a chuckle, during a recent interview with Diffuser. “It felt so natural and normal that I didn’t take a step back to think, ‘Well, that’s kind of weird. Most normal families don’t really have a British rock star just hanging around doing acoustic performances’.”
Once Parker moved past the well-known hits from the group, he found himself delving into the deeper cuts in their catalog and also saw the band live, something which he says now, “I really saw the level of the musicianship there, which was astounding.”
“Secret Separation,” a Top 20 hit for the group in 1986 is one from their catalog which he feels deserves more attention and could have been even bigger than it was at the time.
“I don’t want to badmouth their musical direction in any way, but I felt that the song overpowered the production and the production didn’t meet the demands of how good that song was and could be,” he says. “The few times that he’s ever done it live, I’ve felt that the producer kind of messed it up and that could have been another smash hit, something really, really special.”
Songs like “Secret Separation,” “Red Skies” and “Stand or Fall,” are just a few examples of the texture and atmosphere that Curnin and the members of the Fixx put into their songwriting.
“Cy was one of the first songwriters that I listened to, possibly other than [Bob] Dylan, who really, really allowed themselves to ... I don’t want to say stream of consciousness, because that sounds negative as a songwriter,” Parker says. “I recognized that it didn’t have to be this sort of literal storytelling. You could branch out and still make it pop authentic, because obviously he was new wave, but at the time, it was definitely pop music in the mid-’80s. You could tell a great story without telling a great story. I know that sounds bizarre, but it didn’t need a beginning, middle and end. That was an important part of me as a songwriter, to recognize that.”
The above performance of the Fixx classic “One Thing Leads to Another” by Parker is part of a series of videos which he terms as “homages to great songwriters,” adding, “We’re hoping to do a bunch from past artists that I love and a bunch from present day pop music that’s influencing me.”
“Cy was the person that told me I had something special and original going on,” he says. “It still needed to be developed but hearing that from him meant a lot. It gave me enormous confidence and encouraged me to keep going.”
He admits that finding his own voice as a songwriter has been an evolutionary process, which is something he addresses head on with “Radio,” a track from his most recent EP. While it could be perceived as a negative statement about radio itself, in listening to the lyrics, it’s clear it’s about something deeper than that.
“The line, ‘F---in' tired of the radio,’ is meant to be tongue-in-cheek,” Parker says. “I wrote the song in frustration, because intellectually, I would have wanted the kind of music that I wrote to be very, very pop-friendly. But in the beginning, especially just starting out with an acoustic guitar, it really wasn’t translating in that way. It felt more like acoustic singer/songwriter stuff, which is stuff I grew up with. The line to connect that is very obvious. I grew up listening to John Mayer and Jackson Browne and James Taylor, so it was obvious that kind of music would start coming out of me. But I didn’t want it necessarily to sound like that. So in frustration, because it didn’t sound like that, I sort of wrote this song that was tongue-in-cheek about why my song didn’t sound like the ones on the radio.”
Parker recently wrapped up a fresh batch of new material which he feels will show continued evolution and growth artistically.
“We’ve got six new songs as of right now, done and ready to go, which we’re going to be releasing very early next year, which sort of take it in a more modern [direction], away from the singer/songwriter roots, which as “Radio,” the song, probably explains, is something that’s been part of my musical journey,” he shares. “So I’m hoping that this new batch of songs is the culmination of that.”